Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Huffman Hair Chronicles

Ramblings from my attic #102

My hair is the weak link in the Arlington Huffman genetic pool so thank goodness Allen’s thick silky tresses can now be found on my daughter’s heads. I keep mine cropped short (“Oh Mom, you look like a man” chime the girls). Allen is acknowledging mid-life and his joyful abundance of brown hair by shunning his usual summer buzz cut and has tendrils now flirting with his shirt collars.

School started a week or two ago and so did my yelling: “Lindsay, you can’t go to school with your hair looking like that!” Lindsay, bring me your head and your brush or you won’t be having any play dates again for the rest of your life!” Lindsay, come out from under your covers. I’ve got to comb the tangles out!” “Lindsay, where are your eyes?” The hair wars had begun.

As I related a particular “hairy” fight scene that traumatized our entire household to my crack-of-dawn running buddies, I began to realize how stupid it all was. That realization was helped along by comments like…”My daughter had knots in her hair for months” and “Why are you pushing her to meltdowns over hair? Why does her smooth hair matter so much to you?” This is what my friends are for…when I present them with a “me vs. them (kid)” problem, they often help me realize that maybe it’s actually a “me vs. me” issue. Lindsay had just begun 2nd grade and though enjoying it, was struggling with the pressures of too little alone time and too many rules. Then I was demanding her hair be perfect because, well, it is so pretty, and, um, I couldn’t see her eyes, and, let’s see, I wanted her to look loved every day when she walked in her class door.

So after the fast-walking counseling session, I took a deep breath and relieved myself of the responsibility for Lindsay’s hair tidiness, at least for a while. “Lindsay” I said, while we were getting ready for school that morning, “I’m sorry I made such a fuss about your hair last night. For the next few weeks, you are in charge of your hair. I will only brush it when you invite me to. But you do need to keep it clean and make sure you can see to read and walk. If it’s too much for you, let me know and we’ll get your bangs cut. Deal?” “Deal!” she grinned.

Vesuvius subsided. My energies are now focused on getting her to do her homework instead of getting her to brush her hair. And I know I love my girls more than life itself even when one of them goes to school with gnarly hair and a part that resembles Harry Potters scar.

Meanwhile, Brooke spends at least 14 minutes of her 15 minute morning prep time combing, re-combing, putting up, taking down, putting up, taking down, combing again her lovely straight locks into a painfully tight pony tail until she has 1 minute left to sprint down the street to catch her bus. And yes, she, too, was once the subject of hair wars. So I know there’s hope! Or at least, maybe middle ground?


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