Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Sunday morning, as I rushed around in the usual Sunday jumble, trying to get everyone ready and fed before I left for the first round of meetings for the day, Zoe snuck up behind me. "Mommy-mommy-mommy!" she shouted, holding up to me her spraybottle of detangler (conditioner and water) and a comb. Ah, she wanted her hair brushed. I sat her down and gave her a little spray and combing. Looking very pleased, she stopped to look in the mirror on her way back to the bathroom.

A few minutes later, I was in the bathroom, too, brushing my teeth and making myself look halfway decent. "Ma!" exclaimed Zoe. She held up my makeup bag. I got her out her little sponge and she daintily patted herself all over the face. Then after mascara-ing up myself, she wanted me to pretend to put some on her. She got out her chapstick and smeared it liberally about her visage. To finish things off, she insisted on some smelly lotion to smear all over her half-naked body.

As we left the bathroom, she patted her hair and smelled her arms. She grinned and pointed at her cheeks, then at her pink-adorned toenails -- she and Jed had both insisted on a full trimming (for both) and pink painting (for her) the night before. "Do you want to show Daddy how pretty you are?" "YEAH!" she shouted, and beaming from ear to ear went to go show Dad how lovely she looked.

Moments like this make me doubt that my child really is mine. Wasn't I the girl who wore t-shirts and jeans and a pony-tail every day until college? I didn't really learn how to put on make-up until forced to by a visitor center mission at age 21. And yet here I have this little painted beauty, prancing around the house in all her beeyooteefullness, rouged cheeks and pouty lips, dressing up in pink fluffy this and golden beaded that. If this doesn't make the case for nature vs. nurture I don't know what would.

Later that day, her nursery leader said she spent the whole time in nursery trying to peel off her shoes and socks, undoubtedly to show off the glory of her first painted toenails.

The next afternoon, I turned some music on in the kitchen. Zoe dragged over the laundry basket, turned it upside down, climbed up on top and started showing off her most groovy dance moves, some of which involved pulling up her shirt to show off her belly while bouncing that darling little bum. Should I be concerned for her teenage years?

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