Lila’s hair was increasingly becoming a problem. After taking the necessary steps to wash and comb it through, it came out looking something like this:
And this ^… this lie… this one day a week beachy wave hyperbole is what kept me hanging on for so long. Because the other six days out of the week it looked like this:
She is a back sleeper, and also part wolverine.
See that part in the back, that part that looks like her skull is giving birth to a hairy demon? That is a wad of tangled up little girl hair. A tangle so massive no brush could touch it. A tangle so massive that I was scared something was going to jump out and bite my fingers as I quickly stuffed it into a ponytail each morning. Which, by the way, was so wild it usually broke through the rubber band by 10am, unleashing the beast and reflecting upon my parenting skills. Every day the tangle would get exponentially worse until it grew so big I was fearful for the other children.
Insane amounts of conditioner, silk pillow cases, exorcists… nothing worked. Finally it became one of those “when you’re old enough to tolerate it by yourself you can do what you want” things, like real earrings and going to a Taylor Swift concert.
I’d had enough. It is a job getting three girls ready for school each morning and I’ll be damned if I send one into the world looking feral.
And just for the record, I did everything right.
8:04am – I asked her if she wanted to get a hair cut
8:05am – She responded affirmatively
8:07am – I showed her a picture of the adorable bob she had two years ago and asked her if she wanted to get it like that again
Immediately after – Again, only affirmative responses out of her. (Despite later claims I showed her the picture and told her that her hair would NOT look like this, because, you know, that sounds like something a mother would do).
I stood there and carefully eyed her, sitting in the race car chair as the stylist made snip after snip, shorter and shorter. A few minutes in, everything was fine and I finally released the breath I had been holding. She continued to watch the cartoon playing in front of her, happy. YOU HEAR ME? I DID EVERYTHING RIGHT.
“It is just precious!” I exclaimed as the stylist made her final snip. I suppose the sound of my voice snapped her attention from the cartoon and down to the 5-inch hunk of wet hair that had landed on her lap about 15 minutes before. She slowly picked it up and carefully studied it, confused. Her eyes then darted to the mirror, her face went white and for the first time I saw a glimpse of what I’ll just call “horrified sorrow”.
Without a word she hopped down from the race car chair, walked over to the corner and just stood there in silence, nearly catatonic, her mind frantically searching for her happy place of any time before this moment when she had long hair and life was perfect.
We climbed into the van and Hadley turned around and said, “Lila! You look like Rapunzel after Flynn cut her hair!”
“Yeah! A fun little Rapunzel!” I coaxed. “Rapunzel was MUCH happier without all that awful magical golden hair getting in her way all the time!”
This is when her silence was broken – with a series of guttural, primal sobs, pleading with me to put her hair back on. In case you’re wondering, he feeling of having your heart ripped out is just like hearing your daughter sob that nobody is going to like her.
We had a lot of talks over the weekend about what’s important is on the inside, me recounting stories of bad hair cuts I’ve had and how your real friends like you for you and will probably make fun of you but still like you (exhibit A – the Olgivy home perm that burned my scalp right off THANKS FOR NOTHING MOM)
and THE IMPORTANCE OF CLEARLY COMMUNICATING YOUR HAIR EXPECTATIONS.
Monday morning she refused to get out of bed because she was afraid her friends wouldn’t like it. And, frankly, I was scared of the same thing. Kids are… kids. They’re honest, for better or worse. I felt compelled to remind Lila of the time she told me I had a “big fat belly” and how that made me feel, but now wasn’t the time to rub salt in the wound. Now was the time to say whatever was going to make her get out of bed and go to school so I could watch Dr. Phil in peace for two hours.
I said fine, if she didn’t go to school then she could stay home and we would watch Dr. Phil together and talk about feelings. Twenty minutes later we pulled up to school.
According to her, the reactions were mixed, though in Lila’s world the only thing worse than her being wrong is me being right and I’m pretty sure everyone had nothing but nice things to say. And every five minutes or so she asks when it’s going to be long again, despite my constant affirmation of how great it looks and how much easier it is to brush through each morning.
I suppose this is just another one of those things added to the ever-growing list of “Things we’re going to have to work out in therapy later.”