Today I caught myself daydreaming about having a house full of boys. Specifically, boys with short hair. Here’s the thing, all my girls were born with bad hair. It’s thin and tangles very easily. It causes drama. I hate drama. I know I have complained about this before but I think I am officially throwing in the towel today. I had what Oprah calls an “ah-ha” moment. A light bulb went off in my head and I learned a very important mom lesson. Here is how it all unfolded….
Let It Go
Maggie is only two and a half years old and is an absolute beast when I need to brush her hair.
“Mags. Come here sweetie. I need to brush your hair.”
I waited in the bathroom armed with a brush and some detangler spray and prepared myself for the worst. She politely responds from the playroom, “No thank you!”
“Yes. Maggie. You need to come to the bathroom please.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Maggie. I’m counting to three. 1…2……………3!”
My threat did not work. She didn’t budge; so I walked into the playroom with parental authority and took matters into my own hands.
“Did you hear me call your name?”
She stands with her hands on her hips and whines. “I don’t want you to brush my haaaaaiiiir Moooooommy!”
I change to my sweet mom voice; “C’mon. It will only take a minute.”
Now, I’m getting pissed. “Hey? You don’t tell mommy no. Do you understand me young lady?”
Judging by her reaction; I don’t think she liked what I had to say. She prepped her whole body for a dramatic toddler tantrum. Her bottom lip started quivering and she made a fist with both hands. Arms straight and stiff by her side, she screams. If I had a video of this little scene, I’m certain that high schools all over America would use it as a form of birth control.
I attempt to bring her back to reality.
“Maggie. Stop that screaming right now.”
We now have a full toddler meltdown. She is on the floor pounding it with her fists and kicking her feet. The first time I saw my child do this, I was alarmed, horrified and stunned. I wondered where I failed as a parent and questioned the sanity of my offspring. But by the fourth kid, I laugh. The amount of energy used to fight a hair brush is comical to me. I pick her up and hold her.
“Maggie. Shhhh, now stop that. Mommy just wants to brush your hair. It will only take a minute and then you can play again, OK?”
She stops crying for a minute to look at me. She takes the brief moment to give me a nasty look and then returns to her stubborn tantrum. Sometimes removing a toddler from one location to another is enough to snap them out of their funk; so I try it. Gently, I sit her on the couch with a blanket and allow her some time to calm down. I return a few minutes later.
“Ok. Are we ready now?”
Through sniffles and tears she shakes her head yes. Hooray, step one is complete. She agrees to the “torture”. Together we walk to the bathroom and she stands on the step stool and looks at herself in the mirror as I begin to brush through the tangles.
There is a barrette sitting on the counter that distracts her 2-year-old brain.
“That’s a hair barrette.”
Then she turns on the water full speed.
“Maggie, what are you doing?”
“I washing my hands.”
“Can you please wait and do that after I finish your hair?”
“But I gotta wash my hands.”
I quickly pull half of her hair into a piggy tail and secure it with a hair band as she reaches for the soap.
I turn off the water and return the soap to the edge of the sink.
“Maggie. I said no.”
She crosses her arm in defiance but quickly forgets she is angry when she sees a hairdryer on the counter.
“That’s a hairdryer.”
“A hair dryer?”
“Yes, a hair dryer.”
Let the records show, that this simple line of questioning is making me dumber and dumber as the years pass.
I am consumed with putting the second piggy tail in when she turns on the hair dryer. The noise scares her and she drops the hairdryer on the ground and starts crying. I continue brushing her hair while she pushes my hands away.
I impress myself at this point. It’s as if I am in a rodeo and I am tying a calf’s legs together.
“Hang on, don’t move. I’m almost done.”
“No Mommy. Stop it!”
Quickly, I finish and secure the hair band and throw my hands in the air like a cowgirl racing the clock. Yeeee-haw!
“OK, you can go now. I’m all done.”
She runs away.
I am sweating. Isn’t that pitiful? I sweat doing hair. I picked the hairdryer up off of the floor and took a deep breath. Phew, I did it. Toddlers have an amazing ability to make the most simple tasks difficult, don’t they? I planned my daily schedule as I wiped the spilled water off the counter and put the hair accessories into the drawer.
Maggie was quiet watching TV when I walked by the playroom and noticed. There she was, sitting in front of the TV watching Dora.
She was content.
She was quiet.
And she had a new hair-do.
Her piggy tails were gone. She ripped them out. My jaw dropped in total shock. How dare she undo my masterpiece!
In her defense, she is a girl who knows what she wants. She tried to make it clear to me that piggy tails don’t excite her; but I did not listen.
I felt defeated. I lost a battle with a 2-year-old. I sat watching her for a few minutes. I actually considered putting those piggy tails back in her hair. Sure, I could win this battle. I am bigger and stronger but what was the purpose? I mentally listed the reasons why I thought redoing her hair was important to me.
1. Because I said so
2. Because it looks better
Suddenly, both reasons felt stupid and a huge waste of energy. It was in that moment that I decided hair was not a battle worth fighting. I got her dressed and brought her to the store with the messiest hair in the world.
It took four kids for me to learn that a beautiful smile was far more important than messy hair. I’m smiling too because today I learned to let it go.