Youngest has a lot of hair. And I mean a lot.
She was born with a fairly large quantity of dark hair, just as her eldest brother had been. It grew steadily. For the first few months of her life her hair defied gravity and grew straight up.
Eventually the weight of her hair meant it was no longer able perform such a feat and it fell into a cute sort of bob.
Over the following years it grew and grew and got fairer and by the time she started school it was half way down her back. She had her first proper cut as one of the last things we did together before she left preschool.
When washed and dried it is ram rod straight, just like mine. But usually it is wavy. And that is because it is always plaited.
Her hair is never ‘down’. For several reasons.
- She doesn’t like it down unless she is going to a school disco or eating dinner at a posh foreign hotel.
- I am paranoid about nits.
- She plays a lot of sport and it gets in the way.
- School does not allow such long hair to roam free (probably partly because of reason 2 but also for safety reasons). And…
- It is almost impossible to brush when it has been safely reigned in in plaits never mind when it has been blown free in the wind.
And so her default style is two pigtails. Unless it is a swimming day when we do one pigtail. She also sleeps in one pigtail. To avoid suffocation.
Even so twice a day we have the torment of brushing her hair.
She creates. She screams. She complains.
Yesterday when I tried to get the detangler brush through the ends it was solid with knots. I asked her what she had got in it. She was not sure but knew it was some sort of foodstuff. How? Because she had had to scrape it out after lunch. We narrowed it down to carbonara or jam roly poly. Trust me neither is great in hair. We had to resort to the spray. Even so it took me 15 minutes to tease out all the gunk.
Whichever food stuff it was though it was not as bad as glue. Glue is the ultimate nemesis. I have resorted to scissors before now. Although this brings on hysteria…
If she had informed me earlier in the evening that a foreign substance was in the ends of her hair I would have got her to wash it out. (Glue doesn’t wash out, believe me). That doesn’t work at 7.30pm. Because her hair takes about three hours to dry enough to avoid her risking pneumonia overnight.
We only wash it twice a week. Once on her swimming day. And once after football on Saturdays. That is because chlorine and mud are not great in hair either.
On holiday I need an entire tool kit to deal with her hair. When she has spent 6 hours in a swimming pool her one plait gets sort of fatter but shorter. Presumably it has absorbed a whole load of noxious chemicals.
We employ adult conditioner in the shower. A conditioner and detangler spray after. And the best brush I have ever owned. Well it is our second one. The first broke after one particularly knotty evening. Still my worst record for getting it combed out after a post holiday swimming day is one hour. After that I made her wear a rubber swimming hat. Which helped enormously. She was happy to wear it. To avoid that hour of pain.
She is also not the sort of child who enjoys her hair being played with. She will not sit still whilst we try out different braids or weaves. Even if I knew how to do such things. No this sort of activity would use up time that could be spent more productively booting a ball into a net or flipping on the trampoline.
And then there is her ability to manage it herself. Just recently she has become able to wash it herself. Without leaving most of the shampoo and conditioner in the hair.
But she still cannot brush it or plait it on her own. When she goes on Cub camp she just leaves it in my plaits for two nights. I realise that will not cut it eventually. Our deadline is in two years time when she has to go on a week long residential trip with school.
Of course by then she might agree to a bob. I have mentioned before that she is not a girly girl. And her hair is never down. And so I have suggested that she get it cut. I would gain at least half of an hour of my life back a day. As would she. She refuses.
I suppose that would be a sad day though. Because although it is real pain her hair really is her crowning glory.
My beautiful daughter!