Photos of 4-year-old Suri Cruise with her feet adorned with self-applied magic-marker tattoos are drawing more than a few mommy drive-byes from commenters who are taking Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes to task for being so lax with their little girl.
Relax, people. Kids are washable, remember? And what little kid hasn't scribbled on his or herself before?
Suri's artwork extends all the way up her legs (I think US Weekly calling it "henna like" is a bit of a stretch), so maybe they're supposed to be tights rather than tattoos. But what they really are is a sign that this little celebrity might just be a normal little kid when she's away from the paparazzi and gossip rags.
While on a family vacation about 10 years ago, my mother-in-law gave our then 5- and 3-year-old girls some washable markers to play with. The girls had a blast drawing on mustaches and beards, scribbling on their chests and armpits, and finally parading around the room singing, "We are men! We are meeeeennnnn!" We laughed and took pictures and had them pose with their baby brother, who grinned while holding markers in each hand. Then, we had to get ready to go somewhere, and so we grabbed baby wipes to clean up the girls.
"Washable"? Not so much. Sure, it might wash off things like walls or clothes, but off of children? Um...no. We put them in the bathtub and scrubbed repeatedly, but they still went to dinner with very noticeable traces of magic-marker mustache on their little faces. For the next few days, in fact. Sure, I was a bit embarrassed by the looks shot my way, but then again, the step parenting thing was still very, very new to me, so I might have been imagining the censure rather than actually seeing any. And in the end I was just glad that they had drawn on themselves and not on any hotel furniture.
What havoc has your child wrought with a magic marker? And what did you do about it?
Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @WriteEditRepeat.