Back to School: Lice Edition

Even the mere mention of the word lice makes me want to itch. I remember getting it a LOT as a kid. And I mean… it was a constant battle in our house to rid our heads of the literal parasites. My poor mom washed and vacuumed and sprayed and picked in an endless cycle. She took all of our stuffed animals, put them in one of those over-sized black trash bags, and stuck them in the attic to both suffocate and char them to death in the Texas heat. She spent a ridiculous amount of money on at-home treatments that killed the lice just fine, but did nothing to keep them from coming back.

My mom’s final resort? Chopping off most of my hair.

In retrospect, I totally understand why she did it, but at the time she was basically Satan incarnate in my eyes. My hair was part of my identity, and a bunch of little blood-sucking you-know-whats stole that from me. At school, kids made fun of me because I “look[ed] like a boy!” To top it all off, most of them knew my hair was gone because of a lice problem, and this made me an immediate outcast, pushed out like a leper.

Let me clear the air about one thing right up front: Having head lice does not mean that a child has poor hygiene or is dirty. This is seriously one of the most frustrating misconceptions about lice, and it often leads others kids, and even some adults, looking down on kids who get lice like less-than human beings because of something that is basically synonymous with childhood.

Spread the word: lice ≠ poor hygiene/dirty hair/dirty home

Lice, unlike our society, are strictly nondiscriminatory. They don’t care what kind of hair you have so long as they have a place to chill and eat and lay their eggs. Like hipsters, you know? (totally kidding. kinda)

While I can’t offer you a miracle solution to the lice epidemic that spares no child, home, or school, I can offer you some information about lice to help you handle them if/when they appear:

lice_lifecycle


  1. Some things shouldn’t be shared: Remind your kids as school begins not to share hairbrushes, combs, hats, scarves, or even headphones and hair accessories. One of several lice misconceptions is that they can be spread by Spiderman-ing from head to head. Lice don’t jump or fly or web-sling across the classroom, but they can hitch a ride on items worn on or around the head, as well as by–and most commonly through–head to head contact.
  2. Perform frequent head checks: Seriously, I know it sounds tedious, and it’s not like you NEED one more thing to do between work/carpools/sports/ballet/charitable works, but the earlier you catch lice, the better. Female lice can lay anywhere between 6 to 10 eggs (nits, w.e.) a day. They hatch in 7 to 10 days, and can start laying their own little parasites within another 7 to 10 days; all this while you have no idea what’s going on because some kids don’t even itch–which is usually the first sign to parents. I suck at maths, but they can multiply pretty quickly if they aren’t caught early. Think about scheduling a weekly or bi-weekly lice check on your kiddos. And please, please, check your child’s head before school starts.
  3. Don’t rely on your kids to itch as the first sign: Only people who are allergic to the saliva produced by the lice will itch, and more than half of people who get lice are not allergic. Don’t be like me and wait until you see a huge fat louse crawling across your kid’s head at McDonald’s to realize something is up.
  4. Don’t blame it on the pet: Okay, I may have said that lice are nondiscriminatory, but that was partially a lie. They are discriminatory when it comes to the species of their hosts. They prefer humans, not Lassie to the dog or Snowball the cat, and by “prefer” I mean they only pester humans. So don’t blame the pets.
  5. Little Susie and Jack will not get Bubonic Plague from lice: Lice are not known to transmit diseases. The worst that can happen is a secondary infection from your kiddo scratching the bites.
  6. Your pediatrician can help! I took a chance and decided to tell my children’s pediatrician that we were fighting with a lice infestation on three of my four children. Nothing over-the-counter would work. I combed and combed, and picked and picked, and washed and washed to no avail. I did everything by the book. I felt like my mom, but I was determined not to chop off the children’s hair (which, by the way, is also a misconceived idea. Cutting off their hair short of shaving them bald does not guarantee a solution). The doctor wrote me a prescription for “Sklice“, and seriously it works wonders. So don’t be embarrassed to tell your pediatrician about a lice issue at home.
  7. Don’t solely rely on “preventative” oils, sprays, shampoos: I can’t speak on a scientific level about the effectiveness of using things like tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and eucalyptus oils as lice repellents, though we have used tea tree oil in the our shampoo and conditioners, but my kids still got a case of lice last year after my niece came home with it from another family member’s house. Also be aware that some kids may have sensitivities or mild allergies to these things. And if you plan on trying to “smother” or “drown” the lice in mayonnaise or Coke (yes, the beverage) or coconut oil, just keep in mind that lice can hold their breath for up to 8 hours because biology is weird.
  8. Keep yourself educated: I’m going to include several links at the bottom of this post because it’s good to keep in the know. Also because the Parenting 101 handbook I got after my kids were born doesn’t include a “how to handle a Biblical plague in your own home!” section. (Literally, lice were part of the third plague the Lord sent over Egypt)
  9. You’re not a bad parent if your kid gets lice: Lice happen. Like I said before, it doesn’t mean that you’re not keeping your kid or your home clean enough (unless you aren’t, which that’s between you and the Lord), or that you’re a bad parent. Seriously. Kids get cuts and scrapes and bruises, and lice. It’s not like chicken pox or polio, for which there are vaccines and you just choose not to immunize them. It’s not a moral dilemma. Just take a deep breath, get yourself a lice comb and a beer/glass of wine, and get to picking off lice like adulthood picked off my hopes and dreams. (totally kidding)

(see below for resource links)

giphy1

(P.S. – Mom, I’m totally over you cutting off all my hair. Love ya!)

Sometimes Kids Just Need To Be Bored

 

Why do we as parents feel the need to keep our children engaged and entertained every minute they are awake?

I mean, I get it. A bored kid is oftentimes more of a headache to us than the boredom itself is to them. When my kids are bored, I’m their go-to to supply them with entertainment, even if that entertainment comes in the way of watching me lose my s*** because I’ve listened to “but moooo-OOOOm, we’re so bored!” more times than Trump has tweeted the words “fake news”.

Seriously. They hate nothing more than when my husband or myself tell them to shut off the electronics and come downstairs. Why? Because downstairs means they have to make their own fun. They can’t just plug-in and let their awesome Uncles Mojang and Pop Cap keep them entertained. Downstairs means they have to go into their rooms and play with real toys, create their own zombie apocalypse in diecast cars, army men, and Lego blocks. Downstairs means they have to use critical and imaginative thinking to stimulate themselves. Downstairs means they have to endure moments of silence and disconnect.

And you know what?

It’s good for them.

As much as it drives me insane, boredom in moderation is good for kids. Yours, mine, and even Susie-perfect-mom-down-the-street-with-her-24-hour-schedules’. Unstructured free time does wonderful things for kids, and it even helps us as parents grow in the virtues of patience and fortitude–because nothing gives me fortitude like staring four “so-bored-we’re-going-to-die” children in the face and saying “no” to the electronics. The temptation to give myself a moment of peace and let them plug-in is sometimes palpable.

And you know what else? My children aren’t going to starve if I don’t make their meals colorful and shaped like animals or cartoon characters or their pet goldfish.

I’m serious, y’all.

We’ve dealt with our fair share of picky eaters. We’ve dealt with that fun stage when the kid doesn’t want to eat anything and you’re 90% sure they’re going to starve to death and you’re desperate enough to julienne, batonnet, brunoise, and paysanne every ounce of their food and make it look like The Last Supper on a kid plate if it’ll get them to eat. But you know what? I don’t owe it to my kid to do stuff like this. It’s not my job to make every moment of every day fun fun fun! Because that’s not life. If they want pancakes shaped like baseballs or teddy bears when they grow up, they can go to Denny’s and order off the kid’s menu.

This isn’t a personal attack on any parents to who do this, who go that extra mile to do something fun for their kids, but it’s not me. On a personal level, food is food and everything in their life isn’t going to be handed to them diced up and decorated. The light company could send our bills on neon pink cardstock complete with flourishes and dancing lightbulb cartoons, but I’ll still wince every time I pay it. Moses could have come down the mountain with two elaborately decorated tri-fold display boards that would put a 3rd grade science fair presentation to shame, and it wouldn’t have made the 10 Commandments any easier to follow, and the same with Jesus and His commandments.

“Yo, would it be easier for you guys to clothe the naked and feed the hungry and love your neighbor if I made it into a rap song with a sick music video?” — Things Jesus Never Said.

Kids, my kids especially, need the mundane, tedious parts of life. They need monotony and blandness. They need realistic expectations, because I’m not going to wait until they turn 18 to pull off the rose-colored glasses and push them headlong into “real life” while simultaneously insulting their general lack of knowing how to handle “real life” because I didn’t want to ruin their childhood.

And honestly, I want them to know the value of, and to be appreciative of, silence. I don’t want them to be afraid of silence like I am. I don’t want them to be afraid to just… be at times. I want them to know stillness and calm, and so I have to gave this to them now, as children, so that one day they’ll be self-disciplined enough to seek it for themselves.

 

I Don’t Want A Perfect Life

“Perfect” is an ambiguous adjective. We all have our own idea of perfection; the perfect body, the perfect job, the perfect spouse, the perfect home in the perfect area, complete with the perfect vehicle in which to transport the perfect kids.

My idea of perfect as a teenager was marrying a bull-fighting, guitar-playing poet. He would be handsome, charismatic, and deep. We would live in a run-down but well-loved flat in Prague. We would write, make love, and change the world through both. My plan was to be married by 23, and have my first child by 25, so that I would still be young and flexible enough to chase him/her around. Of course, my love-child would be gentle, soft-spoken, intuitive, and life would be bliss. The perfect husband, and the perfect child. This was my dream, and my plan.

 

I was 16. Give me a break.

Thirteen years later, my life is none of these things. My husband is not a bull-fighting, guitar-playing poet. He is handsome, charismatic, and deep, but sometimes these exact things drive me insane. Our home is run-down, but it’s not a love-nest in Prague. And I did manage to be married with a child by 25… In fact, I managed to be married with FOUR children. Four rambunctious, loud, sticky, impulsive children.

Thirteen years later, and my perception of “perfect” has drastically changed. I don’t want it anymore. I don’t want the perfect husband and the perfect kids. I want grit. I want to forge this family out of blood, sweat, and tears. Give me the sticky and obstinate children, the husband who snores and drives me absolutely bat-s*** crazy with how literal and analytical he is! I want the kids who talk back and make messes, who are stubborn and impulsive.

Why? Because these things are what help us grow. These are the crosses we have to bear—each other’s weaknesses. These things are mirrors reflecting where I myself am lacking, and where I could do better. These things serve as reminders, both through their actions, and my reactions, that I am flawed. I’m not perfect. I would rather this family be swords forged in fire than sprouted in a field of daisies that wilt beneath too much heat.

I am glad my husband is analytical, because this quality in him–as crazy as it drives me sometimes–has helped him to see things differently than others. It helps him to solve problems both at home and in the work field.

I am glad that my children make messes and are stubborn. If they never made messes, they would never learn to clean them. If they aren’t stubborn, then they will be easily swayed in life. If they don’t talk back, they’ll never learn to speak up for themselves and others when it is most necessary.

I know some parents would try and hammer these qualities out of their children, to make them quiet, docile little things, but this isn’t what I want. I want to hammer and refine their perceived negative qualities and show them how they can be used to find success in life, to establish a firm foundation of faith in morality in them. I want them to be stubborn and vocal when it matters. I want them to have backbones. I don’t want them to be afraid of life, to be afraid of screwing up and making a mess, because they will. No matter how they try to avoid it, they’ll make bad decisions, both big and small. And you know what? I’ll still love them.

Of course, I get frustrated and angry when they talk-back, when they do exactly what I told them not to, and don’t do what I tell them to do. There are times when I want to rip the hair out of my head just to show them how done I am with the way they act and speak sometimes. I’m still human. I’m sure there are things about me my children dislike. In fact, our 5yo daughter told us we’re the worst parents ever earlier today because I grounded her after she refused to do something I asked her to do.

And you know what? I pray that she’ll stick to her guns that hard if/when a boy ever tries to pressure her into sex, or when her friends try to pressure her into drinking or doing drugs. I hope she looks them in the face and tells them where they can shove it, fiery little thing she is now. I hope she’ll fight as fiercely against people who would want to harm or use or mistreat herself or others as she does when her brothers try to steal her Peppa Pig toys.

I hope my oldest son can one day use his impulsiveness to bring fun and silliness when and where it’s needed most. I hope he adapts it to quick thinking and being mentally agile. I hope it sends him on adventures worth telling his grandchildren one day.

I hope our second-oldest can take his incessant–and oftentimes infuriating–need to argue, and use it for good. I hope he finds something he is passionate about to put this quality to good use. I hope that his being able to laugh through literally everything will be a comfort to him and others when life gets really tough, because it will. It always does.

I hope that our youngest, the little boy who is like the Bruce Willis of two-year-olds, will take his adventurous curiosity and explore the world, explore other cultures and other ways of life. I hope he’ll never stop seeking, never stop wondering.

Because I was once a prisoner to comparison. I would look at my friends’ children, the children who were so well-behaved and docile and quiet, and I would feel jealousy. It made me resentful towards my own children. It made me wish I had something other than what I do. It made me wonder what was wrong with me as a parent that my kids turned out to be the ones who end up on Ellen because of their shenanigans. How fair is that to them? That I should resent them for who they are, because who they are doesn’t fit into my neat little box of who they should be? What does it teach them about love, about acceptance and understanding if I try to make them fit a mold they were never meant to fit?

Yes, I want them to be successful, productive members of society, and I understand that this requires discipline, fortitude, and obedience. It means tact, social aptitude, and certainly not giving someone a detailed account of your daily BM, or loudly shouting “I FARTED” while in Mass.

I don’t let them get away with being disrespectful. They face punishment when they talk back, when they deliberately disobey, and when they hurt each other. Day by day, I’m teaching them prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude. Some days we have to learn the hard lessons together. Other days I have to use my own shortcomings as lessons for them: don’t be like your mother and engage in fights with people on the internet! There are even some days when I’m the one who learns a lesson from them.

I thank God everyday for what I have, and for who I get to share it with. Even when they drive me batty.

12390923_10153265442562304_2895537584774184281_n

 

Here’s How You’re Screwing Up Your Kid

There’s this funny phenomenon that occurs when you have kids. Ever heard that saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”? Well, almost from the moment you announce your pregnancy, the village arrives ready to shower you in congratulations and unsolicited bits of advice.

This is especially true if you frequent social media.

Articles and videos involving children are almost always guaranteed to be inundated with comments about what the parents should have could have done. No matter how innocuous or innocent the content, someone somewhere is going to be offended.

That’s a risk that comes when you use the internet. And I knew this the day I posted a public video of my 2yo after he smashed an entire carton of eggs on my kitchen floor. In the video, I didn’t know what to do. Laugh? Cry? Scream? It was one of those messes that takes your breath away, and leaves you wondering how someone so small can make such a huge mess in so little a time.

I stood there filming as he belly-flopped in egg guts and chased an unbroken yolk along the linoleum. I didn’t scream at him and make a scene, which, to patrons of the internet, automatically meant I did nothing–I let him make the mess by being a neglectful parent (where was the mom?!), and then, being judged by this one incident, I was accused of raising one of those wretched children who thinks it’s okay to walk all over authority and get away with whatever they want.

Am I upset about some of the comments? I was for about five minutes, before I realized that being upset was pointless. One, because I opened myself up to that kind of criticism by posting it publicly. Two, because no matter what I do as a mom, someone somewhere will not agree. Someone somewhere will slap “if that were my kid…”, or “my children would never…” into the comments. It makes me more upset when I see other parents catching flack.

Parenting blogs can be some of the most savage places on the internet. Why? Because the internet is full of Susie-perfect-mom’s. People who think they know it all when it comes to raising kids. They don’t take into account that every child, every parent, every household is different. They don’t take into account that what worked for them won’t work for some people.

But, hey. To each his own, right? Unless you’re a parent, in which case you’re probably screwing up your kid in some form or fashion. And I figured, since I now have all this amazing wisdom about parenting thanks to the digital village, I might as well share it with you guys!



So here’s a comprehensive list of all the ways you’re screwing up your kids so that you can avoid making these mistakes:

Helicopter mom? – Time to cut the cord, lady. How are they ever going to learn independence?

Free-range mom? – Admit it, you’re just lazy. We all know it.

Co-Sleep? – Yeah, your kid is screwed. They’ll be codependent the rest of their lives.

Let them cry it out at night? – How do you even live with yourself, you cold, heartless monster!

Breastfeed? – Don’t even get me started you promiscuous hippy. You’re probably just trying to steal my husband with your milk bags.

Bottle-feed? – Um, excuse me… do you even know what’s in that stuff?

Natural birth? – Okaaaay, and this makes you special how? What, you think you’re better than everybody? The only reason women opt for natural birth is so that they can brag about it. We all know it.

C-Section? – Oh, girl, please. You didn’t “give birth”, you laid on a table and bled for a few minutes. How are you even considered a real mom?

Feed your child? – But what are you feeding them? It has to be Vegan, gluten, and dye free otherwise your future grandchildren are going to sprout tentacles.

Feed your child a special diet? – Are they allergic to sunlight, too, or what? I mean, really. Enjoy your gross rabbit food.

Medicate for a legitimate medical condition? – I hope you enjoy being a puppet of the pharmaceutical companies. ADHD isn’t even a real thing. Duh. And Autism is only caused by vaccines which you totally could have avoided if you read those fifteen articles I tagged you in. Just sayin’.

Choose not to medicate? – Yeah, good luck with your essential oils and herbs there, witch doctor. Maybe you can smother some coconut oil on your brain.

Spanking? – You know who else believed in spanking? Hitler.

No spanking? – You’re everything that’s wrong with our society. Your children are going to grow up to be entitled and selfish just like you! The only real way to discipline a child is with violence.

Working parent? – What was the point of having kids if you were just going to let someone else take care of them anyways? Awful.

Stay-at-home-parent? – Must be nice to just sit on your butt all day long, sipping wine or drinking beer, and channel surfing. Bro, do you even work?

Public school? – Sure, if you want your child pregnant and on drugs by the time they’re 15. Public school is the devil.

Private school? – Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, but with embroidered uniforms and a cricket team. Woo-woo!

Homeschool? – Homeschool is for religious nut-jobs who don’t want their children to believe in science. Duh.

The moral of the story here, kids, is that someone is always going to have an opinion about the way you parent. Whether it’s your doddering mother-in-law, or strangers on the internet. You just have to take it all with a grain of salt.

Or, you know, you could surrender to the digital village. Because the digital village knows all, sees all, hears all.

lucille-portable

Here’s What You Do When Your Kid Makes A HUGE Egg Mess

Step one: Don’t PANIC!

(You can skip past the narrative and head to the bottom for the rest of the steps, if you’d like)

No, seriously. Two mornings ago I had my Here's What You Do WhenYour Kid Makes A HUGE Egg Mess.pngalmost-2-year-old helping me clean up the mess he made in his sister’s room when he wandered off on to a bigger and better mess that involved an entire carton of eggs. Most parents know just how fast kids can get into things, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in a mere TWO minutes, me managed to crack every. single. egg. All over our kitchen floor. Not only that, he decided to bathe in them.

A friend of mine made the comment that this must be a rite of passage for kids. My oldest son did this on a lesser scale, but on CARPET! My daughter had her rite of passage when she set our microwave on fire at the age of 2, while trying to make herself some oatmeal. And I’m pretty sure that it was my middle son who spilled red Kool-aid all over the kitchen once. (Thank you, Jesus, for magic erasers because red Kool-aid stains SO bad.)

You would think that after raising three other children through their toddler years, I would be pretty well versed in messes of all shapes and sizes. Nope. I walked around the corner into our kitchen and almost lost my s***. I didn’t even know where to begin cleaning up this mess, especially since I had to leave in 10 minutes to get my daughter from pre-school. So first order of business was to clean up the baby.

I let the egg-catastrophe sit and stew while I picked her up, but afterwards I grabbed three of our biggest, thickest towels and proceeded to mop up the sticky, gooey mess. Thirty minutes, two gallons of soapy water, and two Swiffer sweeper pads later and VOILA! My kitchen floor is still sticky.

Toddler: 1, Mom: 0

It wasn’t until a day later that friends began giving me advice on how I could have cleaned up the mess without so much expenditure. Hindsight is always 20/20, right? So here’s what they told me:

How To Clean Up A HUGE Egg Mess!


For Hard Surfaces:

Step One: Don’t Panic

– That’s what the kid(s) wants us to do! Because nothing makes their day quite like watching mommy and/or daddy flip their lid. At least in this house.

Step Two: Shake It Like A Salt Shaker

– While you may be tempted to tackle the mess head-on with paper towels, start with some table salt, instead. That’s right. Whip out that good ole’ container of table salt and sprinkle it generously over the egg mess. This is even something you can get your little mess-maker to help you with, since they like spilling stuff all over the floor–apparently.

Make sure you get the whole spill, and then let it sit for ten minutes. And while you’re waiting, you can take the opportunity to give your touch-every-hard-surface-in-sight, adorable little cherub a bath!

Step Three: Wipe On, Wipe Off

– Take your paper towel of choice, whether yours are made from a lumberjack’s chest hair or quilted from a grandmother’s hugs and kisses, and wipe up the egg mess! The salt helps solidify the gooey egg-guts that are nearly impossible to wipe up otherwise. Why? Because science. Then you can just take your Swiffer sweeper-mop for a round over the residual stickiness, or a Clorox wipe, or just good wholesome soap and water.

Be smarter than me. Try these steps.

Now…


For Carpet!

(I am so, so sorry if this is you)

Step One: Remove the Excess

(I’m not even going to bother telling you to stay calm because, like, there’s egg on your carpet. Who can stay calm for that?)

– Use a spatula or another flat-edged utensil to carefully scrape up the excess egg. If the yolk isn’t broken, God be with you that you don’t break it yourself.

Step Two: Cold Water ONLY

– Take two cups of cold (seriously, do not use warm or hot water unless you want to cook that egg into your carpet) water and two tablespoons of dish detergent, and dab–DAB!–at the stain from the outside –> in, until the stain is gone.

Step three: Patience is Key

– It may take a few passes to get the stain out, in which case you want to pat the stain dry between cleanings. However, once the stain is gone, pour yourself a glass of wine, or pop open your favorite stout, and pat that once-egg-mess with cold water, then use a dry cloth to pat it dry.

(I am not responsible for any spilled alcoholic beverages on your carpet)

Scrape, dab, pat!


Now, if you’re not here because you have an egg mess to clean, and you’re just looking for a good time, I invite you to check out the video proof of what my almost-2-year-old did to my kitchen, and my eggs.

If you ARE here because you have an egg mess to clean, then I invite you to watch the video proof that you, my friend, are not alone. #Solidarity, amirite?

Let me just say egg mess one more time,

Egg mess!

When Grace Flows Down

As is the case for many, many people, 2016when has been an extremely difficult year for us. Between taking in my niece through CPS back in January, a move, a car accident, several financial hardships, and enough family drama to rival a daytime soap opera, we walked into the Christmas season feeling completely defeated. My husband and I knew that we wouldn’t be able to provide a decent Christmas for our children without taking away from bills and other necessities, and so we decided to reach out for help.

Through the kindness of complete strangers, our children were able to have presents beneath the tree this year. Through the kindness of complete strangers, CPS was able to provide extra presents to my niece this year. Because of gift cards we received from friends and loved ones (and a certain “secret Santa”), my husband and I were able to purchase items needed to make some small repairs around the house.

And though it takes a lot for me to admit these things–prideful creature that I am–I want you to see first-hand what it looks like when grace flows down.

These people–friends and strangers, alike–took the time and effort from their own lives, from their own stresses and worries, to help us. They took the blessings that Christ has given to them and poured them out onto us. For all the blows we were dealt in 2016, it absolutely pales in comparison to the love we’ve been shown, and not just in the way of presents and monetary gifts, but for all the prayers offered on our behalf, for all the messages and phone calls asking if we need anything, or if we just need to talk for a bit.

While I understand that Christmas is not about the material things, it’s the charity and love behind what we’ve been blessed with that stands out the most. I see the selflessness of the gifts. I see the hands and feet of Christ at work. I see the kindness that the world feels is so lacking.

From the bottom of my heart I want to thank those who reached out to us, who helped give our children a good Christmas. From the bottom of my heart I want to thank everyone who has been praying for us. Thank you for taking the time and effort to sacrifice what you have for someone else. Thank you for being the examples of Christ that the world needs, especially now. ❤

 

 

Our 4-Year-Old Is Obsessed with Makeup!

I used to love makeup as a little girl. Every our-4-year-old-is-obsessed-with-makeupchance I got I would ask my Aunt Tabitha to make me Cindy Crawford, complete with a little dot of brown lip-liner on the corner of my mouth and all.

I loved those roll-on lip glosses that smelled and tasted nothing like the advertised flavor, and the little butterfly-shaped eye shadow kits that didn’t come in complementary shades for your particular eye color.

Fast forward 20-or-so years and I now have a 4-year-old daughter who is obsessed with makeup the way most kids her age are obsessed with Thomas the Train or Barbie. Every chance she gets she is in my bathroom globbing ten coats of fingernail polish onto her fingernails (and my countertops), or fishing for my hidden stash of makeup so that she can “be pretty”.

And that right there is where I draw the line.

I never ever wanted my daughter to grow up with the mentality that she needs makeup to be beautiful. And I never ever want my sons to grow up thinking that women need it to be beautiful, either. I want them to value health over beauty. I want them to start with being more concerned about what goes into than onto their bodies.

Now before you go all that’s not what makeup is for! That’s not the only reason people wear makeup! And what’s so wrong with wearing it to help boost your confidence?!, let me say, I see makeup as a form of art. (Does that sound totally hippy-talk? Probably, but whatever. I’m slowly coming to terms with my inner hippy.) I see it as a channel for self-expression and creativity; something that takes time and effort (and money) to perfect.

To be honest, I’m a bit conflicted. On one hand, I see her love of makeup as something that can one day become a career. Which, if this is the case, why not support and nurture it? Why not help her learn how to do all kinds of makeup? Not just beauty makeup. There’s fashion makeup, theatre/stage makeup, COSPLAY MAKEUP!, film makeup… can you tell which one I’m most excited about?!

On the other hand, like I said, I don’t want it to become something negative. I don’t want her to think that, without makeup, she can’t be pretty. As if her beauty is dependent on her ability to properly contour and blend and shade with the right palettes. And I certainly don’t want her walking around looking like Mimi Bobeck, or as if she just stepped off an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras.

Who knows, maybe she’ll grow out of the makeup thing the way I grew out of Leonardo DiCaprio and wanting to be a famous poet who lived in a flat in Prague with my red-haired, bull-fighting husband. (Seriously, some of my phases as a kid were just weird.) Maybe I’m putting to much thought into something she won’t even care about tomorrow. Maybe she’ll wake up next week and decide she wants to be a storm chaser… which was also a phase I went through: me and Bill Paxton wandering Tornado Alley together 4 ever!

Either way, we’ll go with it. ❤