One of the more challenging aspects of parenting for me came as a surprise: HAIR. As a former tomboy, styling hair was definitely NOT on my list of high priorities as a kid. I had no interest in styling either my own hair, or anyone else’s, for that matter. And if you look back at pictures from my early years in the rockin’ 80’s, that fact is sorely evident.
The only thing I can say is, maybe my fever affected the normally orderly bowl-shape of my hair that day. You know, my PAC-MAN FEVER. (See the shirt? Shudder.)
Awesome. Mint. Fresh. …Sike!
The point is clear that hair-styling has never been something I have excelled at. Even as an adult, I keep it low-maintenance.
It goes without saying that my own hair has taken a beating through the years, primarily due to infrequent general maintenance and the constant tugging of little fingers. Fair enough. I can skirt through life with sloppy ponytails, blaming it on my perpetually busy “stay at home mom” status.
But fate decided not to let me off the hook, so to speak. In the form of four daughters.
With girl hair. And bows. And fancy girly stuff.
I try, I really do. I’ve assembled legions of ponytail holders, bows, hair brushes, and the like. Regardless of materials, however, there is still an fundamental problem:
No matter how much combing and adjusting I’d do, the hair would still inevitably look something like this:
So I practiced. And tried to instruct my girls in better haircare regimens than my own. I tried to help. In the form of a brush. And it would look something like this:
Me:(brush in hand) “Your hair’s a mess. Let me brush it.”
Child: (backing away) “No WAY! Your brushing HURTS!”
Me: “Look, you’ve got knots. I’ll do it slowly…”
Child:(hand on head) “No, you WON’T. You said that last time, & it hurt. And I hate that brush.”
Me: “This is the only one I can find. Now, come here. Come HERE.”
I would proceed to brush. And the room would fill with sounds of sighing (mine) and wailing (usually, child’s. Sometimes mine, if the brush got stuck).
And the air was sprinkled with strands of jerked hair like a human confetti parade.
The brushing victim would retreat as quickly as possible to a safe corner of the house, massaging her sore scalp and muttering like a tiny Tourette’s tot.
That is, until #4 came along…. with CURLS. Huh?
Curls. I was cautious to approach. And as a result, the back of #4’s head would snarl quickly, resulting in a perpetual knot of hair in which birds and probably a few Barbie shoes would make a happy home.
I fretted. And resorted to brushing it in her sleep, tiptoeing toward her bed like a Vidal Sassoon ninja.
The moment that changed everything came in the form of casual conversation with a friend, who when discussing curl management casually mentioned that she often used detangler spray on her own daughter’s curls.
It was as if the heavens had opened up, and dropped a bottle of hair know-how on me.
In short, this product saved my life (ok, exaggeration. It saved my daughters’ hair though. No exaggeration.)
Instead of learning how to do their hair, I could cheat. I could spritz their hair with a generous coating of this slick, sweet-smelling potion and whisk a brush through with ease. Voila!
As a result, \my girls generally have unknotted, well brushed hair. Some have even been blessed with the girly gene, resulting in their own ambitious self-styling. Some have not. But I managed to avoid confronting my decades-old avoidance of hair styling, resorting to simple ponytails and an occasional clip. Until #1 asked me yesterday,
#5: “Can you please braid my hair? I want a French braid.”
Me: “Ummm… (backing away slowly) no.”
I showed her my childhood pictures. Her eyes popped.
#5: “That’s so sad. Never mind…. I”ll ask Grandma.”
And we were both very relieved.
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