Thursday, May 04, 2006

Toddler Eye For the Asinine Guy

My 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.


At 11:05 AM, Blogger leenie71689 said...

It's funny how kids are so fascinated by make-up. I think it's the idea of transforming something "ugly" into something's magic...childhood is magical. My boys always want to keep my empties...what they want to do wtih them are a mystery - probably capture bugs or something...but they thing the bottles are magical. My husband hates when I let the boys play with the make-up too so I always keep a tube of black lipstick or blue nailpolish on hand for those special occassions when they absolutley have to be transformed. You're a very special mother and friend. Perfumey hugs and lipsticky kisses. XXOOE

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Alice said...

I'm sure he will. The joy of tradition is in keeping it up. He'll probably always somewhere inside him feel soothed and reassured by watching you work your magic, and it will be reflected in his actions.

I don't have on any perfume or lipstick, but I send you hugs and kisses all the same:



At 12:01 PM, Blogger Alena said...

I think it's totally normal and really adorable, how kids are so fascinated by the grown-up things their parents do. If he's a toddler, tell Lar to hush, and let him play and explore. I can tell you as an ex-preschool teacher that at that age, gender-bending is perfectly normal. It's just a facet of personal exploration, trying out different things, and of course they're attracted to things they don't usually get to do.

I may have mentioned it here before, but we had a dress-up area and the boys were far more enamored of the dresses and heels than were the girls. I won't ever forget watching these little boys run around chasing each other in heels and dresses... hahaha.

Actually, it was both completely adorable and hilarious. And because our school had two classes, mine (the younger kids 2-4) and an older class, I can also let you know it's something they generally grow out of. I think what may have been even funnier was the 4-6 year old kids teasing the little boys for running around in dresses, when they did the same exact thing at that age. ;)

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Victor said...

Growing up I used to play with my sister and her dolls. Loved dressing them up in their outfits, mixing and matching.

30 years later one of my favorite shows is "What not to Wear". Inbetween I did my share of farting, burping and backslapping but those lessons learned early always stayed with me.

At 1:09 PM, Blogger David Niall Wilson said...

The kinds of things other guys worry over drive me crazy. Of course, women are no better. Trish is never pleased when I dress Katie in her tiny San Diego Chargers jersey and teach her to watch football...(she does a mean touchdown dance).

Did anyone else catch that new Burger commercial where a bunch of guys do a warped version of "I Am Woman," Changing it to "I Am Man"

"I admit I've eaten quiche,
But I got to have relief...

I've got to make my woman under STaaaaaand"

(lol) At one point a mob of men overturns a minivan inot a dump truck below a bridge and another HUGE guy tugs the truck across the concrete by heavy chains as a girl in skimpy clothes leads him with a dripping burger ...


At 2:02 PM, Blogger Alexis said...

Ms. Lori - I love your writing. Hey - coming back to the States in Sept - can I come by and give you a magical Nemo makeover? (I can facepaint too - he might like that). BTW have you heard from Peter - is he OK?

At 2:21 PM, Blogger Redneck Nerdboy! said...

I love that children use their sense so much. Most of us lose the sensitivity of our five sense as we grow older, resulting our capacity to REALLY LIVE to diminish. I think that's sad. The fact that he smells your makeup and wants to watch it happen is so innocently awesome.

I think all boys are fascinated with girly stuff. I had dolls when I was younger, and I grew up normal. Right?



At 2:22 PM, Blogger Redneck Nerdboy! said...

That's senses, not sense. Plural, Jas...

At 9:15 PM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

I've been in lurk mode lately, luv. I have been reading though. I wonder if there are a bunch of mothers who secretly hope their sons will turn out, well if not gay, at least overtly fond of women's clothing and make-up :)

At 10:14 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

Ok, that post got me all verclempt.

Talk amongst yourselves.

Ayman enjoys watching me too, but it is so rare and happens so fast, he hardly ever gets to watch.

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

Thank you, Leenie. ***Mwah!***

And you, too, Alice. ***Mwah, mwah!***

Alena, I love that story. Little guys are so wonderful, aren't they?

Victor, I used to dress my brother in dresses and pigtails and introduce him to my friends as my cousin "Tootsie" (this was before Dustin Hoffman's movie). I have a picture hidden somewhere (where he can't get to it) that shows him in all his Tootsie glory, complete with stuffed bodice.

David, my husband isn't exactly losing sleep over our son's makeup fascination, just a bit bemused. I, on the other hand, think it's grand!

Alexis, I would LOVE to have you over for a visit! Please e-mail me when you've got your travel plans settled, and we'll decide on a day! And no, I haven't heard from Peter. I miss him...

Jas, of course you're normal! A fabulously normal, quirky, darling man.

Jordan, you must be punished, lurker! Lessee, what to do, what to do...I know -- you are hereby ordered to endure a makeover by none other than my son, Mr. Butler! Blue hair and yellow lips might suit you. ;-)

Aw, Cassandra, glad it touched you...

At 3:46 PM, Blogger Professor said...

As a mama to a boy who is a bit older, he is not scarred or showing signs of wanting to be a florist. He is still charming and sweet and great at being 13. He still loves his mom, and even indulges me with moments of public hugging!


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