When I was a little girl, I remember watching HR Pufnstuff and giggling whenever someone yelled “Make up!” because someone would then be slapped in the face with a large puff of white make-up powder; leaving them with large amounts of powder clinging to their face. Ironically, this was the first thing I thought of Thursday, after the doll asked me to comment on the make-up she had applied to her face. My want to scream “GoWashYourFace!” coincided with her desire of reassurance; leaving me unhappily in the middle. Such are the cruelties of being a mom to an almost teenaged girl.
On Thursday as we prepared to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at my brother’s, my doll came up to me and asked, “How does this look”. I thought for a moment she was referring to the outfit she had chosen and I replied “You look nice”. “No mom, look at my eyes…” She explained. “Oh…” I said then proceeded to look as my 5’6″ doll closed her eyes for a few seconds and then waited for my reply. “Am I supposed to be seeing something?” I asked. “Mom, go put on your glasses…” she ordered. “No doll, that’s not what I meant. If you have eye make-up on it’s very light” I explained. “Oh” she said in reply and then disappeared back into her bedroom.
A few minutes later she approached once more and asked closed her eyes adding “Does it look like I did this wrong?” “No…you look fine” I replied hoping that would be the end of the make-up session-even though I knew it wasn’t. “Can I borrow your eye liner?” She asked. “Doll I have two kinds of eye liner–one a light brown and one dark. Find the light brown one…” I replied. A minute later she came back, looking a bit like a raccoon and asked, “Is this too much?” “Well first of all you used the dark stuff…so yes” I began. “But if you put a little face lotion on the end of a q-tip and gently go under the eye, like this, you can gently remove the excess…” I explained as I thinned out her eyeliner. Once that was finished she asked, “Can I borrow your mascara now?” Oh brother! “In for a penny, in for a pound…” I mumbled and was summarily ignored as she pulled out my mascara and began to apply.
A few minutes later she entered the kitchen and said, “Now how do I look?” She asked. “Old!” I replied and was slapped harmlessly on the arm as the result. “You know doll, why don’t you go get my foundation and….” I began and explained how she should apply it. We both have fairly light complexions and I figured this would complement her nicely. When she came back into the room I had a hard time keeping my bottom jaw from hitting the floor. “What do you think now?” she asked. “I think you need to go wash your face…” I said to myself. Then I smiled and said, “Wow doll…” She smiled in reply and then left the room.
On Thanksgiving, everyone kept asking me, “How are you doing with the doll wearing make-up? I mean holy cow, she doesn’t look like a 12 yr old”. I smiled and replied, “I’d like her to take it off, of course…but she’s learning how to be comfortable with who she is”. My niece Lisa agreed and then added, “Don’t worry Aunt Marsha…this phase goes by relatively quick…only about ten years or so…” Which made me laugh in reply, “Jeeze thanks Lisa…for such wonderful reassurance”.