Isabella DOES NOT LIKE HAVING HER HAIR BRUSHED.
And I could end this post right there. But I won’t. I’ll go on and on in a tedious sort of whine, complaining about my daughter’s hair. Or not her hair, exactly, but her. Not that I’m complaining about my own daughter. Except that I think that’s what I just wrote. I don’t know. Don’t judge me.
I love Isabella’s hair. It’s positively magical. It’s long and light blond and silky and curly (except for where it’s frizzy, around her temples). She was born with a little fuzzy mop of it, like cornsilk on a corncob. When she was a baby I’d reverently roll a curl between my fingers and think, “Gossamer.”
When she was very very little, I’d wash it every day in the bath, but then it became dry and brittle and even started falling out. I went to the other extreme and quit washing it nearly altogether, which was fine with her since she HATED having her hair washed because she was terrified of getting water in her eyes. I also (ahem) hardly ever brushed it, because the tangles could neatly be disguised as curls. But then the longer I’d wait between washings and brushings, the worse it was when I finally DID do those things.
One time (OK, several times; don’t judge me) I waited so long in between washings that yellow gooky stuff appeared on her scalp, probably the residue of sweat and skin flakes and dirt and who knows what else. It was just GROSS. And OF COURSE I blame myself. Isabella didn’t care in the slightest about the yellow gook, but I knew my laziness and inability to wrangle with Isabella over hair issues—my sheer desire to avoid any kind of horrible screaming tantrum that I knew would ensue once I got out the shampoo and brush—bordered on criminal neglect.
But last year I decided to lay down the law and demand that she submit to daily brushings and, uh, slightly more frequent washings, like once every couple weeks. FINE. ONCE A MONTH. Don’t judge me. I carefully and calmly explained to her that brushing once a day would be much, much, much easier that brushing only every once in a while. She considered this, and seemed to see the sense in it.
But when it actually comes time for the daily brushing, in the morning before school, she’s ALWAYS reluctant. She always whines and whimpers and twitches and looks back at me with red-hot accusation in her eyes. I think she believes that I am hurting her ON PURPOSE.
How do I explain that I’m brushing her hair because I love her, and it’s my job to take care of her, and I was a complete slacker on this count for many, many years, and I was a bad bad bad bad mother, but now I’m reformed and I’m like all the other responsible mommies who brush their children’s hair every day? How do I explain that the pain of having her hair brushed translates into LOVING KIND GOOD MOMMY and not EVIL MALICIOUS TORTURING HARRIDAN?
I don’t. I mean, I’ve tried to explain. She just doesn’t buy it.
Which is why last year I got frustrated and cut a couple inches off of her hair. I could do that again, but I just don’t have the heart. Isabella loves her long hair, even if the price is daily brushing, and more importantly, SO DO I. I can’t do the chop-chop again, not when I look at her recently brushed tresses, flowing in a shining river over her shoulders and down her back. Her hair is like part of her identity, a glowing beacon that advertises her presence in the room. I look at it and I remember when she was a baby and I twirled her curls between my fingers and thought, “Gossamer.” I still think “gossamer.” And “sunshine” and “honey” and “gold.” SO NO CUTTING, OK?
But anyway, I hope this explains why I didn’t brush her hair at all from June until September. Don’t—oh, go ahead. Judge me.