Friday, July 2, 2010

A tale of two pigtails

Little Miss does not want ANYTHING on her hair. No hair clips. No hair bands. Not even hats. And it’s exasperating. There goes the additional protection from the sun as recommended by the experts. Naturally, I turn on worried-mom mode now that there’s a new hysteria on sunscreen; turns out the experts recently reported that certain ingredients in what we’ve been conditioned by the experts to rely on FOR YEARS to protect us from harmful UV rays may actually be accelerating, not preventing, skin cancer. W.T.F.

Anyway, back to my original rant. You know, the more important stuff, like pigtails. Or rather, the lack thereof. Little Miss was born with a full head of hair, and I may have shuddered at the thought of all the pink that I may have to live with around the house, but I did harbor delicious daydreams of a little girl in pigtails riding in her red wagon or chasing iridescent bubbles. Because, really, I can’t think of anything cuter than a girl in pigtails. Maybe a little girl and her kitten sleeping together in a basket. But that’s it.

At brunch this past weekend, we managed to distract her long enough to get her hair up. She was so taken by the people and place that she had forgotten to defy us. For a brief (but wonderful) period throughout our meal, she was that little girl of my dreams. 




Then it dawned on her that she looked cute (how dare we!) and off came the hair ties, and together with them my vision of perfection. I wonder what gave it away. Was it my incessant pleas for her to smile for the (camera) phone? (Which she does, by the way, complete with the fake smile summoned by saying “Eeeeee”.) I reached out for her hair again, and she stated very clearly, emphatically, “No.” It was an assertion. A choice. Her choice. I stopped when I realized that my pigtail frenzy wasn’t undoing a harm she’s causing herself, nor was she making a terrible mistake, a frequently cited reason for intervention; I was merely imposing my own preference on her. And it’s not right. As Sarah says about raising her son, “I can teach him, protect him, guide him, and love him. With that, I must respect his needs, his desires and his preferences as much I expect him to respect mine.”

Yes, that is a parenting wisdom for which I would like to strive. That is not to say that her decisions alone will dictate our relationship. There is a fine line between empowering and being rendered powerless. I just need to be better at distinguishing the two. For now, I will let her hair be, and I supposed I should even be proud that my Little Miss, barely 20 months old, is already her own little person.


Eee1 “Eeee…”



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