Loving Our Children, No Matter What 'Phase' They're Going Through

by Dana Kramaroff
Originally Published: 

As that phase ended, another one started: Disney princesses.

It was the summer Sasha was turning 3 when I saw the flier about a local production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The true beauty of taking an almost 3-year-old to a musical for the first time is that one never quite knows just what to expect.

The production began and Sasha was completely enthralled, despite the fact she was missing her afternoon nap. The music numbers were fantastic, but I found myself more focused on watching Sasha. I wanted to sear her expressions of delight and awe into my brain.

© Courtesy Dana Kramaroff

Since I knew the musical numbers so well, I was able to glance at her tiny face at just the right moments. I gazed at the wonder in her eyes when the townspeople were singing, “Bonjour! Bonjour! Bonjour, bonjour, bonjour!” I adored the smile spreading over her cheeks when plates and forks twirled around during “Be Our Guest.”

When the wolves appeared on stage, I was nervous she would freak out. The whole auditorium was nearly pitch black. The mood was dark and I could see the wolves’ yellow eyes glowing as they ran from the wings. The music was deep and serious, and the wolves began to run after Belle’s father through the woods.

Out of my almost 3-year-old’s lips came a sound that began as a shriek and then quickly melted into hysterical laughter. And it was loud. Loud enough that the audience members around us, myself included, began to laugh too. This kid of mine was screaming with sheer delight over these “terrifying” wolves.

As we left the auditorium, Sasha looked up at me with those big blue eyes, stating “Those wolves were so funny Mommy!” “They were so funny Sasha, just like you!” I answered back.

I was ready when we got back into the car. I handed her a bag with my worn Belle and Beast dolls, remnants of my childhood. She danced them over her lap, into the house, and as you can imagine, the Disney princess obsession hit full force in our house after that day.

Princess toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Pink, purple and “Cinderella blue” pads of paper. And books. Oh, and the stickers. We can’t forget the stickers…plastered on hands, cheeks, shirts, my shirts, my couch.

Lunch bags and tiny plastic dolls with removable plastic clothes.

© Courtesy Dana Kramaroff

3T, 4T, 5T T-shirts (will it ever end?), socks, shorts, sneakers, hair bows—each and every one emblazoned with a princess.

And yes, Princess underwear, too.

When I felt like it would really never end, I recalled my own phases.

Around the age of 11 or 12, I was obsessed with horror movies. It was a short phase in my life that my parents fully supported. Weekend trips to The Movie Company would occur, and my Dad always gave a little sigh and chuckle when I placed those VHS tapes on the counter.

I would save my babysitting money (now there’s an example of irony), and my mom would drive me to the comic book store to buy horror magazines. Like the other magazines young girls my age were reading (YM, Bop, Teen Beat), they contained full-color photos, articles and centerfolds of your favorite leading men. But instead of Neil Patrick Harris as Doogie Howser, M.D., my leading men included Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees.

I owned more than just posters. I had a plastic Freddy Krueger doll, plus the hat and glove. Creepy, right? Actually this whole phase of my life was creepy. Here I was, this nice little Jewish girl, making arts and crafts in my free time, reading The Baby-Sitters Club series, with Freddy and Jason posters on my purple walls.

© Courtesy Dana Kramaroff

The pinnacle of my horror movie passion peaked in late summer of 1989 when I got to go with my dad to see A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child in the theater. Closely following this theatergoing experience were a couple of sleepovers where I scared poor friends of mine by holding up my Freddy Krueger doll next to their faces, eerily singing, “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door. Five, six, grab your crucifix. Seven, eight, gonna stay up late. Nine, ten, never sleep again,” all in the darkness of my bedroom. It is a surprise that I was able to keep a single friend during that time.

We all go through phases as kids, some more disturbing than others (mine is a case in point). No matter what the phases are that my own kids go through, I’ve got to support them, just as my mom and dad supported mine.

My oldest daughter wants to wear all black for eight months or three years? Bring it on.

My son wants to spend every Friday night playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends his whole junior year of high school? Bring it on.

My youngest daughter wants to become a vegetarian at the age of 12? Bring it on.

And when some phases become lifestyles, bring those on too. I will embrace them. Always. After my Freddy Krueger phase, how could I not?

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