I grew up with two sisters close in age to me, so when I
ended up with four little daughters of my own in a 6-and-a-half-year period,
I thought I knew what I was in for.
Buckets of tears? Sure. Wild swinging between the best of
friends and the worst of enemies? Sign me up. Twirly dresses and terrifying
acrobatics on the trampoline, and a love for all things pink? I was ready (even
if my favorite color has always been blue).
But I was utterly unprepared for the hair.
It’s probably fairly impossible to imagine having little
girls without at least some momentary thought about pigtails and hair bows and
headbands. But I did not fully grasp how much of my life would be
consumed by their hair. I had no idea
that being mom to four little girls meant doing hair would
become my full-time job.
My children are all blessed with unbelievable bedhead, so
walking out the door without doing their hair isn’t really an option, unless I
want to risk being mistaken for a pack of feral cats skulking into the grocery
So leaving the house for school, church, a day trip or just
a library run means not only making sure all four children are clothed and have
shoes on, but also that their hair is done.
Of course, my girls’ feelings about their hair vacillate
more wildly than May temperatures. Some days, they fuss and complain if I even
try to brush it. Other days (usually the days when we are in the biggest hurry),
they insist the only hairstyle that will suffice is an incredibly
elaborate Elsa braid.
Worse still are the mornings where they resist any hairstyle
at all and then, when I’ve given up after a few brush strokes, they decide as we’re
walking out the door that, no, actually, they’d love a big fancy crown braid.
"Just kidding about the 10 minutes of sobbing, mom!"
My own hair at those
moments is in real danger of being pulled completely out.
Predicably, when I do bestow the longed-for Elsa braids or
other elaborate YouTube worthy hairstyles (I lie, I do nothing YouTube worthy), seven minutes later, they are rolling around on the
floor or putting blankets over their heads. That painstakingly made braid now
looks like a giant rat’s nest.
No offense to rats.
And those tiny rubber bands? Forget rabbits, NOTHING
multiplies like those tiny elastics. They are everywhere in my house, scattered
along every crevice of the floor in my bathroom and my girls’ bathroom from the
dozens of times my children have spilled the box that holds them.
I’m constantly picking up twisted and broken rubber
bands from the kitchen counter, the couch, the bathroom counter and the car
where my girls decided they were done having braids or pigtails for the day and
pulled them out, discarding them wherever they were.
Except when we get together with my family for a big group
photo and while I’m brushing and curling and braiding and bestowing hair bows,
my sisters, who both only have boys, do a cursory brush of their sons’ hair and, like magic, they are completely presentable.
At those moments, I admit to a tinge of jealousy for those
little buzz-cut boys.
Right now, my fourth daughter is so little that her hair is
more like peach fuzz and “doing” her hair means slipping a little hairband
around her tiny noggin and calling it a day.