Toddler Eye For the Asinine GuyMy son loves to watch me apply makeup. Soon as I sit at the table and spread out my cosmetics, my boy intuitively knows, comes arunnin’ fast as his fat little legs will carry him, cheeks flushed, eyes dancing with anticipation. He will drop whatever it is he’s doing at the moment, no matter if he’s drawing stick figured, balloon-handed characters on his bedroom walls with indelible marker or making a crushed-Goldfish mosaic on the living room floor, and sit at the kitchen table with me as I do my magic. And that’s exactly what he believes I am doing -- practicing magic.
He oohhhs and ahhhs while I transform my features from tired, plain, spotty-faced Mommy to porcelain-skinned, ruby-lipped Mommy-Goddess, repeatedly exclaims how good my potions smell. I must allow him to sniff each pot of cream, every tube of lipstick, the powders, the perfumes and gloss before I am allowed to play with them myself. He gives his opinions honestly, criticizes when needed, tells me if there’s too much mascara on my bottom lashes (Mommy, your eyes look like poopy) or too much blush on my face (Mommy, you have a boo-boo on your chin), and most importantly, if I haven’t done the best job at covering my premenstrual zits (Mommy, I really don’t like the seeds on your nose).
I quite like having my own personal image consultant. Keeps me looking my best while at the same time keeping me humble. Shame my husband doesn’t share my pride in our son’s excellent eye for beauty. Especially when our little Max Factor remarks that he would very much like his own bag of magical “Nemo makeup.” Yes, my boy would like nothing more than to transform his tiny, ordinary self into a colorful, animated sea creature, and I couldn’t be more tickled. Why is my husband so threatened by that?
I’ll tell you why: asinine machismo, plain and simple. My husband believes that if I encourage the child by giggling, hugging, shrieking how sweet it is that he wants Nemo makeup, letting him revel in the fragrant garden of my cosmetics bag, our son will grow up to be a lipstick-wearing florist if his adorable (I think) interests are not nipped in the bud. Me, I wouldn’t mind if the boy grew up to be a lipstick-wearing florist, as long as he is a happy, healthy adult who continues to advise his mother in all things beauty-related, but the chance of that happening is almost nil. I’ve never met a lipstick wearing florist of the male persuasion, and don’t imagine I ever will, though I know they surely must exist somewhere. And I highly doubt their careers or fashion sense were inspired by visions of Nemo and Dori and all their aquatic friends frolicking amongst the anemone, but I guess it's a possibility.
Anyway, I’m taking what bonding I can get at this stage in the game. One day, far too soon, my makeup-loving, Nemo-wishing angel boy will lose interest in Mommy’s magical, coddling ways and turn his attention elsewhere, to a place few mommies are allowed, where burping contests are regular events, a muddy, smelly place filled with wrestling and spitballs, pocket knives and dirty jokes. The place where Dads proudly clap their sons on the back over a fart well dealt. A place I really don’t even want to go.
I can only hope that when that day finally does arrive, my son will take the time to come visit me once in a while, sit with me while I apply makeup, and talk with me, make me understand his new world, regale me with anecdotes involving his newfound tweenhood, or his first shave, first job -- anything, just as long as he remembers me. And I wouldn’t mind one bit if he were to point out the lipstick on my teeth. It would be our little secret.