So then…my 9-year-old daughter Chloe lets loose a shriek so piercing, it could wake the dead two towns over. She thrashes about, SCREAMING and WAILING.
And all because of me.
What am I doing?
Chopping off limbs? No.
Evil torture? No.
I am brushing.her.hair.
Oh sure, we’ve all been there. The tears, the sensitive scalp.
But this child has THE MOST delicate skull flesh – and THE MOST tangled hair – and THE MOST stubborn insistence that we brush out that frikkity-frik hair before she goes to bed.
So every other night, after her shower, I have to spend 60 to 90 minutes painstakingly combing out her twisted, snarled, knotted hair that just so happens to reach the all the way down her back.
And after trying every possible remedy – including brushing the hair BEFORE the shower – baby shampoo – buckets of conditioner – detangling spray – and one time, even VEGETABLE OIL –
I am quite ready to throw a hat on it and call it a day.
Or shave her head.
But she will have none of it.
She adores her long hair and she wants it brushed out. How can Mommy not accomplish that?
But, oh my god, that caterwauling and carrying on! The screaming and shouting and crying!
It’s a wonder my neighbors haven’t called Children’s Services on me.
Chloe alternates between “please brush it, Mom” and “YOU’RE KILLING MEEEEE!!!”
Armed only with a Goody comb and brush, I’m treated like the Marquis de Sade with a trunkful of torture tools!
Well, tonight I’m exhausted. It’s way past her bedtime and I’ve only detangled the two sides near her face. There is a huge nasty horrifying clump of hair in the middle that is refusing to budge.
“Chloe, we have to call it a night. You have the big music program tomorrow and you need your sleep.”
“Nooooo, Mom! We’re gonna be on stage! I have to wear my hair in braaaaaaids!”
Now imagine that same conversation repeated about 83 times, amidst brushing attempts and tears (including mine).
Finally, when I’m about to commit Hari-Kari with the sharp end of the comb, I announce that she MUST go to bed and we’ll figure it out in the morning. She reluctantly goes to sleep.
The next morning, the clump is only worse – matted and horrifying and ENORMOUS. It seems to have grown in the night, eating other people’s hair until it’s a bloated, writhing mess.
After several attempts and lots of howling, I finally make her two braids with the combed hair – and I stick some pins and clips in the nest of hair in the back to form a sort of snarly bun.
She’s distressed, of course, but we have to get to school.
From the front, she looks like an adorable country girl with braids, white shirt and jeans.
But in the back… it’s not a sweet little ballet bun – it’s not even a hip Jersey Shore “bump” – it’s more like a huge mangy critter has attached itself to her head and won’t let go!
So if she can just always stay facing forward today – just don’t turn to the side – just back out of each room gracefully — then no one will see the beehive rat’s nest in the back.
At the music program, I deliberately sit with parents I don’t know – so that if Chloe DOES turn to the side on stage, I can pretend I have no idea whose child that is. I’ll just shake my head with the other spectators and “tsk tsk” at the inept mother who sent her child out like that!
Well, of COURSE, the music program involves hand motions, enthusiastic singing, and stand-up/sit-down/sway-to-the-SIDE actions – and there is her mangy critter bopping and waving and swaying on the back of her head. IT HAS A LIFE OF ITS OWN! And it is BOOGYING!
I am mortified, but I soldier through, trying to enjoy the music — and calculating how I’m going to afford special effects to digitally remove the offending “Fur Beast” in the video footage I’m shooting.
After the program, the parents all greet their kids in the courtyard with kisses and congratulations. I consider grabbing some random kid with normal hair for a hug and pretending they’re mine.
But there they are – Chloe and the Clump. I give her a big hug and a kiss, tell her she did a fabulous job and that I loved the show.
She tells me how much fun she had and grabs a cookie from the snack table.
“But Mom, I have to tell you – all day LONG, the kids were asking me about my hair.”
I wince. “Really?”
“Yeah, the kids kept saying, ‘What IS that?’ and ‘What’s in your hair?’”
“Oh, sorry, honey, we’ll try to detangle it tonight.”
She bites the cookie and says, “One girl kept saying it looks like a rat’s nest — and another boy said it looks like a RAT – and he started PETTING it.”
“He DID not!” I protest.
“Oh, yes, he did, Mom. He PETTED my hair rat!!”
OK, so I guess our make-shift Clump Critter did not escape detection after all.
But perhaps it can be the new class pet?
— Darcy Perdu
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(Any tales of tangled tresses out there? Have you ever fallen a bit short in the hair/outfit/costume department when sending your kid to school or camp ? Share your embarrassing stories — surely I’m not the only mom who’s used the line: “Huh, who? That’s not MY kid, nope, what, huh?”)