Let them be whales
“And what do you want to be little girl?” asked the glitter-covered face painter.
“A donkey,” replied Liberty.
The woman pursed her lips, paint brush poised next to my daughter’s cheek.
“What about a fairy?” she smiled enthusiastically.
“What about a kangaroo?” asked Liberty.
Maybe a kangaroo was beyond the artist’s talents because she didn’t like that idea.
“What about a princess?” she asked.
“A pirate,” suggested Liberty.
The face painter was getting frustrated as the line-up of children grew behind us.
“Let’s do a butterfly,” she said and set to work with purple sparkles.
My strong-willed three-year-old admitted defeat. I think I may have even shot her one of those ‘just do what the lady says’ looks in an attempt to hurry the process along.
A few weeks later we bought our own face paint and I asked Liberty what she wanted to be.
“A whale,” she said.
No one gets their face painted as a whale, I thought. But rather than argue, I began to paint.
Ignoring her wish, I painted her face in red, orange and yellow flowers. She looked gorgeous and I was rather pleased with my artistic prowess.
“Go and look in the mirror,” I told her.
She returned clean-faced but wearing a frown.
“I wanted to be a whale,” she said sternly.
This time it was I who admitted defeat, but I was proud. Liberty had stood her ground, refusing to conform to what I stupidly thought a little girl ‘should’ be painted as.
Here’s to no more ‘shoulds’. Let them be whales… or donkeys… or kangaroos… or pirates.