Pre-Teen Drama

This is a re-post of one of my favorites.  My daughter is now 13 and is still not allowed to wear makeup other than a little sheer lip gloss.  Hasn’t stopped her from trying, though.

I discovered my daughter’s MAC makeup purchase completely by accident, the way moms have been busting their children for generations.  In this case, it’s because at eleven, my daughter hasn’t learned the necessary skill of covering one’s tracks.  She dropped the receipt from her MAC store purchase on the floor of my bathroom. I almost threw away the receipt without looking at it, assuming it had fallen out of a bag I was now using as a trash liner. But something — call it mom’s intuition — made me look at it before I tossed it.

“A., Cammie” had purchased an eyelash curler (?) and black liquid eyeliner, for a grand total of $36.  I squinted at the receipt.  This had to be wrong.  Maybe our babysitter had told Cami to use her name, since our babysitter’s English is not very good.  But I knew that couldn’t be the case, because the babysitter was very good about keeping track of receipts.  Whenever I left money for her to buy milk or cat food or fruit or whatever, she always left the receipt, the exact change, and any necessary explanatory notes, in her neat handwriting but sometimes incomprehensible Spanglish.

I decided to save the receipt, and the mystery was cleared up a little while later when my babysitter arrived.  She had a MAC bag with her.  I handed her the receipt.  “Is this yours?”

“No, that’s Cami’s.  She went yesterday.  She told me she had money.”

I looked at her.  Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but I can’t see why a babysitter would think it’s OK for an 11-year-old child to go drop $40 on cosmetics.  “No. Even if she had money, she is not allowed to wear makeup.  Nor is she allowed to go to the store to buy makeup.  Not even with her own money.”

“I sorry.”

I rolled my eyes.  “I’ll talk to her about it,” I said.  I knew Cami was more than capable of rolling over the babysitter, so there was no point in making a bigger issue of it.  I’ve known for a long time that if I wanted a more forceful caregiver, I’d have to hire someone else.  This woman is willing to work part-time for what I am willing to pay her, and despite the fact that she isn’t very authoritative, she is trustworthy.  You learn to pick your battles.

When Cami came home from school, I had the receipt in my hand and was loaded for bear.  I met her at the door. She knew something was wrong.  I scrutinized her face for signs of makeup, and didn’t see any.  “Go into my room,” I said.  “We have to talk.”

Once behind my closed bedroom door, I thrust the receipt at her.  “What is this?”

“I — uh — yeah.”

“What made you think it was okay to go drop $40 on makeup at the MAC store?”

“I — uh — you won’t let me put on yours, so I — wanted to get some, so I can put it on and see what I look like with it on. At night. I don’t wear it to school.”

“You had to spend $40 for makeup to play in?”

She looked at me blankly.  “Where else would I go?”

“Not that I’m telling you this would have been OK, but you do know they sell makeup at CVS?”

She looked at me like I had grown a second head.  There was no room in her brain for the concept of drugstore brands.  I work for Estee Lauder, and I understand that her whole exposure to cosmetics centers on our brands, but you have to pass the Revlon at CVS to get to the chips and the Gatorade.  Did she never see it?  I guess it never registered.

Later, I would remind myself that this was the same kid who requested (and got) lobster and cheesecake for her ninth birthday dinner, and who seriously wanted an iPhone.  Her tastes have always been irrationally expensive. But I couldn’t get over the idea of her spending $40 for makeup to play with.

“Go get it,” I said. “Because it’s going back.”

There was no protest.  “Yes, Mommy.”

She came down with her purchases and started walking towards the door. I stopped her.  “Oh, I’m going with you,” I told her.  Her shoulders slumped.  The babysitter looked a little scared as we passed her.

I continued my rant on the street.  “Why would you go buy MAC, when I work for the damn company?  When you know I get this stuff free, or discounted?  And if you had $40 to drop on makeup at MAC, why were you so angry at me this past weekend because I didn’t spend MY money on a gift for YOUR friend’s birthday party?”  And on like that, until we got to the store.

I walked up to the counter and put on my best condescending smile.  “Hi! My eleven-year-old daughter, who does not need to be buying anything at the MAC store, would like to return this.”  Cami laid the goods on the counter sadly, head down.

“Uh, sure,” the woman behind the counter said.  The young man next to her looked up.  “Oh, I helped her yesterday!”

“Yeah?  Well, she’s eleven.  And she’s not allowed to wear or purchase makeup.  For future reference.”

“No problem,” they both said in unison.  They accepted the return and gave Cami her money back.  It was over, but I wasn’t done ranting.

“I’m still trying to figure out why you would buy MAC.”

“I bought it for us!”

It was a good thing we were crossing busy Adam Clayton Powell Avenue at the time, because it took every ounce of restraint I had not to smack her upside her head, or curse at her, or both.  “When was the last time you ever saw me use an eyelash curler?”

“Uh — not ever.”

“And I have more makeup at home than I could ever hope to use, right now!  So how was this ‘for us’?”

“I wanted to — I thought we could — I”

“Oh, stop it. You’re not making sense.  You didn’t buy that for us, you bought it for you.  And you can’t clean it up by claiming you bought it for me, too, because you already know more makeup is the last thing I need.  So just stop.”

I grumbled a bit more, driving the point home with a sledgehammer — no way, no how, no MAC.  Or drugstore brands, for that matter.  By now, she had learned that the only appropriate answer was “Yes, Mommy,” so I got a few more of those.  I had left off all my steam by the time we got back into the house.  She ran upstairs, and I went into my room and made some loud noises.  I stepped out and looked at the babysitter.

“Don’t let that happen again.”

She nodded, and the drama was over.  For now, at least.


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9 Responses to “Pre-Teen Drama”

  1. Luccccccccccccay Says:

    Holy, lady. Give your daughter a life. She didn’t want to buy at the drug store because it’s a cheap brand; and kids actually have a social life. Be fair to her and understand she has needs and wants at this age. I mean, it’s only four years until she’s in high school.

  2. Kccccc.c.c.c Says:

    That was not a good idea. Not only did you embarass her but she is probably extremly mad at you. And she can hold that against you for a long time. Its just make-up you know? And yes the cheaper stuff might be a ‘better buy’ but it might also work like crap. At least when she buys MAC you know that its a respectable brand, you would know that better then other people because you work around that brand. And take a chill pill. I almost feel sorry for your daughter. Not saying that looks are everything but really, what if all her friends are wearing it? How is your social life going to be? Ive been through this, and you’ve been through this. Maybe you should try and rember what it was like being a kid at her age before you go on a tyrannt…..

    • carolynedgar Says:

      My daughter is completely over this minor incident. She understands why I don’t allow her to wear makeup at her age, and she has accepted it. Thank you for your comment.

  3. tori Says:

    i think u guys r being to harsh on Carolyn! u guys take a chill pill!!!

  4. Makeup Videos Says:

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  5. PE Says:

    I have a scary foreboding that I will have this same conversation with my child (or worse) in 7 years. The real issue here is the lying. I think we socialize girls to want make up from a very young age. She needs to realize that lying to you will never be ok. Once again I plan on dropping my child off to you for the hard conversations (and MAC visits). Let me know when you’ll be purging your excess makeup :-). I always accept donations to my makeup cause!

    Nice job yet again CE!

  6. Saida M Latigue Says:

    Aw, yes…makeup. I remember when my daughter was 7, she went with her brother to spend a Sunday with her Dad; when she came home, I thought she looked VERY bright eyed; turns out she had on light grey shadow on her lids, mascara and a clear lipgloss. ( she had confiscated it from my bathroom & just “borrowed” it ) I called her Dad & asked him didn’t he notice she looked “different” – – his response was she’s “just his pretty girl”. UGH….

    Needless to say, I think all girls do some variation of this behavior, but she shouldn’t have LIED about why she got it….you did the right thing. Go Mom!

  7. [fung'ke][blak][chik] Says:

    i wish my aunt would do the same thing you did…i have 12 yr old cousin walking around with eyeliner & mascara

  8. Dawn Says:

    So funny. I was always such a tom boy my mom WISHES she would have caught me trying to sneak makeup purchases past her. Instead it was hockey skates and there isnt even a rink anywhere near my house AND I don’t know how to ice skate! Talk about grounded for stupidity!

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