My Son Dresses Like a Princess

On most days in our house, my 3-year-old son can be seen for some length of time wearing a dress.

Before we entered legit Disney-approved princess dress territory, my son would bring us long scarves (once used for sensory play when both my sons were infants) to fashion into royal capes, dresses or skirts. If we wrapped the scarf around his shoulders, he was a queen. If it was wrapped under his arms, like an empire-waist, he was a princess. If the dress didn’t touch the floor, however, we may as well have been dressing him as an astronaut because if it doesn’t touch the floor, it just plain isn’t royal.

I admit that I wasn’t quick to buy him the first princess dress he asked me for -- a sparkly Elsa dress. I think that when you have a second child, you kind of hope that you’re not going to get thrown any new wrenches. I wasn’t gung-ho about having to deal with a completely new territory of parenthood with my second kid. I wanted things to be easy and predictable (or as close to that as possible).

I figured he could play “princess” with the odds and ends we had around the house already. Was there a part of me that didn’t want to encourage his inner princess from coming out? Maybe. Perhaps I was hoping we could satisfy his “royal” craving by adorning him in scarves and calling it a day (and maybe it would pass). But then one day, during a Superbowl party at a friend’s house, we noticed that our young son had been occupying himself for quite some time in our friend’s daughter’s room. When I went to check on him, I found him in an almost dreamlike state in her closet, among her vast collection of fake-gem-encrusted princess dresses and shoes. He asked if he could put one on, and even though it was three sizes too big, he wore the dress like it was tailor-made. Oh, and the shoes. The shoes! He clomped along in those too-big purple, sparkly heels, watching the way his toes peeked out from underneath the skirt of the dress and admiring how the hem trailed along the floor behind him.

This was it for me. Seeing him in his first “real” dress was the push I needed to let go of whatever was holding me back from allowing him to have his own princess dress, and engaging fully in his princess play. Every part of his being radiated happiness. He looked like he felt special. And why not? Princesses are special. Why would I deny him this feeling?

The next day, we borrowed an Elsa dress from the same friend, and he wore it to the playground. He disappeared into an imaginary world on top of a snowy mountain, singing about how “the cold never bothered him anyway.”

I posted a picture of his joy online, and immediately the calls from family came pouring in.

“I saw an interesting picture today,” quipped one member.

“You let him wear that outside of the house?” said another.

“Maybe you can just tell him we only wear dresses indoors?” suggested yet another, as if I had asked for their advice.

No. I live in Brooklyn. Boys get to wear princess dresses here, without much more than a second glance being thrown their way if they get that at all.

In preparation for our upcoming Disney trip, I considered ordering him a princess dress online. But then I thought, why not let him pick out his own right there, in the heart of it all? My mom, who was accompanying us to Disney, asked, “Can’t you encourage him to buy a prince costume? Or what about a cowboy costume?”

“He doesn’t want to be a prince. Or a cowboy,” I said. “He wants to be a princess.”

On day three at Disney, we rode the Frozen ride, and lo and behold, during our exit through the gift shop he spotted The Dress.

“Elsa dress! Elsa dress!” he shouted. He was practically hyperventilating.

We hastily tugged it over his t-shirt and jeans as soon as we paid for the poofy, sparkly number, and he commenced a heartfelt rendition of “Let it Go,” as little girls everywhere are wont to do in their Elsa dresses while standing in the middle of the fake city of Arendelle in Epcot center. Even my mom could not deny that it was pretty cute.

In the months since, we have quickly grown our collection of dresses and princess dolls. His most recent dress aquisition was Belle’s yellow gown from Beauty and Beast, and when he put it on, his older brother let out an audible gasp and said, “Wow, you look so beautiful.”

I admit, this is a lot fun for me. As a mother of two boys, I didn’t expect to be able to have a little princess in my life. I didn’t expect to get to play dolls with my son, and have little high-heeled doll shoes stuck in crevices in my couch. I certainly did not expect trails of glitter all over my house and my furniture. But I also have to remember that I can’t spoil him with every dress or doll just because I want him to know I’m ok with however he chooses to play or dress.

Some people have suggested that I prepare myself for the possibility that my son might identify as a female and that the insistence on wearing dresses could be the beginning of something much bigger for him. Maybe it is a possibility. Maybe it isn’t. Some people have asked if I am “worried”. Worry is the farthest thing from my mind, which is something that surprises me, because worry is something that comes naturally to me. I am so not worried. Far from it.

I love my son so very much. I love him as a princess. I love him not as a princess. I’ll love him if at some point he tells me he is a girl or if he tells me he likes boys. I know this because I thought I had a problem with him being a princess until I saw his face when he put on that first dress, and I thought, what I wouldn’t give to see my son this happy forever.

So I don’t know what this all means, if it means anything. What I do know is that my boy is a princess on some days, a queen on others, and other days he’s just himself.

Illustration by Amanda Crowley, for Well Rounded.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.

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