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The Disney Version of Love

Michaela and her daddy had "the talk" recently.

I know. She's only 2. But she needed it a little earlier than some kids. Rest assured, it was age appropriate.

You see, Miss Michaela has developed a fascination with kissing and watching people kiss romantically. One day, I was watching a Lifetime movie that was a little heavy on the kissing, and I looked over at Michaela and she was about to suck the face off of one of her Barbie dolls, mimicking the kiss she was watching on the screen.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I mean, I never thought she paid much attention to the movies I watched, let alone that she would notice the kissing. 

Later, she tried it out on daddy. She grabbed his face and pressed her lips to his for a few seconds too long.

Michael, of course, freaked out. He demanded to know what she was doing and where she'd seen that. So I told him about the movie I'd watched that day, and he lectured me about how she was getting older now and I needed to be careful what images she saw and what words he heard on television. 

And then he had "the talk" with his daughter. It was a little funny considering that my hubby is determined that his daughter won't date until she turns 21 and that she won't be kissing boys until after he dies. 

The talk went something like this:

Him: "Michaela, girls don't kiss boys. Only mommies and daddies and grownups kiss."

Her: (Blank stare, then...) I kissin'.

Him: I know, and that's what I'm talking about. Daddy doesn't want you kissing boys. You can kiss mommy and daddy, but no boys and no kissing anybody on the lips.

Her: (Still clueless) I kiss daddy.

Him: Yes, but no kissing boys. No kissing boys. You hear me?

Her: No kissing boys, daddy.

Him: (With the sigh of relief you would give if you've just prevented a teenage pregnancy) Right, no kissing boys. 

And ever since that talk, when Michaela sees people kissing, she points and yells out "NO KISSING BOYS!!!", then looks at me or Michael for approval. That's right, we say, "NO KISSING BOYS!!!"

And that's what made me realize that it's not just mommy's movies that have kissing content. Even the G-rated Disney movies she loves have a "big kiss" at some point in the action.

So for the past few weeks, I've been paying attention to those movies. It didn't take me long to realize that Disney is teaching my daughter some lessons about love that I'm going to have to correct and explain one day. For now, I realize she's just a kid, but I'm taking mental notes for a "talk" of my own. In fact, I have to thank Disney for providing a platform for teaching Michaela about love.

In honor of Valentine's Day, I wanted to share some of my Disney love research with you. I picked three of Michaela's favorite movies to dissect in this blog. Enjoy and leave your comments below. 


What it teaches your child about love: No matter how hard you work, sometimes you have to kiss a slimy frog to reach your dreams.

What I'll teach my child:

  • There are plenty of women who are successful on their own -- who work hard and save hard and don't need to kiss up to a man to fulfill their dreams.
  • It's true that you should see beyond a person's current state to the person that they can become. But sometimes, men are frogs -- slimy, clammy creatures who lurk in the dark -- and you don't have to make it your job to transform them.
  • My mom used to say that if you lay with dogs, you'll catch fleas. In this case, if you lay with frogs, you could turn into one yourself.
  • People rarely make it to the top without the help of others. Just like Tiana needed Ray and Mama Odie and Louis and Charlotte to realize her dream, you will need the help of others to be successful. Never forget the people whose backs you climbed on to reach the top.


    What it teaches your child about love: You might have to be held prisoner by a beast to learn to love him. But once you fall in love with the beast, he will become a perfect prince.

    Lessons to learn:

    • Indeed, sometimes the smartest girl or the ugliest guy wins the love. In your parent's case, your dad was a prince in disguise, and your momma wasn't the most beautiful belle at the ball. But in the end, it was a match made in heaven.
    • Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder (which is why your daddy thinks he snagged a supermodel).
    • Beauty comes naturally; you have to work on the brains. But the brains will outlast the beauty.
    • Like Belle, make reading one of your greatest loves.
    • Just because a man is buffed and handsome like Gaston, he may be rotten on the inside. And just because a man isn't the most handsome, he could be a prince on the inside.
    • Think about the richest and most successful men and women in the world. Note that not all of them are handsome or beautiful, but all of them are smart.


    What it teaches your child about love: Some people are just mean and hateful and that makes them ugly. Other people are plain and simple and sweet and that makes them beautiful. But at the end of the day, you'd better be the best dressed girl at the ball if you want to catch the prince's eye and get the dance.

    What I'll add:

    • You are only as beautiful as you feel. Supermodels can have low self esteem and not-so-pretty girls can have big egos.
    • Life and success boils down to how you treat people. As much as you respect the supervisor or the rich folks, you must respect the maid and the homeless man.
    • Sometimes there is no fairy godmother; in that case, you'll have to find courage from within.
    • At midnight, beauty fades, so your princes needs to know you for more than your shoe size (or any other measurement for that matter).

      What it teaches your child about love: Sometimes, you need a guy to rescue you from the tower, even if you have the tools to do it yourself.

      What I'll teach Michaela:

      • Use the tools you have -- your brain, your personality, your friends and family, or even your beauty -- to get out of a tough situation.
      • The world is a scary place, but you can conquer anything if you put your mind to it (You get your stubborn gene from both sides of the family).
      • The hair is not the thing; the head it covers is. You want a good head -- not just hair -- on your shoulders. 
      • Sometimes there is a princess -- or greatness -- within us from birth, but jealous people hide it from us to keep us under their control.