Julie Lyles Carr: War Paint

Friday, August 20, 2010

War Paint

We have a bevy of summer birthdays around here.

4 of 8's is sandwiched right in between 6 and 5 of 8.

She usually makes plans, big plans, for her birthday celebrations. Sometimes they come to fruition and sometimes not.

Like the year she wanted to host a block party and have a stage and sing with a rock band.

That was her Hannah Montana phase.

But I always have to salute her vision.

This year, it was all about having a couple of her closest buddies over for movies and junk food and staying up all night.

They stayed up cackling and sugared up until the wee, wee hours.

And they came down at some point and begged me to take pictures of the unusual cosmetics creations they had performed...

We've not had hard and fast rules about makeup around here. At the age of around 10, 1 of 8 decided it was about time for her to put on full war paint before we hit the homeschool table. The residual would still be in evidence when we hit the dance school in the afternoon. She kept up her cosmetic practices for about five or six days, other mothers clucking at me about her being too young. I smiled.

Because I knew 1 of 8's fascination would wear off.

Which is did.

And has not resurfaced for over ten years.

That girl has to really be in a particular mood to bother with even mascara these days. Her Maybelline crush burned a bright purple streak across the sky and then fizzled.

2 of 8 decided she couldn't be seen in naked face at about the age of 11.

That lasted about 2 weeks.

And then she was over it.

And has stayed over it.

And now will hit a bit of lip gloss if the mood strikes.

4 of 8 has been a bit more of an adherent. And we had a couple of weeks this summer that she was really laying it on thick.  Literally.

I just smiled.

We made the decision a long time ago that we were not going to assign maturity levels to calendar age.

No one in this house is guaranteed a driver's license simply because they have a birthday.  No one has to cross a particular calendar date to qualify for pierced ears.  And cell phones have to do with responsibility and contribution and attitude.  I do know households that have put the birthday thresholds in place for certain privileges with great success and I've seen it work very well to put those dates out there as goals.  So this isn't a treatise to change that.

We've just done things a little different in our house.  And for us, we've attached certain privileges to maturity level and respect.

Not a grade level or an age number.

And so it is with the war paint.  I let the fascination burst into full flame.  And then I watch for how long it takes for moderation and maturity to show up.  And I make a mental note.

Knowing full well that under my 'system',  I typically have found myself having to encourage my older girls to at least slap on some mascara.

This parenting thing.

It's always a work in progress...

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