I am sufficiently inspired by the Baba’s latest divine-children-inspired post over at Lesbian Dad (read Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow ) to want to add my two cents beyond the little comment box.
Rocky has wonderfully curly, soft brown hair, prone to dryness and splitting and multitudes of strangers who want to touch it and say, “OH lookatyourHAIR I wish I had curls like that!” Rukan and I are protective of Rocky’s hair, with a daily routine that involves cushioning it from the elements with shea butter and leave-in conditioner, combing out the relentless nest of tiny knots that somehow constantly form, and as a post-ordeal prize, treating our mini diva femme princess girl to braids, sparkly bobby pins, spritzy ponytail holders and myriad pink butterfly- and flower-shaped hair clips.
Occasionally (like, once a week) I dye my hair, because I am the canvas for my artistic self-expression. Upon observing a speckling of grays that have sprouted in the front over the past few years, I’ve taken to dying dark brown everything but the front, so the grays will sparkle in the sun. Yes, I think like that. Hell, I EARNED the damned gray hair. I’m not about to cover it up. (My friend Kirk once gave me a button that said “I’ve survived damn near everything”. I attached it to my orthotic boot and wore it to therapy.)
Rocky sees everything I do, and hears everything that is said in the house. Even if she’s ensconced in a book in the corner of her bedroom, if something is happening in the house that she wants in on, she can see it happening, through the wall or something. She’s very interested in the hair-dyeing process. She helps me choose the right color at the store (“Well Rocky, bright red IS a great color – but I have a job interview tomorrow. How ’bout this nice, cheap box of brown?”). She likes when I put the funny plastic hat on while the color sets. She likes to watch the water in the shower run brown and icky into the drain. She watches, and she waits.
Until the day came that she said, “I want to dye my hair.” It was just a peep, a tiny moment. Rukan and I were very quiet, then changed the subject. Rocky went off in a different direction. But it’ll return, and I foresee mild trouble between the parents, as we have some differing ideas on what is an appropriate level of self-determination in our creative, independent three year old child, as she begins to explore and abuse all that is hers.
Rocky has asked to cut her own hair before. That’s also something she sees me do, with a clipper, scissors and two mirrors. But you know, she actually asked – as opposed to yours truly, who when only slightly older than Rockster sneakily took scissors to bangs and ruined the school photo. Oh, and I blamed it on my older sister. Anyway, we’ve held that one off by agreeing that Rocky could cut her dolls’ and toy animals’ hair with her play scissors and supervision. We’ll see how long that works.
Which leads me to, HOLY CANNOLI . I was doing my bedtime routine last night, brushing my teeth and such. For fun, I tried parting my hair in different places. I swept the front over to the left, and there, hidden all these months under my natural dishwater blonde, was a veritable rat’s nest of gray hair. I mean, not the spattering of grays I’d noticed before – it was a wide swath of metallic shine, like someone had come in at night with a fairy paintbrush and painted a big, wide streak of sparkly silver onto my head. I’m staring at myself in the mirror, thinking, when the hell did THAT happen?? I showed it to Ru, who did not act properly alarmed. She’s been seeing her share of gray for years now, being in her forties and all. If we all follow our elders, Rukan will be 99 and still have beautiful, thick black hair mixed in with her silver, I’ll be 89 and dirty gray instead of dirty dark blond, and Rocky will have curly blue streaks in her self-styled hair, a butterfly tattoo on her shoulder and several piercings she’ll be advised not to show off on her blog.