When I was 6, I
donned my mother's pantyhose and wore them on my head. They were my very own
long, luxuriant pantyhose hair. What
necessitated my resorting to this was the fact that my mother kept cutting my
hair into one of those "cute little pixie cuts." I got expert at layering
several pairs, so that I could braid and style my many-legged pantyhose hair.
I was never allowed to wear my beautiful hosiery hair out in public, but at
home I gloried in it. I promised myself, with all the fierce determination of
my 6-year old self, that if I ever had a daughter, I would never, ever, cut
my little girl's hair.
So, when I found out that I was going to have a little girl, I had two reactions.
First, I felt an absolute feather tickle of joy throughout my body. Second,
I was suffused with a fierce maternal protection towards my little girl's heretofore-unseen
Imagine with what joy I looked forward to my little girl's Rapunzel-like ringlets.
All of my thwarted longing for flowing tresses, all of my impeded desire for
an enviable mane, my long hair envy, would be made right, accounted for, sublimated
by my own daughter's inviolate strands. I went into a veritable frenzy, buying
hair accessories. Hair bows, hair bands, hair clips, hair scrunchies, little
hair bows that attached by Velcro — I bought them all. I bought every color
of the rainbow and every pattern that I could find. My little girl actually
had more hair accessories than she could ever hope to wear, unless of course
I adorned her head with four or five at a time, which I did not consider out
of the question or in any way extreme.
I was only mildly discouraged when Jasmine Rain was born with very little hair — just a light vanilla fuzz. I took to proudly adorning her fuzzy little head
with those headbands for newborns that look like a garter belt...
I took my cue from nature. Kittens, puppies, bunnies — all are born practically
hairless. And all, in no time, sport thick luxurious growths. I wasn't worried.
I waited patiently through the first, second and third months. Of course I was
always brushing and lavishing unstinting attention on the little bit of encouragement
that was there in the form of blonde dandelion fluff. Then in the fourth month,
there was still no hair. I started to worry. I read the articles on hair growth
and developmental expectations. I quizzed friends and co-workers about their
experiences. And I stared forlornly at the heads of the thickly-haired babies
that seemed to accost my stricken eyes everywhere I went. What was I doing wrong?
The ribbons, bows and assorted hopefuls sat dusty on her closet shelf — a sad
testament to my so-recent optimistic expectations. I was horrified to hear the
same words uttered in regard to Jazzy that had so mortified me as a child —
"What a cute little boy!" — always offered in the heartiest and most
jovial of manners. But still I maintained hope. Every little tuft of growth
was greeted with excited enthusiasm and happy pleasure.
Finally, when Jazzy turned two, I was rewarded for my patience and faith. Her
hair began to grow. Whether it was just time for it to grow, or whether it was
the naked-with-a-carved-wooden-mask-on-ceremonial-hair-growing dance I did that
accomplished it, I just don't know. Whatever the reason, it was now my supreme
pleasure to contemplate the appropriate adorning of Jazzy's hair.
Unfortunately, contemplate it is all I've been able to do. Would you believe
that every time I try to put her hair in pigtails, Jazzy squeals a high-pitched
scream and will absolutely not allow me to do it? Would you believe that every
headband I put lovingly on her head is yanked off immediately in the most annoyed
manner? Can you credit the fact that now that her hair is at the right length
to finally utilize her extensive hair fashion wardrobe, she vehemently refuses
to do so?
I've read that asserting her opinions and preferences is the first step on the
road to developing independence. I've read that it shows a healthy level of
self-confidence and incipient autonomy. I'm trying to look on the bright side
and I am happy that she has a very opinionated little mind of her own. But still...
It has been a little disillusioning for me. And frankly, I'm starting to worry
that Jazzy will be the exact opposite of me, hate long hair, and feel like I forced it on her; end up shaving her head just to get back at me. I hope
by the time she is old enough to do that, I will be peacefully accepting of
her in whatever guise she chooses to coif herself.
Maybe I'll have shaved my own head by then too — in utter frustration!
At least for now, sometimes, Jazzy does allow a stylish hat.
Authors Note: This article, printed in various newspapers and magazines
throughout the United States and internationally, is
included in the best selling book, "Chicken Soup for the Mother & Daughter
Soul". It can be read in its entirety there, along with other stories and
articles dealing with the many facets of the Mother & Daughter relationship
First North American publication print rights for this article have been sold.
For availability of this article's reprint rights in your distribution area,
and for information about other articles like it, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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