I consider myself a fairly patient person 90% of the time but I openly admit that I have moments. By the term “moments”, I mean psychotic episodes when something takes over my body and suddenly every ounce of kindness and compassion is evicted from my body. Sometimes it’s the slightest things that set me off. Usually it’s the things I do every single day that seem to get under my skin the most. Each day seems a little more dramatic and painful. This morning it was brushing my daughter’s hair.
For the first few years it was sweet. It’s a mother daughter moment. Time to bond and be girly. I remember when I picked the style and hair bow and she would sit there quietly soaking up all of the one on one attention. Nowadays…not so much. It’s actually torture.
The drama begins bright and early. Molly was showering for at least 20 minutes and I poke my head in to make sure she is on task. She is standing halfway under the water..playing. Angling her arm so she can shoot water from her fingertips and making “potions” mixing shampoo and body wash. Her hair is still dry. My blood pressure rises and the daily interrogation begins
Me: “Did you use soap?”
Molly: “Um..not yet.”
Me: “Why is your hair dry?”
Molly: “I forgot.”
Me: “You forgot to wet your hair? Molly..Come ON..wash! Flynn needs to get in there when you are finished.”
I close the curtain but purposely never leave the bathroom. I let 2 minutes pass and then peep inside the shower again. This time her hair is wet but still no shampoo.
Me: “Did you shampoo yet?”
Molly: (She is wide-eyed like she did something wrong.)”Not yet!”
Molly: (now she is cranky and whining) “I’m tired. I don’t want to shampoo. It takes forever.”
Me: “I’ll wait. I need to see suds.”
Molly: “You don’t have to wait, I’ll do it.”
Me: “Go ahead. I want to actually see the shampoo on your head.”
She rolls her eyes and stomps her feet and gives me a look that makes me cringe. Although I am deeply irritated, I try to lighten the mood as she finally scrubs her hair.
Me: “Ladies and gentlemen…we have bubbles.” I followed my annoying comment up with an impromptu jig that clearly disgusted my 7 year-old. Ha!
Molly: “Mooooom…privacy please. It’s not funny.”
Me: (I can’t help it. I’m giggling at this point.) “Hey!”(I say abruptly) “It actually IS funny. I am funny Molly. I’m freaking hilarious.” (She just stares, very confused) “Now that we got that straight, you have exactly 3 minutes to finish up…(dramatic pause)..and if you’re not done… I will return to harass you.”
I head downstairs to start the day. Only a few minutes pass and my mommy ears can hear Molly getting out of the shower and Flynn getting in. I am pleased that we are moving in the right direction. I’m busy signing school papers and cooking breakfast when I notice Flynn sit down at the kitchen table.
Me: “How did you beat your sister down here? Didn’t you get in the shower after Molly?”
He shrugs his shoulder. Smart boy. He knows better than to get involved. I couldn’t imagine what she was doing. I assumed she was brushing her hair since she picked out her clothes last night. My assumption was quickly debunked when Molly entered the kitchen fully dressed sporting wet dread locks. My jaw dropped.
Molly: (Clueless that she was moving like a sloth) “Yes mom.”
Me: “What the heck took you so long? You didn’t even brush your hair.”
Molly:(with an attitude) “I did brush it.”
Me: “With what?”
Molly: “Seriously Mom..I did.”
Me: “Well, it needs a LOT more work.”
I place her breakfast in front of her and watch as she takes her sweet time eating it.
Me: “Molly? Pick up the pace please. The bus will be here in 15 minutes and we HAVE to do something with that rat’s nest”
Molly: “Can I please let it air dry?”
Me: “Air dry? Um? No. It’s 30 degrees outside.”
Molly:(pouting) “I hate my hair!”
Me: “Me too!”
Awkward silence. Maybe that wasn’t the correct motherly thing to say about her hair but it was a pre-coffee moment and all I could think about was all the hair drama ahead of me. According to the clock, we had 10 minutes left in the morning to make that mop of a hair-do presentable for school. As she is finishing her breakfast, I begin to gently brush her dreads. For the record, I do not normally brush hair at the breakfast table but we were in a bit of a time crunch so cut momma some slack. Despite feeling rushed, I actually started off with a positive attitude. I approached her hair gently using lots of detangler spray and slowly worked my way toward her scalp. I was about half way through when she started with all the drama. Perhaps it was the over exaggerated head bobbing that got me fired up or maybe it was the jerking away in the opposite direction but something took over my body and I reacted. She pulled away with defiance and I simultaneously tapped her on the back of the head with the brush. “Doink”
There was no thought. It was like a reflex. Her eyes got wide and then they welled up with tears. Oh boy. Now I really did it. A mother’s innocent weapon, the hairbrush. I swear it is like a motherly instinct.
Molly: (holding her head like I beat her) “Mooooooom?”
Me: “Well? Knock it off. Stop pulling away from me.”
Molly: (now she is mad) “You didn’t have to knock me on the head with the brush.”
Me: “I’m sorry. It was a little tap to get your attention. Some might consider it a spontaneous motherly reflex”.
Molly: “Well, your reflex hurt.” (Someone please tell her that little comments like this are not helping her in any way)
Me:(continuing to brush) “The bus will be here in 5 minutes. I’m sorry but please stop with the attitude” I kiss the top of her head as a peace-offering. After all, what mother wants to send her child on the bus crying?
Me: “Do you still love me?”
Molly: She answers in a monotone voice with her arms crossed and gives a look that could kill. “Yes.” I hope everyone can feel that love, sigh.
I start blow drying her hair at lightening speed. One hand lifting the under layer of hair and the other hand moving the hair dryer all over her head. When I finished the ends were still damp but it would have to do.
If there were such a thing as a Hair Diner, I would be the head waitress. “Good Morning. How are you today? Uh huh..Yes mam…and how would you like that pony tail? OK, Coming right up!” To be honest, I disgust myself when I give them too many options but I do it so they feel like they made the choice.
Me: “Do you want a 1 pony tail, 2 pony tails, or a barrette?”
Molly: “I’d like a french braid.”
Of course she would say that! Grrrr! Good grief this child knows how to push my buttons!
Me: “Ok. Fine. Ya know what? I’ll pick. We have 2 minutes Molly.”
Molly: “Ok, ok, ok..1 pony tail please.”
I get a pony tail in her head with one swooping motion. I smile because I am only minutes away from peace and quiet but she seems miserable. I didn’t care. She had 1 minute to brush her teeth and then out the door to catch the bus.
Me: “Ok..quickly go brush your teeth.”
She runs to brush her teeth and returns with full tears.
Me: (I help her with her coat) “What? Why are you crying? You asked for one pony tail right?”
Molly: “Yes but this one is high. It looks baby-ish. I wanted a low pony tail.”
Me: “It looks amazing. You look good. Now stop crying.”
She isn’t buying it. It breaks my heart. I hate to see a little girl sad and feeling “ugly”. Then her brother chimes in with sibling taunting.
Flynn: “Hey Molly? You look like a baby.”
Molly: “See mom?”
Me: “Flynn…zip it!”
There are days when taunting seems to be his sole mission as a big brother. He opens the door and starts walking outside but has to insert one more comment.
Flynn: “Let’s go… baby hair! The bus will be here any minute.”
Molly punches him in the arm and he laughs.
Flynn: “Dude. Not a bad punch for a little girl.”
Molly: (now laughing) “There is more where that came from buddy!”
Me: “Stop it! Behave.” They both giggle.
In a last-ditch effort to start the day off on the right foot (OVERACHIEVER ALERT), I grab the hairbrush and walk behind her to the bus stop. Somehow I managed to lower her pony tail just where she wanted it with at least 15 seconds to spare.
It’s a Wednesday morning miracle people. Both kids got on the bus smiling. Molly waved to me from the window and gave me a thumbs up. I guess I got it right. Who could have guessed the importance of the pony tail location to a second grader. Lawd!!!! Another day of hair drama has ended successfully. Phew! I take a few minutes to catch my breath and enjoy a warm cup of coffee. The house is quiet and it isn’t long before Teagan wakes up and joins me in the kitchen. She turns around to climb up in my lap when I noticed her hair. It scared me. In fact, I screamed. There in front of my eyes was the most serious case of bed head that I had ever seen. That’s when it hit me. I realized that I have 3 daughters and Molly was only the first. The hair drama was far from over…it has just begun.
I’m fairly certain that every single female on earth can relate to some sort of hair drama. I think back to my childhood and how much thought I put into my hair. I remember specifically wanting 2 pig tails before every soccer game. I can also remember feeling robbed of my creativity when it didn’t happen. Sometimes it was because my hair wouldn’t cooperate and other times it was because time would not allow for it. Seems silly today but to a little girl searching for her place in the world, it matters. I get it. I really do, but for a mom… it’s knot exactly fun.