This morning while getting ready for school, Ysa made a beeline for her fancy white short sleeve dress. Which would have been fine, except that we've had an unseasonable return of March in the last two days, and it's been cold, rainy, drizzly, and muddy. So no white dress.
"But Dad, I want to be like BaiXue GongZhu!"
"And who is BaiXue GongZu?"
"BaiXue GongZHU, Daddy!" (yes, my Chinese is still at the level where my four year old routinely corrects my pronunciation) "She's a princess!" The TV has been on a lot, because, um... we've been lazy parents?... >ahem< I mean, it's been helping our kids improve their Chinese tremendously. So princesses have been on her mind a great deal as of late.
As we continued getting ready, Ysa told me more about BaiXue GongZu (白雪公主), the White Snow Princess, who, as her name suggests, dresses only in white. And then something clicks - hey, she's talking about Snow White! Or at least a Chinese version thereof. Which got me thinking a little bit more about princesses, both Western and Chinese, and what both versions have in common - namely, hefty tie-ins to promotional marketing campaigns and a heavy reliance on princes.
So that was the inspiration to head off to YouTube, and follow through on my weeks-old promise to tell her all about Atalanta, the fastest and smartest princess around. The version below comes straight from my seventies childhood, via Free to Be, You and Me. (Thanks, Mom!) And it has Alan Alda doing the male voices - who knew?
After that, what more is there to say? When I picked her up from kindergarten, she told me that she wanted black hair and clothes like Atalanta's. I told her that it was a very old story, and that nobody knew exactly what color Atalanta's hair was really. And as far as clothes go, Atalanta wears whatever she wants, right? That seemed to satisfy her, so I allowed myself to savor a small moment of smug parental self-congratulation as I watched her run on ahead of me. As fast as she possibly could, with her hair streaming behind her.