It was a dizzying Merced High School prom week for Courtnie Frade: Hair extensions at 3 p.m. Wednesday. A facial at 1:15 the next day, followed by a 4 p.m. spray-on tan. Manicure on Friday at 4:30 p.m. Up-do on Saturday at 11 a.m.
All the pomp leads up to this night's circumstance -- these moments before Courtnie slips on that perfect sparkling dress. Sitting on a computer chair in her parents' master bathroom, Courtnie starts uncontrollably giggling as her mother applies the silver eye shadow that exactly matches the design on her dress.
Her dog, Hula, playfully jumps at Courtnie's knees. "Her little baby," her mother, Jodie, explains. Courtnie got Hula as a gift last summer at a luau-themed birthday party. More than 150 people showed up. "Courtnie has never met a stranger," her mom says.
Brian, her dad, squints through a crack in the door and whistles. "Hey there, pretty lady!" And then, when Courtnie holds up a chic golden wristlet purse: "You've got a new everything, dontcha?"
The night boasted all the trappings of any other prom night in any other town in America -- except for one difference.
"When she was born," I never thought we'd be doing this," says her mom, Jodie, as she picked through a makeup case.
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