As I watched her sleeping—this angelic looking eleven old daughter of mine, I peered closely at her sparkly Ice Blue eyelids and Frosted Peach lips; her breath coming in a deep, even rhythm whilst snoring softly. I grinned indulgently, though would not have had the courage to do so earlier while she was awake—for God Forbid I should poke fun of our Girly Time.
It is Serious Business according to Her, and apparently something I don’t take seriously enough. How can she expect me to keep a serious face when I waltz into my (own) bedroom, juggling hot tea, my new library book and a glass of cold water expecting solitude and peace, (how dare I?), instead, opening the door (yes, I can open doors with my feet,) to see Her perched on her father’s side (because he’s in China on business) balancing a shoebox filled with a plethora of lolly-pop/cup-cake lip glosses, my (good) eye-shadow (wondered where that got to…) and some suspiciously gammyucky looking nail varnishes which I suspect she’s had since the age of two. Oh, but don’t worry on my account, she doesn’t use those old ones—she uses my newer ones, and suspect she only keeps the old ones to make the box look fuller.
‘Mum!’ she cries crossly. (Did I miss something? Aren’t I the mother?)
‘What?’ My reading and sipping hot tea isn’t looking so good…
‘You just don’t take this seriously enough!’ Oh goody—she’s on the band-wagon of Mother/Daughter Time. Why couldn’t she get all gooey in the day time I ask you? I didn’t want to be serious. I wanted to be a slug and lie abed, read Catherine Alliot and drink my Blueberry and Nettle Tea. My husband’s cheery grin looks back at me from his frame in the wall—a grin decidedly twenty years younger and pre-children. ‘Yes…hope you’re enjoying your Sum-woo choi in your Wong Hing Suite at the hotel complete with Gym and Swimming Pool…’ I mutter, but couldn’t help notice at this point my daughter was armed with my brand new Ms. Make-Up Blush Brush—hovering dangerously over my tea as I settle into my tri-pillow.
‘Oi! That’s my new blush brush!’ Some unknown powdery substance trickles into my herbal tea.
‘Mum you bought that blush brush ages ago and you haven’t even used it.’
‘Maybe because it disappeared a few days after I brought it home?’
‘Lie still, please,’ she commanded. She will make a Corporal one day, I think, though careful not to voice this thought aloud.
I probably didn’t need a blush brush but I always thought a make-up bag should have one, and whether or not you actually use it is irrelevant notwithstanding the twice that I fluffed it over my cheeks in pretence because I don’t own any blush powder.
‘Mum, put the book down! You’re always reading or writing when we have Special Time!’
Ouch! ‘Well I don’t suppose it has anything to do with the fact that it’s always my BEDTIME.’ I put my book down with a sigh and noticed that she shifted it out of my reach before I could draw a second breath. I then calculated my losses. If I played along for ten minutes—fifteen max, she’ll be snoring and I can read in peace, and which is exactly what happened.
When she herself was around three, she insisted on ‘doing’ my make-up—even back then it was obviously apparent to her that her mother needed help in this department. ‘Slap it on, dab and rub it a bit, then run for your life past the mirror’ was my motto for putting on make-up because I would need about two hours to do it properly and with five kids running about the place, I simply couldn’t justify more than two minutes. So, thence forward, said daughter, realising what a miserable excuse for a fashion icon her mother was, appointed herself Fashion/Beauty Editor of my life.
Her first day on the job, saw her going to town with every pot of cream I owned (and some I don’t ever remember owning…) glosses, lippys, eye-shadow, (no, I drew the line at allowing a three year old with the dexterity of a four-fingered newt apply eye-liner or mascara,). She then proceeded to tie my hair into a dozen pony’s sticking every which way.
‘You MUST leave it all on!’ she demanded in her high, squeaky voice, eyes shining brightly with love.
‘Sure,’ I replied. Anything for peace.
Later on, when the Electrician arrived, I wondered at the guy’s odd stare. I must be particularly beautiful today, I thought happily to myself. See? I told myself, you can’t be that bad after five babies/five caesareans! Well, they say bad things happen to people who are greedy, so my giving in to the make-up deal for a bit of shush in return must have been greedy, because when I casually glanced into the bathroom mirror after the Electrician had finally scarpered, I gasped in dawning horror, realising just what it was that the tradesman had been ogling. For staring back at me was a woman with shimmering eye-shadowed blue lips, luscious Cherry Kiss eye-lids, Passionate Purple & Cheeky Rose spotted cheeks, and the dozen or so ponytails scattered hither and thither just set the whole effect off nicely. I peered around the curtains every now and then just to ensure Mr. Sparky hadn’t called child welfare.
It took twice more before I got smart.
Now, we only play Make-Up Mummy at night, when Daddy’s abroad and won’t discover the Rose-Marie Super-Blush powder on his side of the bed…