Toddlers don't sit still. Mine doesn't anyway. It doesn't matter how much energy I awake with, how many serving spoons of coffee granules I put in my massive mug or how much crack-cocaine I smoke, I still don't have enough energy. My Phoebe is like the world's most successfully devised nuclear explosion ever created; small, compact and harmless-looking. But boom. Her day consists of running around the house like an out of control Catherine wheel for three hours, climbing the walls for one, jumping on our bed for two and a half, jumping on the sofa for two and playing dress up with Anna and Elsa while riding her scuttle bug, eating grapes and plating football for two. That leaves us with two hours where mummy and me do our very best to contain the damage and calm our hysterical child, which means calling in the big guns: Playdoh out (or as she calls it Peado) and a disney film (or a third of three disney films depending on how tired, irritable and difficult she wants to be).
As such, I am now a connoisseur of princesses and so, it is with great delight, that I have compiled a list of the best (and by best, I mean the one's that have managed to plonk Phoebe's little bottom on the sofa just long enough for us - young and fit - parents to recover and catch our breath before the tiring "please, please, please go to bed" ritual.) Enjoy.
1. Peter Pan (1953)
Oh, it's a classic. Of course, on paper it is about Wendy and her brothers getting whisked off to the magical world of Neverland to dance around with Peter pan and his Lost Boys. But it is so much more than that. It is the out-of-luck Captain Hook and the moronic Smee and thetick-tocking Croc (da-da-daa-daa-daaa-da-da-daa-daa-daa) and the Red Indians and the mermaids and just one of the greatest story gifts ever given to us. It's about never growing up. Is there a better lesson to give a children? No, is the answer, obviously. Oh, and the rights belong to The Great Ormond Street Hospital because JM Barrie is bloody legend and gave them the rights. Amazing.
Phoebe's watch count: 128
2. Return To Neverland (2002)
It's London, which is cool, except it is during World War II, which isn't cool. It's also exactly like the original except it's not as good and it's not the story of Wendy, it's the story of her really annoying daughter Jane, who gets kidnapped by Captain Hook, thus forcing a seriously arrogant Peter Pan to come and rescue her. Smee's there, which is nice. But the crocodile isn't. They replaced that epic character with a huge octopus for absolutely no reason. Still it made the list because it is Phoebe's absolute favourite (even tussling Frozen for first position at times, thank god, because I seem to have either Let It Go or Do You Want To Build A Snowman perpetually knocking about in my skull).
Phoebe's watch count: 12,456 views
3. The Little Mermaid (1989)
This one has a pretty jovial soundtrack to support the story of a red-headed mermaid princess who makes what I can only describe as a Faustian bargain with an unscrupulous (and dare I say hideous) sea-witch in order to meet a human prince on dry-land. There are three main reasons as to why I like this film so much, and they are a) Sebastian the red crab from the Caribbean b) the song Under The Sea and c) the fact that Phoebe thinks I look like King Triton, the incredibly muscular merman with the flowing white beard and pecks like Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. Result (although, the downside is, my child may have a sight impairment, which is less of a result).
Phoebe's watch count: 140 views
4. Aladdin (1992)
Well, there was a time not so long ago (before President Trump to be precise), where Aladdin could have shown Princess Jasmin the world. But given the recent Muslim ban, it now stands at the world minus America, which is probably a blessing in disguise for Jasmine given Trump would have tried to grab her pussy. Close shave (wrong phrase, sorry). Anyway, Aladdin is ace because it ain't your usual choice of an impossibly handsome prince. It is fact a street urchin who vies for the love of a truly staggering princess, which he vies for using a genie's (omg! i love Robin Williams) magic power to make himself turn into the usual choice of an impossibly handsome prince in order to marry her. But better than that, Aladdin has taught my child that is totally okay to lie, cheat and steal. Thanks a lot Disney.
Phoebe's watch count: 29 views
5. Cinderella (1950)
Like I need to explain this one to anyone. Evil step-mother. Evil step-sisters. Fairy Godmother. Royal Ball. Glass slipper. Done.
Phoebe's watch count: 48 views
6. The Jungle Book (1967)
This is one of the cinematic greats. I mean is there a more tragic story told in a more uplifting way. That soundtrack. Cos' it's the bear necessities, it's mother natures recipes. And the characters. Mowgli the man cub. Bagheera the panther. Baloo the bear. Shere Khan and Kaa and King Louie and Colonel Hathi and all of them. It is such an incredible journey (and the new live-action one aint' shabby either, which is my way of saying it is epic).
Phoebe's watch count: 7 views
7. Toy Story 1, 2 & 3
Not a classic, I know. But my little girl loves this motley crew of animated toys and, given she has me wrapped around her little finger, I had to put it in. We watched them all with her for the first time during our mad trip to Paris, and she's been obsessed with Woody and Buzz. For me, this is a trilogy up there with the Bourne films. There, I said it. I poisoned the waterhole.
Phoebe's watch count: 3 times each, so 9 views
8. Robin Hood (1973)
This is my favourite, or it was as a kid. I haven't seen it since, and I am kind of scared to in case it doesn't live up to the pink-gold hue I still think of it through. Who knew I'd end up living in Nottingham, his very county. I may start taking from the rich and giving to the poor, although that would be illegal enough to warrant jail time and that would exactly see me win 'parent of the year'. Anyway, the story of Robin Hood is one of the greatest ever, and seeing that story told through humanoid animals is just a delight.
Phoebe's watch count: 0 views (like I said, i don't want to ruin my memories of it and that means Phoebe is only aloud to watch through my recital of it)
9. Beauty & The Beast (1991)
Mummy's favourite. That's all that needs to be said. And why wouldn't it be. it's romantic, magical, thrilling, honest and a truly great example of imagination brought to life. What's it about, I hear no one say... well... It is about a beautiful young woman, whose father has been imprisoned by a terrifying beast, who offers herself in his place. Spoiler alert: the terrifying beast is actually a handsome prince, who was physically altered by a magic spell. Happily ever after.
Phoebe's watch count: 0 views (I don't know why? Blame Netflix I guess)
10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
I love Paris. It is the most gorgeous city on earth. I also fancy Esmerelda a bit. A lot actually. She is just so sassy, and free, and caring. As a film though, it is terrible sad. One of those that makes me weep like a child with hay fever. It's about a deformed bell-ringer (heartstrings) who has no choice but to assert his independence from a vicious government minister in order to help his friend, Esmerelda, the stunning gypsy dancer. What a sad story, but what a story.
Phoebe's watch count: 1/2 (Phoebe was rushed to hospital half way through. She has respiratory problems. That was the first emergency run. It sucked. I was assured it wasn't disney's fault, which was annoying because I was planning a lawsuit)