Lipstick on a Two-year-old

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So here’s my cutie-pa-tutie…her eyes did survive her experiment with lipstick. I included the photo of her smiling just to prove this point (I also included all three pics when sending a text to my Honey at work – and it’s a good thing I did since the photo with lipstick all over her face looked like it could be blood on the small screen of his old school phone!).

Putting away breakfast dishes, I got surprised by Pen Elaine coming into the kitchen covered in red…it looked like nail polish to me, so I was first, worried about her eyes, and second, worried about my carpet. She took me into my bedroom, where she had found my makeup pouch, and she helped me determine that it was actually my long-lasting lipstick that she had been using to beautify herself. Since she had managed so much lipstick close to her eye, I pulled out my eye makeup remover pads and attempted to remove as much as possible. This had minimal effectiveness, so then I tried a soapy washcloth, and since it still looked like she was pink/reddish all over like she was stained for the next few days, I was very thankful for when I got real success using baby wipes for the last bit of tint. Getting cleaned off wasn’t fun for either of us, but we were both happy when we finished!

Since I wear lipstick about 4 times a year, and Pen Elaine sees me putting on makeup maybe once a week, at most, I’m putting some blame on Olivia forms a band (by Ian Falconer) in this little incident. In the book, Olivia puts on some of her mom’s lipstick before going to see the fireworks, even though her mom tells her to wipe that goop off her face before they actually get into the car. Whether or not she was copying Olivia or me, Pen Elaine was clearly trying to put on lipstick and showing me how she, like all 2-year-olds, is watching and modeling all sorts of things that she sees and hears. Albert Bandura came up with observational learning theory, or modeling (later called social cognitive theory), and made a mark in history with his “bobo doll experiment.” (That link is to a video that is very interesting and historically informative – very fun to watch!) Basically, kids pick up and imitate a LOT of what they see and are even more influenced by positive reinforcement of behaviors, especially when they admire the modeler or the one giving reinforcement.

The bottom line is that I need to thoughtfully consider what I am modeling for my daughter, from my values to my actions, and how I treat myself and others. Mark 9:42 says “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.” (NASB) Again, in Matthew 18:6, “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” This can seem overwhelming, but I know there is grace, and in 1 Peter 4:8 it says, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (ESV) I also love a quote by Jill Churchill from a Mary Engelbreit calendar that my mom recently sent me, “There is no one way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.”

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