Make Up

posted Monday April 14th, 2014

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Sophie spent the weekend disappointed. It began Friday afternoon, when I wouldn’t let her participate in Annabelle’s ballet class. I tried to make it up to her — literally. In the cosmetics section of Walgreens.

“I need dark eyeliner,” she told a helpful clerk. “I’m doing a dramatic dance.”

The clerk looked at me. I shrugged. “Let’s stick to Wet and Wild,” she said to Sophie, then stage-whispered to me, “It’s the cheapest.”

We left with a bag full of everything but mascara — I figured I was erring on the side of caution. While Annabelle finished class, Sophie occupied herself with filling a new cosmetic case with her treasures: the eyeliner, blush, pressed powder, hair ties, a brush and a really dark lipstick.

The next morning, both girls had dance class; Annabelle helped Sophie get ready, which included switching her leotard from back to front (thus avoiding an awkward Elaine Christmas card moment, a la Seinfeld) and carefully applying small amounts of makeup.

Sophie was thrilled. The joy was short lived.

That afternoon, Annabelle had rehearsal for a show. “I’m going, too!” Sophie announced as we neared the stage door. “I’m doing a dramatic dance! I’m dancing on the stage!”

Up to then I had thought the dramatic dance was a kitchen floor sort of thing, maybe the living room. But no, Sophie figured that if Annabelle could perform onstage so could she — and no reasonable explanations, or reminders of how often she does get to perform or even chocolate ice cream could dissuade her. She sobbed. Luckily, the rehearsal didn’t last long.

She was still out of sorts Sunday morning, as we all got ready to go to the show, but she quieted down in the car. A lot. I didn’t notice, because I was on the phone, on hold with Red Robin as I desperately waited to hear whether they’d located the debit card I was sure I’d left there the previous night. “I have a huge stack,” the manager said. “Hold on.” (A huge stack? Who doesn’t come back for a debit card?)

“Hey mom, have you looked at Sophie’s makeup?” Annabelle asked, extra-sweetly, from the passenger seat.

“No, I can’t turn around and look right now, I’m trying to drive!” I said. Several times. Sophie was still quiet. Finally the Red Robin manager came back on the line; yes, they had it, yes I could pick it up later. We dropped Annabelle at the stage door and pulled into the parking garage of the theater.

“OK! Now I’m dying to see your — oh, boy. Wow!”

No words. Sophie had large amounts of Wet and Wild’s Black Orchid smeared all over her lips. And mouth. Up her cheek, on her hands, all over her pale green shirt. She was grinning.

Wasn’t there a scene like that in one of Judy Blume’s books with Fudge? But wasn’t Fudge a toddler?

I smiled. “You look beautiful!” I said. “We might need to wipe a tiny bit of that off in the bathroom, okay?”

“Okay!” Sophie said, grabbing her purse — a miniature shoulder bag my mother in law would have called a “pock-a-book”) from the backseat. The purse was suspiciously full.

“Um, can we leave some of the stuff in your purse in the car?”

“NO!”

One battle at a time.

“You know,” I said as we walked to pick up our tickets, “here’s the thing about performing. Sometimes you are the person on stage, but sometimes you are the performer, because otherwise there’d be no one to wa –”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Sophie said curtly.

I don’t think she was very pleased when she saw herself in the mirror, or when another mom asked if she’d just eaten a purple popsicle, but she wiped herself down (refusing my help) and we went to the show. Once we were seated, I caught a peek at the inside of her purse. I wasn’t taking notes, but I am pretty sure I saw: two Eos lip glosses, three small bottles of scented body lotion, a bottle of shower gel, a stick of deodorant, several paintbrushes (Sophie collects them) and the aforementioned lipstick, which I swiped and put in my own purse.

Sophie held the purse on her lap and as the lights went down I saw her offer some scented lotion to the woman next to her. That was okay. It wasn’t a super fancy production, a black box on a Sunday afternoon with lots of family members in the audience. But when I peered through the darkness and noticed Sophie reaching under her tee shirt, I had to work hard not to laugh out loud — and in horror.

“Are you, um, are you putting on deodorant in the theater?” I hissed.

“I don’t want to smell!” Sophie whispered back, switching pits.

I confiscated the purse. The show ended, we got Annabelle and headed home, with me resolving to figure out a different solution for this kind of situation.

I figured Sophie’s bad mood would lift — and it did. But not the make up. This morning Sophie emerged from the bathroom dressed (good) and covered in blush (bad). It took both Annabelle and me to convince her that dark stripes of hot pink are not the in look. After a thorough wipe-down and 20 minutes in the bathroom by herself fixing her hair (resulting in three pigtails — so much for showing off the cute new haircut) Sophie was off to school, without any of her makeup.

I think.

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome by Amysilverman

4 Responses to “Make Up”

  1. what about a trip to Sephora for a beauty lesson with the promise that you will purchase ONE (because good heavens there whole store is full of the most over priced cosmetics known to man) item….?or even the Clinque counter at Dillards? She gets a lesson in proper application which *may* help her avoid the streaks and dark lipstick and yet still allow her to feel like she is old enough for make-up.

  2. If she tries again, I am pretty sure you will find no make up as part of the dress code in the school handbook.

  3. Oh dear! The image of Sophie applying deodorant in a darkened theater is laugh-out-loud-funny!!! I love this story!

  4. That is so funny, Heather, we discussed just that yesterday. :)

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Amy Silverman
Amy Silverman has two beautiful daughters, Annabelle and Sophie. Sophie has Down syndrome. These days, Amy divides the world into two groups: the people who adore Sophie, and those who don’t look twice. Amy has to remind herself that once upon a time -- when it came to people who are "different" -- she fell in the latter category. And therein lies the blog... Read more
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