Hair Affair

My daughter is obsessed with hair. And it's because she has so little, even at age 6. Bless her little baby heart, the poor child's hair grows...well, it grows at a snail's pace. Really. She was almost completely bald until she was a good 2 and a half. I gave her her first trim just before she turned 3, because when her hair DID finally start to grow, it only grew on the sides. Like a man who's balding. Except in reverse.

When she was 3 and a half, inspired by her brother's haircut, she decided to give herself a trim as well. To illustrate how slowly her hair grows, we were still waiting for the trim I gave her 6 months before to grow back. She reached into the kitchen drawer, pulled out the kiddie safety scissors and SNIP. I walked in, saw the hair on the floor, the scissors in her hand and this hesitant little smile on her face. The hair on her scalp was, in essence, gone. It was maybe a half-inch long. I truly fought the urge to get sick.

It was devastating.

Not because it was going to look bad.

Because she had cut off almost 4 years worth of hard-earned, intensely wanted hair. After trying to calm her down (her hesitant smile turned to tears when she saw the shock and horror on my face), and cleaning up the hair and trying not to cry myself, I could do nothing else but survey the damage, reassure her that she looked precious and darling, make her promise to only let grownups cut her hair from now on, and send her off with a lollipop to watch a video. I poured myself a stiff drink and, when she was out of earshot, sat at the kitchen table and let the tears roll.

Which brings me back to the beginning. There's still not much, but what she has, when it's behaving, is really gorgeous. Big, loose, Campbell Soup Kid type curls. And since it's still short (despite the fact that we've been growing it long since last spring), it looks cute with her big bows and her deep dimples.

The funny thing is, now everyone gives her hair for special occasions. Wigs, hair extensions, ponytails...

My sister called to ask what Little Meems would like for her birthday. The only thing my daughter has asked for is a trash can for her room. So, knowing how fond she is of the hair my sister gave her for Christmas, and knowing how tangled and disgusting it is, I offered new hair as a birthday gift idea.

And I'm so excited!

The girl wears her hair. Everywhere. Until it's so matted and tangled that birds fly out of it when she puts it on.

Not long ago she wore it out to run errands. We went to Sherwin Williams, where she bellied herself up to the little paint bar they have and proceeded to play "moms" with her doll and her purse and her fake, 3-foot long Rapunzel ponytail. To say she looked ridiculous is an understatement. She was also wearing pink Barbie high-heel feather-boa mules and a raincoat with traffic signs all over it.

I caught the customer service guy ringing us up giving a little smirk over her way. Feeling defensive that he might be laughing at my little daughter, I was ready to point out how ridiculous those grommets were in his ears. GROMMETS. At which, by the way, my oldest son sat and stared, mouth open, trying to figure out what was going on up there.

I don't know if he thought she was funny, or cute, or ridiculous, or what. But as I finished my transaction, blocked my son's gaze with my body and told him it was time to go (flashing him one of those "we'll talk about it in the car" looks), I caught site of my daughter, in all her glory, walking out the store talking to herself and her imaginary friends.

The breathtaking feeling I got is the reason why I will go to the ends of the earth to arrange for her to have her heart's desire. I will continue to haunt drugstores, and take delight in, the search for the perfect hair.

I WILL get defensive about my daughter's wigs. Even if they're pink and she's wearing them to the playground.

Because, I can't give her what she REALLY wants. And that kills me.

But I can give her the next best thing!


th said…
Hair is overrated. You give her what is important.
Anonymous said…
Hair is overrated. You are giving her what is important.

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