When Miss D was first born it was my firm intention not to fill her head full of branded characters. I wanted her to use her imagination to come up with her own fantastic creations. I wanted to read her stories and have her imagine her own visual images to go along with the characters.
My ILs are Disneyphiles and the indoctrination started early. Husband's Aunt gave her a very nice Snow White doll (collector's item) as a first Christmas gift. She received a Winnie-the-Pooh lego type set. I referred to the characters as "bear" and "tiger" but within a week of Grandma's visit they were "winnie" and "tigger". We received lots of hand-me-down clothing from her cousin covered in princesses- which instantly led me to concern that she would grow up with warped views of womanhood and femininity. All the while I think my IL's viewed my efforts with a certain bemusement. If I made my wishes known they would certainly do their best to follow them. ("Tigger" going back to "Tiger") With occasional lapses out of habit.
I think they always knew what I would soon learn, which was: Give Up.
First of all there ain't a show on the television, or a book series you can read that doesn't have specific images associated with it that can than be found on merchandise. Earlier this summer marked the first time Miss D grabbed a box of Dora-imprinted fruit snacks (conveniently located at her eye level) at the grocery store.
But truly what put a stake in it for me was when I accompanied her to Disneyland. This was actually her second visit if you can believe that. (Yes- my child is Spoi-led) She enjoyed everything, even the characters she wasn't familiar with. And then we went to the Hundred-Acre-Wood. She went apeshit. She was just SO excited to see Eyore (he was her favorite for some reason) and Pooh and Tigger. And we waited in line forever to take our pictures with them and she was smiling and excited the entire time. This being the age where what is real and what is not is blurry. She had not seen the movie or read the books at this point- she really just knew them from her playset. It was magical for me too, seeing it through her eyes.
So I gave up after that. I didn't have the heart to do it any longer. It will be interesting to see how my feelings on the matter will change as she gets older.