I’ve suffered years of whining from my tortured seven year old. “It hurts,” she screams everytime I brush her hair. I’ve bought expensive adult shampoos, conditioners and detanglers without success. Since the day she was born with her full head of dark waves, she shrinks at the sight of a comb.
If you knew my history with hair, you’d genuinely feel for me. Having grown up in the 70’s with curls cropped so short, one would could call it a ‘fro, I was obsessed with obtaining the long, straight, shiny, ready-to-wear hair that donned every girl on the cover of Seventeen. The Conair blowdryer became my savior, and hence, launched my next thirty years of labored frizz-taming and hair straightening.
We now live in the age of indecipherable native descent, mixed backgrounds with brown skin and blue eyes permeate the airwaves, hair is more of a personal statement than a uniform. It’s a dream I have for my daughter, that her she’ll profit from her naturally long, wavy tresses with effortless self-esteem and low-maintenance. But the universe has thrown me curve — her over-sensitive scalp and pleading inflexibility.
I gave my daughter options: endure the daily grooming or surrender to a short, fashionable haircut. The sort, indeed, where Mommy whisks her to an actual salon for the whole grand experience. This negotiation fell flat for years –my child, defiant, insisted that she could have her mane without price. But finally, after a recent morning, when, I’m sheepish to admit, I failed at being Jesus, spiralling into a shrieking Medusa over a pigtail tussle, she quietly caved. “OK, Mommy, but I want a bob, like Charlie Beth’s, and I have to get some pink or purple strands, too, or no deal.”
When I conveyed my victory to a friend, she said, “Are you going to let her do it?” And I said, why not, this is not a decent into teenage rebellion, she’s seven, it’s more Hello Kitty and rainbows.
So, pink hair it is. The appointment’s made, we’ll see if the bride shows at the altar. I’ll keep you posted.
Pam Alster, former stand-up comedienne, Lifetime TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her forthcoming debut novel Robin’s Blue. www.pamalster.com