Hair wars- March 4, 2012

Lately Charlotte has been channeling her inner Pebbles Flintstone with her outer hairdo.  The other little girls in the Waddler class have all been sporting “sprouts” since the teachers started pulling their hair back.  Her hair is long enough that it’s in her face, but not so long she needs a haircut.

My mom disagrees and believes it’s first haircut time.  That’s okay.  Her disagreement helps prove my point in this post.

Everyday I sit Charlotte in my lap and pull her thin baby strands into one of those those tiny clear rubber ponytail holders and top it off with her signature bow.  Okay, I just made that sound really easy.  I should tell you how it really goes.

I get ready.

Brush. {check} Two ponytail holders {check} (I always have two, because inevitably I drop one of those little buggers and it’s gone until it gets stuck in the vaccum.) Bow. {check}

I put her in my lap.  She whines and wiggles down.  I snag her, squirming and screaming as I brush, tug, and twist the rubber band.  She breaks free and runs.  I’m back to hair one.   I scoop her up and distract her with a toy.  Once again I brush, tug, and twist as fast as my fingers can before sliding the clippy bow under the elastic.  Phew!  We made it until she tears it out in the car seat.

Greyson watches this with horror.  He exclaims, “Amy!  You’re pulling her hair!”  “Uh, yeah.  I have to fix it,” I reply.

(Translation:  In the South “fixing” your hair means doing your hair.  As in, “I fix my hair every morning.”)

He says, “But, doesn’t that hurt her to pull her hair?!?”  I say, “Well, yeah sort of. But, that’s just part of doing your hair.”

It was then I realized,” The Mother Daughter Hair Wars” have begun for a new generation.  Yeah, putting Charlotte’s hair in a little ponytail is not very comfortable.  I probably pulled a little.  But my mom pulled too, so did her mother before her, and her mother before her.

This is me as a toddler with a simple barrette I no doubt ripped out and my Mom had to replace to take this picture.  The second picture is me as a 6-year-old clearly thrilled with my side Topsy-Tail ponytail.  (Please tell me I’m not the only one to remember the Topsy-Tail.)  The final picture is of me in High School with my millionth bun for the millionth ballet recital.

These pictures do not include the umpteenth double and single french braids, banana clips, pigtails, crimp irons, sponge rollers, updos, perms, and even a hairpiece for dance competitions dubbed “the ferret”.  My mother may or may not have encouraged my sister and I to wear panties over our curlers to bed to keep them in as we slept, only to have the curls die midday in the North Carolina humidity.

One year my mom took me to the salon so I could get “The Rachel.”  Over many years she would subtly and not so subtly suggest when my sister and I should get trims because we looked “scraggly”.  She was the first to disapprove of my highlights and the first to point out early grays.

Greyson said once, “Why does your mom always ask about your hair?”  I said, “I dunno.  She’s my mom.”

Mothers and daughters have fought and cried over hair for eons.  My curly haired friends have epic stories of their domestic hair wars.  The thing is, some of the best conversations I can remember with my mama were when she was brushing my hair or we were getting ready for something.  She was always the one to complement me when my hair looked pretty.

I don’t want to start a hair war with my daughter.  It’s just hair.  Really, it’s not that important.  But, every tug and every style is part of what bonds us as girls and women.

“I promise that my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair.”- Steel Magnolias


2 Responses to “Hair wars- March 4, 2012”

  1. […] the past few weeks I have really tired of fighting with Charlotte over her “sprout”.  She keeps pulling it out, leaving her hair all down in her […]

  2. […] and perms. But color? No color according to Mom. When my daughter was a toddler I wrote about our budding mother/daughter hair relationship. Suddenly I find myself obsessing over my daughter’s […]

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