My youngest daughter has Down syndrome. She also happens to have a great love for fashion which includes: clothes, hair and makeup. She’s the girl who watches makeup and hair tutorials on youtube, then proceeds to try it on her own. Even at 5:00 am one morning, when the rest of us were sleeping and she could only find washable markers.
In June she got a purple highlight on her hair, and I have retouched it once already. It is not unusual for her to say, “Mom, I want curly hair.” Occasionally she will ask for a bun or a ponytail. While she loves to do her own makeup and does it almost daily, she also likes it when I do it for her. Which by the record, happens a few times a week.
My daughter is also a creature of habit and routine. Currently her routine includes her makeup — so I can only imagine what she will be like as a teenager — but her routine includes much more than that.
For example, every morning she lays on the couch to watch a show before breakfast, and she has one specific side of the couch where she sits/lays. If you sit on it, she let’s you know, “That’s my spot.” For breakfast she eats two eggs with guacamole salsa on top and a piece of gluten-free toast. Every. Single. Morning. Her day consists of routines, she knows what to expect, she knows how things work.
Our family recently moved to a different state, so not only was her beauty routine disrupted, more important, her everyday routine was, too. As someone who needs routine and structure, packing up a house and having to wait three weeks before moving into a new home and having to go from place to place until we could get settled was incredibly challenging. She was struggling and asking us ever night to “go home.” It broke our hearts.
She is also a child who does not enjoy fireworks or crowds, so on the 4th of July, instead we took her to the Mall, which I must point out was almost deserted.
The agenda was to find a toy. A Barbie. Because nobody loves Barbies as much as she does and she dreams of someday having her very own “Barbie Dream House.”
As we walked through the makeup department at one of the department stores I noticed a woman having her makeup done.
“Rascal, do you see that lady getting her makeup done?” I pointed.
“Would you like to have your makeup done?”
I asked one of the ladies if they did makeup for little girls. She said they would be happy to do so. Because the store was pretty empty, there were several women available. We were finally directed to a young beautician who was happy to help my daughter.
She walked her through the process, “I am going to put some primer on you to make your makeup look nice and so it lasts longer.” “I am going to use this brush and put some foundation all over your face.” She also asked my daughter what color she wanted for her eyes, cheeks and lips.
I cannot describe the happiness in my daughter as she sat in the fancy stool getting her makeup done.
The women working at the store smiled watching her joy. One of them went around the different booths and gathered some of the different “free gifts” you get when you spend a certain amount in cosmetics. She presented it to her in a fancy makeup bag and it included: mascara, eye shadow, blush, moisturizer and lip gloss.
One lady even brought her cookies and I did not have the heart to tell her she cannot eat gluten (my husband ate them later).
Once the makeover was done, my daughter felt like a true princess and she asked for a new outfit and a tiara. I thought her idea made perfect sense.
The young lady doing my daughter’s makeup treated her like she would any other little girl. And it was refreshing! So often people patronize my daughter or treat her different. The beautician asked her questions and talked to her with no preconceived ideas.My daughter is shy and knows her speech is hard to understand, so she gave only one word answers to all the questions, “Yes.” “No.” “Purple.” “Pink.” “OK.” To me it’s pretty obvious my daughter has Down syndrome, but it is possible it’s not as obvious to everyone else.
And here is the thing, it shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter if my daughter has Down syndrome or not. She should always be treated with dignity and respect. She is a little girl who deserves the same humanity as any other child without a disability.
I wish all her life-experiences were like this one.
P.S. She’s been using her new makeup kit since then, she’s incredibly good at applying mascara.
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