Thursday, March 12, 2015

How “Crazy Hair Day” Lived Up to Its Name

This week was “spirit week” at Paige’s school, meaning every day she had to dress up as something different. One day it was what you want to be when you grow up; another day was your favorite book or movie character; another day was school colors day; and all of them were a huge fucking pain in my ass.


Because every single one of these "spirited" days led to varying degrees of mother-daughter conflict. And naturally, every morning was a last minute scramble to get the right costume. 

And it's not even Friday yet.

For example, Paige dressed up like a doctor for career dress-up day, even though she protested wailed that she didn't want to be a doctor when she grew up. But we had a Princess Leia from Starwars costume that sort of looked like a doctor's coat and a plastic case of pretend doctor supplies. This was the only easily accessible career dress-up option that we could find in the twenty minutes we had to get dressed, fed, and out the door. So doctor it was.

Today was "crazy hair day," and the best thing I can say about "crazy hair day" (again: so far--the day isn't over yet) is that it's aptly (if not politically-correctly) named. 

The mother-daughter struggle with hair is probably older than hair itself, and I long ago predicted that I'd eventually confront this conflict with Paige. I'm no paleontologist, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if early hominid mothers were sitting on a cliff-face somewhere in modern-day Africa, picking nits off their daughters' back fur while the daughter hominids shrieked in discomfort, humiliation, and unhappiness at their mothers' inability to get it right. 

My own mother quickly tired of this dynamic and cut my hair short, so that every stranger in the supermarket would greet me with coos of "what a sweet little boy!" for about three years of my childhood. Knowing Paige's strong predilection for all things girly, I cast aside my clearly-not-very-firm principles about gender and routinely threaten to do to her what her grandmother did to me: make her look like her goddamned brother if she doesn't stop fighting with me about hair.

This morning, I had to explain to Paige that although her hair was thick, it was both straight and subject to the limits of gravity, and therefore would not stand up like a bunch of pipe cleaners without the aid of a Bumpit (tm), which we did not have on hand because I am not Sarah Palin, for fuck's sake.

She suggested  demanded that she be allowed to try the same effect with a canister of toxic hairspray whose origins in our house are still a mystery to me. I warned her that it was probably carcinogenic and full of CFCs, but somehow both of those things seemed preferable to arguing anymore. So I told her to close her eyes and hold her breath if she was going to insist on dunking her head in a cloud of cosmetic Agent Orange.

Naturally the hairspray tactic failed, and thus ensued a lot of crying, stomping, screaming, yelling, and more spraying from both of us as we jointly arranged and re-arranged Paige's hair in various configurations using numerous scrunchies, hair ties, barrettes, headbands, and other stray accessories in an attempt to elevate her coif to the requisite level of "crazy" that she felt would qualify as crazy enough to attend "crazy hair day" at school with her head held high. 

When all was said and done, I dropped her off at school looking happy--and with her hair looking no more or less crazy--than when the whole thing started this morning. 

They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Well, that's certainly the case with mother-daughter hair conflict: every day is crazy hair day. Some, I suppose, just crazier than others.

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