New Territory

The days are long, but the years are short. – Gretchen Rubin

Yesterday I took Sprout to the Rite Aid to get stuff to build acrylic nails. Not because she wanted long nails, but because she had cracked a nail on her “fret hand” and was worried about her ability to play guitar in her upcoming big show.

A girl-power type mission to fix an equipment problem, if you will.

However, while wandering about the beauty aisles searching for toxic nail-repair technology, she decided that maybe she needed a few other things.

I found her ruminating on the Maybelline mascara display. I could see the pre-teen wheels turning in her head as she turned her big green eyes to me and said, “Which kind should I get?”

Um, what?

My tomboy, sports-minded, musician girl – who barely wants to comb her hair – wants mascara?

My first thought was to talk her out of it. She has beautiful long lashes. And she’s 12.

But then I changed my thinking and looked at it as a teachable moment. Plus, a chance to put all of my years of cosmetics “research” to good use.

I figured, if I say no – she’ll probably turn into one of those kids who sneaks a bag full of makeup onto the bus and puts it on on the way to school.  Badly.

This would then devolve to her packing an entire bag of questionable clothing and terrifying footwear and getting a tramp stamp.

My baby…

So I guided her toward a couple of very natural-looking mascara options.  She picked one that we could both (sort of) live with and I started to move toward the check out.

And she moved toward the lipsticks.


Again – I guided her toward something unobtrusive and natural-ish. Then I started to walk toward the check out, again.

And she moved toward foundations.

Good lord.

The child has perfect skin. She’s freaking adorable.

This time I said no. She doesn’t need that stuff.

And again…moving toward the cash register.

And she moves toward blush.


I help her pick something I believe will barely be noticeable.

And she moves toward eye shadow.

And I cut her off.



How much is a mother supposed to deal with in one day?? Plus, I need to save some money for expanding my lip gloss collection. Seriously.

When we got home I showed her how to put it all on. A tiny tiny bit of each thing. Just a smidge of mascara on just the tips of her lashes, lest they touch and bond with the lenses of her glasses.  A microscopic dab of cream blush, on her already pink and adorable cheeks. A swipe of color on her perfect mouth.

I admit she looked good.  Barely even different. Just slightly heightened.

But does a 12-year-old need that? No.

Want that? Apparently yes.

She is one of the youngest kids in her grade – so her friends are 13 and even 14. But still. I still sort of think of her as being about eight. Eight was so much less complicated.

Dirtier. But less complicated.

Today she skipped the mascara – apparently that’s for special occasions. But she did do a bit of lips and cheeks. All by herself.

My emotions on this are conflicted. I am troubled by how big she is getting, but excited about having something to share.  I might need some of the lip stuff I got for her :)

But it really isn’t about how I feel about it. Regardless of my thoughts on the subject, she’s not so much that lion child up there, and on her way to being a (gasp) young woman.

I’ll just have to make the best of it. Maybe she’ll let me do her hair next :)

About Kristen

Me: Kristen, more than 40-something (don't make me face the number), suburban mom of 2, working girl, therapeutic writer, proprietor of an emptying nest Addictions: Iced Coffee, FOMO resulting in twitchy compulsion to check FB/Instagram/Pinterest in an unending loop, texting, hugging my one child while Snapchatting the other and yelling at my dog

1 Response

  1. babs50nfab

    I can’t speak from experience with a daughter but I think you handled that beautifully! You recognized the ‘forbidden fruit’ aspect and absolutely did the right thing. As level headed as your girl seems to be I doubt you’ll be having any floozy moments. You’re now entering a very important bonding time with a soon to be teenager. Enjoy it!

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