CAN YOU HANDLE THE PONYTAIL PRESSURE? IT MAY GO WITH THE MUM TERRITORY, BUT “DOING” HAIR IS A SPECIAL KIND OF TORTURE
Being the parent of school-aged children is sometimes cruel and unusual punishment. My parents would say it’s simply payback. I feel my punishment is over and above what is fair though. I don’t believe my indiscretions (at least the ones my folks are aware of) warrant having to do hair.
My mother never had to do my hair. She yelled at me a fair bit to brush it, but I don’t recall her ever having to do it, possibly because I wasn’t a dancer.
My daughter is a dancer, which puts me at a parenting disadvantage because I don’t “do” hair. Not even my own (hence my mother’s frustration in the day). I was not a child who played hairdresser. I never plaited my friends’ hair. I did, however, cut my sister’s hair when she was five. She didn’t seem to mind the haphazard bowl cut, so I don’t know why Mum was so peeved. It’s not like it didn’t grow back.
When my daughter came along, I didn’t do her hair either. She was two before she had a haircut (not by me; I wouldn’t be so cruel to my child. My sister, yes, but not my child) and it wasn’t until she started school that I tackled my first ponytail, and only then because I had no choice.
For the first few years, the morning tug-owar went well enough. Only a few screams, and even fewer from my girl. Last year she sacked me though. Having inherited her father’s neat-freak tendencies, I have no chance of reaching her exacting standards and even less chance of keeping my cool in the ensuing “discussion” of said standards.
Now, this has worked out for both of us and it’s been smooth sailing until this week when we’ve hit a snag, like a fine-tooth comb ripping through bed hair. We have an upstyle to complete for the annual dance concert that requires skills not in my fumbling reach.
It brings no comfort that the dance teacher says she’s given us the easiest hair style available. The easiest would be no style at all. That I can do. But braiding, Dutch or otherwise, is beyond my capabilities, and my daughter knows it too. For the past few weeks anxiety levels – hers and mine – have been on the rise. I can see the sheer terror on her face when the topic comes up. We both know that the potential for disaster is high and I’ve no doubt we’ve both been picturing her turning up with a birds nest on her head.
So I’ve done what any smart parent would – I’ve outsourced it, begging my hairdresser to save us. The sly smile that spreads across my daughter’s face on hearing the news tells me this is the outcome she was hoping for.