Every parent knows the day is coming where ‘the‘ question will be asked. Many sleepless nights are wasted as each parent ponders how they will respond when the life-changing question is asked, “Mom, can I get my face painted?”
Three weekends ago, I encountered the question at a Family fun fest. Initially, I tried to discourage both boys from the 100 kid line. But, something about the allure of messy paint all over their face was too captivating to disregard, so I did what every mom would do. I gave 30 minutes of my life to ensure that both boys would need baths. And so we waited.
- 10 kids ahead of us: The little girl gets painted as an elaborate princess with tacky caked-on, hideous pink eye shadow, swirls, and glitter sprinkles. My kids stare, mouths agape at everyone and everything.
- 9 kids ahead of us: A butterfly.
- 8 kids ahead of us: Spiderman.
- 7 kids ahead of us: Another butterfly. My kids are still staring.
- 6 kids ahead of us: A pirate pilot. Though, the face painter claims to have many options in her repertoire, I only ever see 6 options. The face painter had a thick foreign accent and my friend and I got excited when she told us her specialty was a ‘pilot.’ Finally, something new! We made a big deal about how her son was to be a pilot, only to watch the artist draw a beard and eye patch. We quickly realized that the ‘ole pilot was actually a pirate, thanks to our accent misunderstanding. Oops.
- 5 kids ahead of us: Another Spiderman. At this time in line, we’ve been waiting forever plus 30 minutes, Pierson, a face-paintee newbie, looked at me with a worried face. “Mom, after I get my face painted, will my mouth open?” I reassure him he’ll still be able to talk. But, maybe he’s onto a new invention, though? Face paint that gives mothers peace and quiet? How could that be a bad thing? I jest.
- 4 kids ahead of us: Some poor 18-month old is wrestled into the chair for a lady bug. She has zero interest in being attacked by a paint brush, but clearly her grandmother thinks it’ll be cute. Apparently, the grandma’s not the one that has to give baths.
- 3 kids ahead of us: Spider. Thatcher pulls my shirt, “Mom! Mom! Can I get another pine cone?” I look around for an evergreen tree. “What ?” “A PINE CONE! May I please have another pine cone?” After using my detective skills, a little bit of sign language, and my superb interpretation skills (which I’m apparently not so good at-see #6), I FINALLY realized Thatcher wants a snow cone.
- 2 kids ahead of us: The boy right in front of us asked to be a tiger. Apparently the makeup artist is great at drawing tigers, but they take too long. Little boy creatively chooses Spiderman. The boy’s face complete, he proudly touts his new look. He examines his reflection in the window, turns around, and does what every good Spiderman would. He makes Spiderman’s famous hand signs to spin webs. Thatcher turns to me excitedly and informs me, “Mom! He’s doing the I LOVE YOU sign!” Anyone have a recipe to bottle up innocence?
- 1 kid ahead of us: Random princess (see #10) returns to tell me she doesn’t have enough glitter and asks if she could cut back in line to get some more makeup because it wasn’t enough. I enlist the help of nearby weary-from-waiting parents to convince the stubborn entitled princess that she has plenty and looks very pink and glittery.
It’s finally our turn. My boy gets several reprimands from the face painter because he’s too intent on closing his eyes. But after a quick smattering of color over both faces, both boys have now been transformed into very real super heroes. Not surprisingly, they both choose Spiderman. The incredibly long wait and the hassle of the ole’ face painting line is quickly overshadowed by the huge smile on the face of my sons as they now had been transformed to superhero status. And my heart is happy that something so simple brightened their little worlds. Now, I just have to make sure I can identify and take home the right kids in the sea of all the Spidermen!