Sunday, June 20, 2010

Little Blonde Braids

This past week, I had to take Ada into an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist to make sure all is well and that her adenoids aren't the cause of the cough that causes her to throw up. When I picked her up from day care to go to our appointment, she had the cutest french braids in her hair.

Normally, this wouldn't really be noteworthy but... I have to pin her down and listen to her scream and push me away if I even try to brush her hair--which I've given up on completely--let alone put it up for her. Then the day care ladies go and do this. So I had to ask, what is their secret? Do they torture her? Or are they secretly bribing her with something really awesome that I don't know about?

As it turns out, Ms. Ana did this while Ada was eating breakfast. That's all it took. Just a little bit of a distraction. I've tried combing it while she is watching a movie, or otherwise occupied, with little luck. I think it's a thing against moms. Kids tend to not want their moms to do their hair, but anyone else can. At least that's been my experience. I will say she doesn't let Rick comb it often either so it isn't all me.

The interesting part of all of this is that, when I woke up the morning this all happened, I had had a dream that my mom cut Ada's hair really short into an awful style that was beyond bad--not bad for some kids but not an acceptable style for my child by any means -- and I was so upset that I woke up from the dream and had to calm myself down. I warned my mother when Ada was first born (in real life mind you) that if she ever went near my child with scissors or enlisted anyone else to do so, all her rights and her title of grandmother would be immediately and permanently revoked. I think she understands that I'm not kidding when I say this because I frequently remind her just how much I hated every haircut I had as a kid past about age 3. The wedge, the feathered look, the poofy bangs -- some of these were popular trends at the time so I give her the benefit of the doubt and only blame her for the majority of them, not all of them. But when I wanted a perm so I'd have body and curl like the models, she didn't advise me against it and I ended up looking like a poodle. And not a cute poodle. More like an old poodle with bald spots and a cone around his neck. BAD. The red wire-rimmed glasses surely didn't help matters.

And it wasn't like she took me to hair "stylists" either. She took me to get my hair cut. There was no real "style" involved. There is a reason I travel 45 minutes to get my hair cut from a friend, in her basement now after she's been at two previous locations, and have been doing so for nine years. She trained under people who learned from Mario Trococi. She understands how to work with really thick hair. She gets me. My hair looks good a few months after I cut it because she understands how it will grow out. And she doesn't encourage me to dye my hair or highlight it or low light it because that's the cool thing to do. She knows that isn't me and I won't maintain it and I'll end up looking like a rat. She's a stylist and an advisor, guiding me to make decisions that protect me from the snarls and dirty, catty looks of other women -- which I still get for my poor sense of fashion, but at least it's minimized a bit and more manageable.

At 31 years old, my mother's influence on my style still haunts me. The emotional scars I have from being far from "cool" growing up are one thing I have no intention of inflicting upon my child. I pledge to protect her from mullet haircuts, mohawks, bad dye jobs, split ends, unhealthy hair, ill-fitting clothing, bangs that start back way further than they should, and fashion decisions that just aren't flattering. That doesn't mean I'll buy her designer stuff or go out of my way to spare no expense on her sense of style. It just means I plan to make a conscious effort to make sure that she has the foundation to make good style decisions on her own when the time comes. And I'll consult and confer with the appropriate professionals as needed. Until then, I'll make style decisions for her that enhance her cuteness and reduce her dork factor. That's my duty as her mother.

No offense mom, but I was a mega dork. I know you did your best and your heart was in the right place. The fashion fairies just weren't with you as I was growing up. I still love you anyway.

Moral of the story: As a parent, you have a great influence on your child's fashion sense and style. Be sure to wield that power with the utmost care and caution.

No comments: