The plan was simple. I was going to be a mom who knew which battles to pick. That is, I wasn’t going to sweat it when my kids wanted to plaster the walls of their room with obscure German punk bands or vintage Ralph Macchio posters. I also wasn’t going to power struggle over their clothing choices so long as their private parts were covered. When it came to their bodies, my guiding principle was to let them be. I was prepared to honor just about anything they did in the name of creativity and self-expression.
Then, my actual child started asking me for a hair cut. My daughter, she of the lovely curls around which I had woven a bit of an identity, wanted a short, short hair cut. Like any good mother committed to honoring her daughter’s process, I ignored her. I literally refused to engage in a conversation about her cutting off all of her curls. I think the technical term is DENIAL.
Because she’s smarter than I am, she started pointing out people who had hair she wanted. She held up a Harry Potter book and said, “This, Mama.” In public, she voiced her desires, knowing I couldn’t very well ignore her all the way through Target. And I couldn’t.
But I also couldn’t very well say to her, “No, honey, that’s not what you want.” Rule numero uno in my parenting manifesto was (and is) Don’t invalidate children’s reality. She wants what she wants.
Plan B was to hope she changed her mind.
It’s not working. The only reason I have any solid ground on which to stand for not marching her over to Snippets Hair Salon is that sometimes she changes her mind. Like when she begs for strawberry ice cream and then cries because she really wanted chocolate. Or when she desperately wants to go to the park only to reach hysterics when she leans she had to forego a chance to take a bike ride.
She’s four. She’s fickle. I can’t very well take her at her word about something as drastic as a haircut, can I?
But I never wanted to be a mom that treated my kids like dolls to dress up and force to conform to my vision. I also never thought a four-year-old girl would want to chop all of her hair off.
It’s a dilemma. Next time she brings it up, I swear I will make an appointment and take her at her word. I’ll let fate decide what happens to her glorious curls. And if the end up on the salon floor, I’ll sweep them up and make myself a wig, since I’m the one who loves the damn curls so much.
For more on my curl quandary, clickety click here.