My mother gave Rio a bicycle for her birthday. A purple bicycle covered with Disney Princess decals. Safe to say, this was her dream bike, long awaited. She spent many winter afternoons sitting on Nana’s lap fantasizing about the bike that would magically appear to her when she turned five. So of course my mom made it happen. It’s in her grandmother contract, I’m sure.

Since I sent “Santa” a letter last Christmas asking “him” to go easy on the beeping, blinking Stuff, we have received nothing battery operated for the kids. Instead, the bike came with a bright pink, princess-logo-sporting, made-in-china air horn. It might be the loudest thing either kid has ever owned. Conveniently, it was not attached to the bike, so the kids were able to bring it in the house and blare it at the breakfast table for a few days.

A word about my mother. When Rio entered the world, I laid down the law: give nothing to this child that you would not give to a child of the opposite sex/gender. Ah, that was the sweet, naive week when I imagined that child was mine, not a free agent in the world. My mom’s response was to show up at my house the day we brought Rio home with about ten pounds of pink lace and an innocent look. “What?” she said, before I could mention the dresses. “I would have bought these for a boy!”

Of course you would, Mom. And you were surely powerless against the waiter who gave eight-month-old Rio her first Oreo cookie while I was in the bathroom. I love you. Never, ever start listening to me about my kids. You totally know better than I do.

I actually do love that my mom gives the girls Disney schwag, and jelly beans and access to cable TV. That’s a huge part of the world they’re growing in, and they get none of it at home. Somebody has to do it, and Nana is the perfect choice. (She also taught Rio how to slide down staircase bannisters, but that’s another story…)

Most recently, she gave Rio this bike. The bike has a row of princess faces emblazoned on the handlebars. As she climbed onto the bike, Rio looked thoughtfully at the princesses, and pointed to Belle.

“Belle looks very princessy there, Mama,” she said. “This must be after. You know, after those photos we saw yesterday.”

Not sure what to make of that, except to say that I’m grateful to Ms. Dina Goldstein for inviting my daughter to think about the prettiness of her princesses.

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