Monday, November 16, 2009

How to Ruin Your Child's Life in Five Minutes or Less


Difficult? Yes. Doable? Theoretically.

I have thus far successfully executed the basic ponytail, basic braid, and the advanced ponytail (with two hair-thingeys, one high and another one at the neck). This morning, I had intended to tackle the augmented braid, which is essentially a basic braid plus hair clips on each side above the ears. Admittedly, this was ambitious--I had yet to work with hair clips, and she was still eating her "monkey oatmeal," which increases the risk of unexpected movements and subsequent sticky disaster--but I thought the augmented braid was still reasonable and achievable.

Kira disagreed. "I just want it down, Dad. You can just leave it."

"But Kira," I said, "you need your hair to be out of your face at school." Kira responds well to logic, so this was a good parenting move on my part.

"You can just put clips on the side" she said.

Hmm. Kira has this way of complicating my good parenting moves. She's tricky like that. On the one hand, side-clips only was not in the brief hairstyle training Nicole had given me. On the other hand, Kira was a girl, and maybe she knew something I didn't. I looked at the clock. Side-clips only suddenly seemed like a good idea.

The metal clips I chose were kind of tricky. I had to figure out how to open them. I put them on backwards and had to start over again. It took a few more tries to get them in a place where they seemed to be holding hair back in the right way. By the time Kira was full of monkey oatmeal, I was glad to have backed away from the full braid.

As soon she started putting her hoodie on, though, I started to have this sinking feeling I had chosen wrong. The side-clips, bereft of the anchoring influence of the braid, didn't look sufficient to hold anything for the whole day. I looked again at the clock, though, and decided to stand by my work like a man and get her to school on time for a change.

By the time we got to school, it had become apparent that the clips were useless. Worse than useless--they hadn't been able to do anything against the tugs of head movements and hoodies, but were still keeping random tufts of hair pulled forward, preventing gravity from restoring any semblance of order. Kira ran off happily toward class.

The other children, I think, will have trouble understanding her. On days when her mother gets her ready, she'll be the pretty girl everyone is either drawn towards or jealous of. On days when I get her ready, she'll be that weird, quirky kid who might be homeless. In either case, probably, everyone will be staring at her, which will have who-knows-what psychological repercussions

Actually, as someone who was 6'6" and had a full beard by ninth grade, I have some sense of what the repercussions of constant stared-atness may be. But then again, very few people lot of me as particularly beautiful. Kira will have the worst of both worlds. As the years go by, she'll be shunned by her pretty friends on Daddy's prep days, and by her nerdy friends on Mama's prep days.

So much for a simple, happy childhood.

Hopefully, monkey oatmeal will give her the strength to deal with the trauma caused by my failed hairstyling.


  1. Just wait a few years for when she decides she wants to do her own hair--then the fun will begin. And it will still be your fault.

  2. I love this. I remember the mornings when my own dad attempted to do my hair. Just think: you'll get better with time, and until then, you're helping Kira build character.

  3. looks like you need some more training. I should have started you on this earlier. Sorry.

  4. Kira has so much lovely hair. I'm jealous you get to do it at all.

  5. Such results from a supposedly simple task. You'll get better with time. Congratulations on your marriage!

  6. Wow. "On days when I get her ready, she'll be that weird, quirky kid who might be homeless." Can you come do my hair, because that's the exact style that I always wanted when I was a kid!

  7. On further reflection, it might have ruined your life if you'd know how to expertly do hair at an earlier point. So I guess it's okay that I didn't. Do you remember how you and Stephen used to try and sneak out of the house before Mom could notice that you hadn't combed your hair?

  8. I think I was a senior in high school before I was regularly doing my own hair. My dad never had any skill at it, but my big brothers at least know how to comb it out for me, and could do a decent braid. I'd suggest you look for headbands/bandanas, which are very simple and can be self-adjusted as the day goes on.

  9. Yeah, Tammi usually has to fix everything I do to get the kids ready. I can brush with the best of them, but every pony tail or braid that I have ever tried has gone horribly wrong. Actually, my biggest weakness is tights. Grace usually wears tights to church, and for some reason I always put them on backwards. I mean, they are tights for crying out loud--do they really have a front and a back? It must from me that Grace gets her knack for putting her shoes on the wrong feet EVERY SINGLE TIME.

  10. Kira puts her shoes on the wrong feet almost every time, too! Maybe their funky sense of style tells them that shoes should point out instead of in, b/c it's too frequent to be just happening by accident...

  11. Crystal says, "Honestly. Using clips is just about one of the easiest hairstyles. Try a french braid sometime!"

    Camille says, "We can help you learn. We will be down as soon as possible."

    I guess you can see which is the Good Twin and which the Bad Twin this morning.

    Auntie S.


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