One of the areas my maternal inadequacies are exposed is the area of haircare for my children. Somehow, it's one of the balls that is constantly dropped in our day-to-day life.
I learned a few years ago if we keep Jackson's hair very short, then it not only need not be combed, but the nasty cowlic near his crown is easier to maintain. If the hair is short enough, who cares if it is standing up? Getting his hair to lie down could otherwise a daily battle between us. And if you're new around here, we have more than enough to do battle over. You add to that his aversion (inherited from Daddy) to ALL haircare products, you can see the situation unfolding. Water can only do some much. I have thought of gluesticks.
So my only real challenge with the J Boy is to make sure I get his haircut every 2 or so months. We are rarely there before 3 months and more often 4. Usually some event, like class photos or Christmas will precipiate our trip to the "hair cut store".
Last December, we tried a person qualified to cut hair who does it in her basement, as opposed to the hair cut store where the kids sit in cool chairs that are Thomas the Tank, Batmobile or Barbie car. This skilled stylist suggested that letting Jackson's hair go LONGER would mean the weight of his hair would drag down the cowlic. So, we gave that plan a shot.
What we had was hair standing up all over. Unmanageable. I was not willing to spend my precious parental leverage on hair care. So the lad has pretty much gone to school with hair that was a cross between Albert Einstein and an unloved orphan from an Oliver Twist.
On occasion, this would bother Jackson and he would struggle mightily with it in the bathroom. He would emerge, proud of the result. His front bangs, which are pretty much the only hair that will reliably lie flat, dripping wet. The rest of the hair is still standing askew, bad as when he began.
Sydney has her own challenges. She is blessed with lovely shiny hair that actually curls under on its own, owing to a slight natural curl. As a wee toddler she used to sport adorable curly locks but as the years go on the curl has diminished. But she has an aversion to combing or brushing her hair. It is most often done after a bath and then she sleeps on her wet hair and we have quite the unmanageable situation in the morning.
I see other little girls with parts in their hair so straight I think someone in the family must have surveying tools as no one could eyeball a line that straight. Their hair looks freshly brushed, with matching hair accessories.
Girlie Goo hates when I brush her hair. But when I eventually do it, it's a project. If I am gentle it takes too long and if I'm fast it hurts too much. I have mastered the art of combing only the top layer so it looks tolerably neat, but then this leaves the underparts of her hair to be a mass of tangles left for another day. You add to this her knack of getting anything sticky matted into it (toothpaste, sirop, jam) and you have a head of hair that is as unmanageable as her brother's.
So this week we have one kid (J Boy) with hair sticking up in every direction and another (Girlie Goo) with bangs so long, we were risking retinal damage. Both kids were actively complaining about their hair, I resolved to get a haircut for each of them. Friday after school was the appointed day.
I picked them up from school and Jackson advised we had to go STRAIGHT HOME so he could meet one of his classmates online in Club Penguin. So we deferred the trip to the evening. I promised Sydney, who had her heart set on an after school haircut, that I would take her even if Jackson did not consent.
In the end, we made it a family trip. Husband usually escapes the horrors of the hair cut store where Jackson, not known for his patience, does everything but earn himself a lifetime ban from the store. Husband was on diversion detail. Which in this case mostly involved taking the kid not in the chair to the "novelty" store across the hall. I used to think "novelty" was code for dribbly glasses, fake eyeballs, lava lamps and "over the hill" party ware. It turns out now it really means sex toys.
Husband said to me as Sydney climbed into the chair "Sydney's hair looks a bit scruffy and dirty".
She told Sydney pointedly that she should brush her hair every day. She was kind enough to point out the food that was stuck in her hair. I didn't correct her to tell her it was probably toothpaste. I felt the full measure of my inadequacy in the area of haircare.
When Jackson got his hair cut (and we're going short again), she told me "God must love your children very much".
In the end we left impoverished by $48, which is outrageous unless I think of the 15 minutes it took Madame Haircutter to comb Sydney's hair and de-toothpaste-ify it.
And I realized that despite my worry, I don't think we'll be banned from the haircut store anytime soon. Who else would pay that price?