I’m going to say it’s a good thing that I don’t know how to put lipstick on a 7-year-old.
Of all the sports in all the world, my youngest daughter chose the one that requires lipstick as basic equipment. As I mentioned in my last post, Neve has taken a dive into the world of synchronized swimming this summer. As it turns out she actually jumps in feet first, but either way we’re in deep.
Synchro, which you may have caught on the summer Olympics, requires swimmers to rely on each other to perform elaborate gymnastic moves and lifts in the water—without ever touching the bottom.
It’s been a great choice for a girl establishing her independence from her older sister. In return for a drive across town every morning I have a daughter who is strong, skilled, confident and surrounded by a new group of friends. This tangential discipline of the aquatic world was all pros for us—until water show night.
Coach Hayley asked the “Novice Moms” to be at the pool more than an hour before the performance for prepping. No, the moms weren’t the ones being prepped, but we were definitely the novices in the whole process.
The focus of the time right before a synchronized swimming event is not stretching, drylanding (going through the routines on the pool deck) or any other deeply physical endeavor. No, the work to be done before a synchro swimmer dives or jumps in is all about the surface.
To aid the continuity among swimmers, they all strive to appear as similar as possible. I was a little worried that the costumes would be, shall we say, too risqué for the younger set (we could also say too “Prostitot”, but that wouldn’t be nearly as polite). As it turns out the suits are basic one pieces decked out with a little bling. Whew.
My daughter was more worried about the hair process than I was—and with good reason. In order to achieve the perfect, bulletproof bun you see atop all synchronized swimmers, they must have their hair “Knoxxed.” The process involves dragging a comb coated with unflavored gelation (Knox) through the hair until nothing moves. This was a learning process for me as the last experience I had with Knox Gelatin was making Jell-O shots before college football games.
Once all loose hairs are securely shellacked to the swimmers head, the resulting pony tail is turned into a bun with rubber bands, a bun form, a hair net and “at least 40” bobby pins. Then comes the actually headpiece and even more bobby pins.
My daughter endured the hair torture to get to the real prize, the make-up table. Here swimmers apply coordinating eye shadow, lipstick etcetera to complete their synchronized look. I was OK putting a little mascara on the thick lashes above Neve’s baby blues, but when it came to the lipstick I choked. Not only was I not good at getting the deep red stuff on, I didn’t want to in the first place. Images of young beauty queens filled my head and I found myself wondering if I had become a kind of Mom I didn’t want to be.
I had put lipstick on my older daughter for theater performances, but that was to change her into a character. I felt like the only thing make-up was doing in this situation was changing my baby into a woman. She loved wearing light make-up and maybe it gave her performance a little boost, but the jury is still out with this Mom.
For now I’ve stored the lipstick high in the medicine cabinet with all the other things that might be dangerous for my girls to get ahold of.