Saturday was very hot and with our crazy schedule of work, sports, and other commitments, it was the first day this spring that we were able to finally plant flowers and mulch our beds. Our children “helped” my husband and me. The mulch we got was dyed black – this is important because my daughter stood barefoot in it shoveling and dyed her feet. She went upstairs to take a bath. After awhile, (she was out of the tub), we still hadn’t heard or seen her. I went back inside and called her name.
“Evie? Where are you?”
“Don’t come upstairs.”
“Don’t come upstairs I said!” Then a quiet afterthought: “I don’t want to get in trouble.” That was an invitation to run and find out what on earth she was up to. I suspected makeup because we’ve had similar situations with mascara and lipstick with her and quiet spans of time. I found her in the bathroom with a giant wad of wet toilet paper and a pitcher of water on the bathroom counter. Her face was buried in a hand towel hanging on its rack.
“What happened, Evie?”
“I don’t want to tell you,” she said muffled and into the towel. The back and forth went on for a little while. Finally, she said, “Sharpie,” removed her face from the towel and looked at me before I had time to process what she said and prepare an appropriate mom response. She had black sharpie marker triangles above her eyebrows and what maybe were whiskers. To say I was hit by inappropriate laughter would be an understatement. I kept a straight face, though it was trying to contort, and quickly said I’d be right back. Then I went and laughed as hard as I have in a long time. Tears rolled down my cheeks. I couldn’t even get the words out in a complete sentence to my husband. This child of mine thinks of ideas I never even imagined as a kid. I collected myself and went back in to help.
As I was trying to entice Evie to remove the towel she was now walking around with over her face, I assured her I would help her. She informed me that a) she did not want to go to school looking like this and would be wearing the towel to school until it wore off (note it was only Saturday afternoon), quickly followed by b) this was actually MY fault because she had asked me for face paint for Christmas but I hadn’t given her any and so today she had to try Sharpie instead (note this was the middle of May). I’m not quite sure how she thinks so quickly.
My husband, who was reacting to the situation more maturely than me set to work Googling how to remove Sharpie from skin and texted me his findings. We tried coconut oil and it worked! I think we all breathed a sigh of relief for different reasons.
Thinking this was a teachable moment about mistakes and unconditional love, I brought it up again at bedtime and explained she can always come to me with any problem and I will help her problem solve. Her main thoughts were that she was feeling hot and sweaty when it happened mostly because she explained she is always hot, and that she really would like face paint. Maybe this wasn’t the deep conversation I was trying for, but I think she knows she’s loved. And I promised not to tell her brother.