My daughter is obsessed with princesses. The kind of yucky Disney royals who would be no fun at a party: "I'm not trying the vodka jelly, I don't want to get vomit on my glass slippers and I've got to be home by midnight". You know the sort.
Obviously I don't expect to enjoy everything a three-year-old is into and the fact I have to repeat the same stories every night before bed really doesn't bother me – although I am bored, so so bored.
What does bother me is these goody-two-shoes girls are teaching my little princess unrealistic expectations, bad habits and misleading life lessons.
Here are some of them:
It's good to be ridiculously sensitive
Imagine if somebody came to your home, slept in your comfiest bed made with your poshest sheets and then complained about a miniscule bump in the mattress. You'd rightfully be furious. But in The Princess and the Pea this kind of behaviour isn't just tolerated, it's celebrated.
If our country is once again to be great we need to develop the kind of stoic young 'uns who could sleep soundly on an entire vegetable box.
You'll marry a passing prince
Very few people marry princes, there just aren't that many to go around and Kate Middleton isn't going to churn out enough for all our daughters. Yet in fairytale land the girl always gets her dashing young royal who, what luck, just happens to be passing.
Unfortunately today's princes don't trot about the countryside looking for Rapunzels and Auroras to save, they're more likely to be found in a bullet-proof car on their way to a polo match.
Drumming this narrative into our kids can only lead to ridiculously high expectations when actually there's nothing wrong with marrying the boy from the chip shop.
Princes possess magical lips
There is no medical evidence to support the assumption that a prince's kiss is the cure for a coma.
You are not an independent woman
Apparently young princesses are incapable of acting alone. When Snow White flees into the forest she doesn't search for a good place to hide, collect fire wood and look for food. She lies down and cries, before an assortment of woodland animals lead her to safety.
Children should know it's unlikely a rabbit will come to their aid in a difficult situation. In fact they should catch the rabbit and eat it for dinner, before telling the prince to take his dubious magical lips elsewhere when he finally turns up.
Breaking and entering is OK
Snow White sneaks into the dwarves' home, tidies up as if she owns the place and then sleeps in their bed, which, for all she knows, may have clean sheets on. This isn't the kind of behaviour we should be encouraging. Basically she's a hooligan.
Never trust an old woman...
Do we want our children to grow up helping old ladies across the road? Or do we want them to run away in terror screaming "It's a witch! A witch with sensible shoes and a patterned wheelie bag!"? On balance probably the former, so it's a shame every wizened fairytale woman either steals new-born babies (Rapunzel), poisons innocents (Snow White) or casts coma-inducing spells (Sleeping Beauty).
Cinderella's fairy godmother is an honourable exception, but she can turn vegetables into horse-drawn carriages. After that every grandma is a disappointment.
... Or step families
Considering how many people marry more than once we're storing up a world of second-family strife by demonising step-mothers and step-sisters. For some reason step-fathers and step-brothers don't get much of a mention, yet Snow White and Cinderella are both the victims of cold-hearted, jealousy-ridden new-on-the-scene relatives. This might sound crazy but surely some step-mothers are actually quite nice?
Refuse to wear anything but a hideous princess dress and glass slippers
I always know when my daughter is approaching. I can hear the clickety-clack of cheap plastic imitation glass slippers reverberating around the house. Unfortunately she's learned to move quickly in them, too quickly for me to hide before she arrives and forces me to re-enact the second half of Cinderella.
That's not the worst of it though. She insists on wearing them to nursery, accompanied by a grubby and frayed princess dress that, despite costing around £15, is a polyester insult to fashion and was probably made by someone half her age. She insists on wearing this outfit every day.
Put a man you've barely met before your mates
Ariel, of Little Mermaid fame, needs a lesson in loyalty. Remember when you used to go clubbing? You know clubs, those dark places where young people gather to drink Sambuca. Well, you probably had a friend who'd leave you to spend the night dancing awkwardly on your own at the first sign of interest from the opposite sex. Ariel is that friend.
After a couple of day's light flirting – with a prince obviously – she's prepared to ditch her life as a mermaid and with it her deep friendship with Flounder. So he's a tropical fish, the point still stands.
Violence is, you know, OK really
As my daughter stabs me with an imaginary woodcutter's knife I wonder where this violent streak comes from. "Must be in her mother's side of the family," I reason, then realise it's actually Walt Disney's fault for making explicitly violent kids films.
For example, the wicked Queen doesn't just want rid of Snow White she wants her heart cut out and put in a box. Naturally everybody's happy when this evil royal gets her comeuppance. Not after a fair trial, but when she's chased off a cliff by those cute woodland animals I mentioned earlier.
Similarly Maleficent is impaled on a sword in the 1959 version of Sleeping Beauty. Admittedly she's transformed herself into a dragon, but still it's hardly the calm approach to conflict resolution we're supposed to be teaching the next generation.