The kids' reactions are unwavering: G wouldn't let a stranger paint his face, not ever. L loved the opportunity but washed it off as soon as we were home because as it dried it became itchy, and she is a girl who cannot be bothered. E begged to keep her face unwashed so that she might be sparkly for one more day and wear her butterfly face to school.
Tonight it was time to wipe the last of the illusion from her fair skin. She sat criss-cross-applesauce on the floor before the full-length mirror with a package of her brother's diaper wipes, gently swabbing her face. She wanted no help. I watched from the other end of the hall.
I crawled in my bed to read as they all completed their nighttime routines. Suddenly she was leaning over me, hints of butterfly looking like green eyeliner around her beautiful eyes. She asked for help opening the jar of vitamins. She popped two in her mouth and chewed, looking like an eyelined teenager smacking gum. I could see the girl she'll be, the almost grown one not too far down the future road.