By SARAH McCALLAN
Affter a tiring week of family sickness, I decided to take my three-year-old daughter Posy* out for a special treat.
I don’t get much one on one time with the little mouse these days and I think she needs it. My big idea was to leave my husband at home with the baby, recovering from a cold.
I would take her to swimming class and then straight off to see a movie. I’d noticed they were doing classic Disney children’s movies on Saturday mornings at a nearby cinema so thought that sounded good.
This weekend it was Pocahontas, which I thought would be perfect. G rated movies are a bit thin on the ground these days…
So after swimming we headed off. When we got there, a million tiny girls all wearing tizzy fairy princess costumes were milling round in the lobby.
I could see my daughter , in her ordinary clothes, eyeing them off. She said, “Mummy, why are they all wearing their princess dresses?” I made up some bland response but I don’t think she was fooled.
I was feeling a bit ICKY about that but soldiered on, and we bought our tickets and got our Disney Princess Passports (ugh). The ticket person said afterwards there would be craft and face painting. Posy and I thought that sounded pretty okay, so we bought our Malteasers and headed into the theatre.
When we found our seats, we were soon joined by throngs of little girls attending a couple of birthday parties, closely followed by two young women dressed up as fairies. They went up the front and announced a few lucky door prizes.
What happened next makes me feel sad.
The fairy ladies asked all the little girls to come up the front of the theatre. I was a bit suspicious already about it and said to Posy, “Oh we don’t need to go up darling”, but she looked so disappointed I changed my mind. I took her hand and walked her up to the front.
We lined up with all the tizzily dressed girls. I stood behind Posy, in her simple sundress, with my hands on her shoulders, waiting for…something.
I felt uncomfortable.
As we stood there, the fairy ladies announced that they would start the best dressed competition!
I felt my face flush, and I shifted awkwardly, feeling the eyes of the audience on my tiny daughter, as the fairies started walking down the line of little girls.
Slowly, I realised what was happening. One by one, they held their arm over each little girl, as the audience clapped and hooted if they liked her, or didn’t clap and hoot if they didn’t like her.
A mother standing next to us glanced at me as they inched closer to our girls.