A loving mom has used some unlikely weapons to tamp down a bully at her 7-year-old daughter’s school: face paint, feathers, wigs, and smiles.
“She was scared. She was threatened. I didn’t know what to do,” Vanesa Rosa, of North Salt Lake, Utah, told KSL about watching her daughter, Danaly, go from happy to withdrawn because of another second-grade student who was bullying her. “As a parent, when you hear something happened to your child, you just get into parent mode … I prayed over and over, and I was like, ‘OK, if that’s what keeps coming to mind, then that’s what I’m going to do.’”
The mom’s creative and unlikely answer? To paint her face and wear a costume — every day, 158 in all, for the entire rest of the school year — in order to bring Danaly some joy when she picked her up at the end of each afternoon.
“I did it because I wanted to see her smile back. I just wanted her to be her again,” Vanesa said, adding that, at first, she stuck to “random hats” and “big glasses.” But her characters got way more elaborate from there — and included the Incredible Hulk, E.T., an Angry Bird, the Mad Hatter, Maleficent, Cruella Deville, and even Mickey Mouse.
Sometimes, she explained, it took two to three hours to get completely made up. But Danaly’s joyous responses — not to mention the excitement and encouragement from other students and parents — spurred Vanesa on.
“Others would tell me, ‘I love what you’re doing, don’t stop’,” she said, adding that while she worried at first the other kids might tease Danaly because her mom’s ruses, they actually grew to admire and adore her because of it — former bully included.
“A bunch of kids would randomly come up to me and say, ‘I love what you do every day. What is it tomorrow?’” she said. “And when everybody would ask, I would tell them, ‘I can’t tell you. It’s a secret.’”
For the final day of the costume marathon, on Wednesday, Vanesa showed up dressed as the Little Mermaid’s Ariel, with a friend in tow dressed as Elsa. “Her reaction was the best,” Vanesa, also mom to a toddler daughter, shared on Instagram, where she has been documenting every character this year. “I tried to hold back the waterworks, but… They made her day and helped finish out my project perfectly. Both my girls were extremely excited. Every day was worth it for all those smiles and giggles.”
She has received loads of Instagram kudos for her efforts, naturally, with one supporter noting, on the final post, “You are amazing! Your daughter will never be able to explain in words how much she appreciates this and how grateful she is to have you.”
Vanesa, meanwhile, said she would do it again, “in a heartbeat,” and that now, with the start of the summer, “I will miss it.”