Making faces


Morning. Eldest child is rifling through my make-up drawer.

“What’s this, Mummy?”

“It’s an eyebrow pencil.”


He puts down the pencil, closes the drawer.


Afternoon. Eldest child is drawing a picture of his brother.

“Mummy, can I have the special pencil?”

“Which one?”

“The one we use for drawing eyebrows.”

I give him my redundant eyebrow pencil. I’ve moved on to wax and powder these days. He sketches messy, over-defined brows, just like Mummy does.

“Now can I have the special pencil we use for noses?”

“We don’t have nose pencils.”

“Don’t we?”

“No, we don’t.”


I don’t want to disappoint him, though.

“I could give you a special pencil for the edge of the lips, perhaps to also fill them if you want a base for lipstick. I’ve also got a pencil for around the eyes. Be careful, though, you mustn’t leave a gap between the line you draw and the start of the lashes. I think that’s all the pencils I have. But I have a lot of brushes.”

He is quiet. Pushes hard at the eyebrow pencil nub, stubs it in on itself.

“No, it’s okay, Mummy. I’ll just use the normal crayons.”

Sometimes I think, so will I.