Yesterday afternoon, Maya and I ended up having a long discussion about a lot of things -a pretty much "soup-to-nuts" kind of chat, as much as one can do that with a young girl who is 9 but thinks she's going on 18, at the least.
Not all the time, but some of the time, she seems to operate that way and yesterday was one of those days.
It started when she came home from school and she came out into the kitchen and just stood, quietly by the end of the kitchen island, with this little smile on her face. No words, just this smile.
I was in the process of trying to keep Kurtis on track to do his homework and to pay attention to what he needed to do, not just what he wanted to do so my mind was a tad distracted at first.
Then, I did a bit of a double-take as I noticed something different on Maya.
Hmmmm. She had lipstick on!
Not a really thick coating, but a thin, light coloring and having just come in from school, I was wondering then when and where she had applied this to her mouth.
So I asked her, "Where'd the lipstick come from, Maya?"
Got her standard answer to that - "I don't know."
What do you mean you don't know? If you don't know, who would? Did the lipstick fairy just casually flit down in school or on the bus and put that on your lips? Again, her response was "I don't know."
And she wonders how I know when she's lying to me!
We went round and round about this with my questions and her consistent response that she didn't know how this had happened.
I told her to go wash her face and especially her mouth, to get rid of that lipstick. An order that she didn't like at all and the tears began -the prelude to a potential meltdown Defiant, oh yes, (she is that, for sure) and procrastinating about cleaning that off, arguing with me the whole while.
Finally, she did wash her face and did a pretty decent job of removing all traces of the color from her lips and I called to her to come out in the kitchen. I told her I wanted her to sit on one of the bar stools there and that I wanted to talk to her.
The immediate reaction she had to that was that I was going to punish her and I quietly told her no, I just want to talk to you about some things while I am fixing supper. And I started off by reminding her of something that she knows full-well neither her mother or I like it when she lies to us and we would both appreciate it if she would be honest, to tell the truth.
"But then, I'll get in trouble, won't I?" she asked. I told her not near as much trouble as you'll end up in if you continue to lie!
I proceeded again then to ask her about the lipstick -where did she get it and when had she applied it. She then informed me that she had removed a tube of it from my shelf in the medicine cabinet and had put it on. (I still don't know exactly when she had done that part.)
So I asked her why she did that and her answer to that was "Because I wanted to look pretty." And as she said that, I could see the tears welling up in her eyes.
Taking her sweet little face into my hands, I looked into her eyes and (near tears myself then) I told her she didn't need anything at all to make herself look pretty as she was beautiful just the way she is!
Her expression changed then as she looked at me, a bit astonished and said "Am I really, Gram?"
Oh yes, baby, you most certainly are as you are the prettiest little girl ever! And I went on to explain to her that girls her age who mess around with make up and lipstick and such, don't make themselves look prettier because it is not appropriate for their age to do that. And even girls in their teens who pile on gobs of makeup don't really make themselves look prettier by doing that. If anything, it makes them look more on the lines of being ugly and not fresh and clean.
I added if she wanted to put something on her lips that she should just take a little chapstick or a clear lip gloss and put that on as it would protect her lips from getting all chapped and would give them a little bit of a glisten that is much prettier than using lipstick.
This morning, Mandy had a go-round with her too -not about lipstick -but about wearing flip-flops to school and Maya's reasoning there was because all the other girls were doing that and she just wanted to be like the rest of the girls!
And Mandy told her then pretty much the same as what I was trying to get across to her -to dress appropriately, and to not become just another face in the crowd, all the kids trying to look the same type thing, but to be an individual.
Don't know how well or how much of our lesson to her was actually absorbed but hopefully, a little of it may have registered.
And so it begins -she is still a couple years away from the beginning of the dreaded teenage years and already that need -the peer compatibility thing -is kicking in!
We don't refer to her as the "little diva" for nothing, ya know!