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Friday, May 11, 2007

Hirsute pursuit

I spray her entire head with detangling matter and set about the task of turning a bird’s nest into a respectable head of hair.

This activity is far too close to the category of undoing knots, which is spouse’s department. Life is too short to undo knots. I refuse to undo "knots" I just snip them out. I am allergic to knots. Tangles are a subdivision of knots. I have long since delegated this category of tasks to spouse due to his superior skills, both fine motor and patience.

She has decided to let her hair grown long. I have not decided whether to permit this course of action, or not? I am still dithering on my proverbial fence, weighing up the pros and cons. My daughter is under the impression that she has a choice.

I wish to avoid the situation that I found myself in a decade ago with senior daughter. Yards of thick hair, a veritable rope to challenge Rapunzel. Too much for a teenager to manage. I didn’t have the time to teach her how to manage her ever burgeoning follicles, nor the patience. I recall evenings spent with organic free range brown shelled eggs, whisked into a poultice. A natural hair conditioner. Nothing out of a bottle for that one. Holistic and organic, before it was fashionable.

The result was scrambled eggs in a metre of hair, because the rinsing water was just a tad too warm. The hysteria, the tears, the cleaning the bath. The status of being the only person granted permission to snip fragments off the ends, a mere shaving, so as not to lose the ‘length.’ Never again.

“Tell you what, at the weekend I’ll teach you how to wash it, so that you don’t have any tangles. [translation = snarls]
“O.k. Daddy did it all wrong!” she moans. [translation = multitasking parents delegate different jobs]
“No, not really, it’s just that Daddy’s hair is very short, so he doesn’t know much about tangles.”
“Only ripping them out!” she snarls.

I brush gently with the occasional tweak and immediate apology. It’s time consuming, especially at this fraught time of the morning. I leave spouse to cope with the boys and guide her to another room, out of earshot from their screaming. [translation = put on your socks campaign] We sit quietly, brush, tweak and chat. Minutes pass. Quiet minutes, apart from the tweaking and squeaking. I’ll be short of time this weekend. Short of time then, short of time now. It helps me to remember that a decade ago, maybe I chose not to teach her big sister how to cope with her own hair, hard to say now, it was so long ago. [translation = one continent and several lifetimes]

It's so important to teach all of them 'life skills,' I really shouldn't show favouritism. Maybe I will be very busy this weekend. Maybe I won’t teach this one either. Surely that would still be fair, to someone?


Unknown said...

Ah... hair.

Does any woman want the hair she actually has? I spend a fortune and way too much time, bleaching and straightening my curlies. I have a friend who spends even more money and time, darkening and crimping her straight locks.

My daughter has thick, gorgeous hair. Every morning, we would wash it, and battle over combing out the tangles and whether to wear it loose or tied up or maybe in some weird droopy ponytail that hung over her eyes...

My daughter? She shaved her thick, shiny waist-length hair.

NO looking back. I have NEVER met a person so happy with a hairstyle. It has been re-shaved many times now... well, not bald but a teensy quarter inch? With a swooshy forelock... and a droopy, opposite side nape wisp. Dyed interesting colors.

Well, her biggest joy is no tangles no combing no fuss.

I envy her!

Hope your daughter either abandons the pursuit of hairiness or at least lets mom off the hook!


Phoebe said...

The scrambled eggs, ack!

I think it calls to our primate grooming traits to comb out others' hair.

I still wish my girls wanted short, sensible bobs.

The Jedi Family of Blogs said...

I've come to the conclusion that we all want what we didn't have when we were little. I was forced into a Julie Andrews pixie from an early age (everyone said that I looked just like her in "Sound of Music" -gack!!). When I finally hit high school my rebellion was to grow my hair. With a mother & grandmother trained to cut hair, this was rebellion! Of course, this was also the early 70's, so even the boys had long hair... (my grandmother never got over teaching one of my long-haired friends to knit & then discovering afterward that "she" was a boy- although she did think "Brian" an odd name for a girl... but I digress :). Senior year everybody cut their hair, just to be different, but I grew mine right back. I've only had short hair for a brief time since, right around the time Charlie & I got married, but I still had a waist-length, skinny, braided "tail"- something that my son has now :)

On a practical note- what I do to manage hip-length (rapidly silvering & getting-wirier-all-the-time) hair is to wash it at night, in the shower, & follow with a good cream rinse. Then braid it in 2 braids overnight & brush it out in the morning when it's dry. I've been doing this for many years & it works very well. Good luck!

Joeymom said...

I have long hair- and I love my hair. It was very straight when I was younger, but now it gets very curly. With the boys, I have to mostly bind it up, but I keep it despite my mom constantly telling me I am too old for braiding. I had to have it cut when I got back from India, because the Lariam makes it fall out, and it took two hours (even with the noticeable missing hair). I cried the whole time, but it has returned beautifully.

I brush it out twice a day. I have one of those big brushes, wide with stiff, thick "bristles" capped with extra plastic to round the ends. I start at teh bottom, and when that brushes free, move up a couple inches, and slowly inch up to the scalp. No ouch. I used to love to wash my hair with fancy shampoos and conditioners and things, but I can't afford any of that now. A grocery store 2-in-1, that's all I can get for the time and money I have. :P But I don't have tangles! My hair is presently waist-length. I'm six feet tall.

I had a cousin who had hair that trailed behind her when I was young. She still keeps it hip-length, but I never will forget seeing it hang to the floor. I wish I could draw or paint or something, because it was amazing. I have no idea how she kept it clean, brushed, and braided. My cousin is only five feet tall, but it was still amazing to see. *sigh*

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I have four girls. Sometimes they sit one behind the other behind the other, with the littlest in front and the oldest in back doing each others hair for the day.

We're like a hair styling assembly line.

Anonymous said...

For kids: conditioner (a good portion) and a Conair shower comb. If you comb the conditioner through in the shower, it's MUCH easier later on. I should buy stock in just that comb.

Admin said...

Ah, I sympathize. My daughter has hair that snarls into a rat's nest overnight. We wash it with natural shampoo and rinse with a little apple cider vinegar in a pitcher of water. If that doesn't do it, we use a little organic conditioner and comb through it with a very wide-toothed comb in the tub. She's getting rather good at doing this herself. My teenaged son, on the other hand, just had his shoulder-length hair cut because he couldn't stand it in his eyes or on his shoulders anymore. He had a buzz cut and looks much younger. I used to iron my hair and got a lot of flak for dating long-haired guys, so I have a very liberal policy on the whole thing. As long as it's clean and I don't have to spend too much extra time on it, I'm good. Of course, they learn at home, so that gets rid of the whole morning rush thing. I think you're very wise to teach them all the lifeskills you can. They'll need them.

yerdoingitwrong said...

My hair is the bain of my existence. I spend a small fortune on it on a monthly basis to make it managable. ugh.

BEAUTIFUL pics, girl. Happy mama's day to you tomorrow!

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