The Girl has long hair, still basically of the sort that she had when she was a baby. This means that it is of a colour that is of undetermined hue, so full of highlights as it is; auburn, brown, blonde, all live together in glorious harmony on that head. It’s as if it’s still deciding what colour to land on.
I suspect that it will darken to chestnut, or perhaps darker. Both her mother and I are of Celtic origin (although I’m Anglo-Celtic, and her mum is of Franco-Celtic stock). And both of us had the same colour of hair when we were kids, too. Dark hair is inevitable.
But, the greater issue is that the Girl’s hair is extremely fine. This is also a genetic inevitability, or if not inevitable than certainly not surprising. My hair, what remains anyway, is also extremely fine, picking up any, any, trace of static electricity in the air.
The problem though, is that she may have inherited her Mum’s natural wave and tendency to curl, which means that her hair is also easily tangled. So, hair-brushing is important. Very important. But, often it’s a bit of an ordeal, too.
Now, there are scores and scores of anti-tangling products out there, and lots of expensive bottles of shampoo too, to get the tangles out, or at least discourage them. But, for various reasons I won’t get into here, the Girl doesn’t always get her bath at night before she goes to sleep on her luxurious locks. Hair-brushing doesn’t often get done either on these nights, I suspect. It’s easy to inextricably twin one activity and another, after all. It’s certainly easier to brush her (very, very prone to static) hair when it’s wet. Although those products work, there’s only so much they can do if the hair remains unbrushed.
So, when I brush her hair, sometimes it’s a long, drawn-out exercise in unpleasantness, and in tears. I hate it. I mean, I like the act of brushing her hair. It’s an intimate act, a loving act – when the tangles are out, and I can do it gently, without the painful snags. But, I hate making her cry.
My vote, of course, would be to have her hair cut much shorter. I’m not talking G.I Jane, or anything. But, maybe to her shoulders, as opposed to down her back. But, the Girl is (as has been established) closer to the Princess end of the girl-spectrum. Her long hair is attached to her identity, I think, just as it is to everyone else’s in this culture of ours. She should have a say in how she wears it, as young as she is. I plan to keep that policy when she gets older and decides to get a mohawk, or whatever late 2010s-2020s version of that will be.
But, I still hate making her cry. I don’t particularly want her to have memories of me yanking (although I don’t have to yank for it to hurt…) at her hair, tangled up in a brush. But frankly too, I don’t want her going around with a bird’s nest on her head either. I suppose there is the presentation aspect in place here. Maybe that doesn’t really matter, ultimately. Maybe it’s more about me, than it is about her on that front.
I don’t know.
Maybe this is just about me needing to let go a bit, which is an exercise I will need to engage in as long as I’m a parent, I think. Maybe too, I need to realize that I can’t work out every kink and tangle for her that comes along, whether it’s hair-brushing, or managing a broken heart. One can only be there when the crying does happen, and do what one needs to do with what is on hand in any given moment, even if it’s tough to do so.
Onto every head, some tangles must snag.