There were lots of things no one told me about parenting. Sure, everyone warns you about the sleepless nights, the infant crying jags, diaper changes. No one tells you that toddler girls whine like teenage girls, or that there will be days you swear your four year old is suffering from PMS.
Mary loves her hair. She loves that it's blonde and, ever since seeing "Tangled," she loves that it's long. My rule is that she can grow it as long as she wants as long as she lets me take care of it. The minute she fights me about washing, brushing or tying back, we go in for a stylish reverse bob just like the yuppie preschoolers around town. The more her hair grows, the more creative I have to get with keeping it out of her face.
Today Mary patiently let me work on French braids, and in the mid afternoon I attempted a fancier style, a braid that started over her right ear and went across the top of her head. It was really good for keeping her growing-out bangs out of her eyes and it was beautiful.
"Mary, you look so pretty," I gushed, quite proud of my handiwork. "You have princess hair! We can do this for school tomorrow! Go see in the mirror!"
Mary crumpled into a ball on the sofa beside me.
"Mary, what's wrong? Is it pulling?"
"I HATE MY HAIR LIKE THIS! I DON'T WANT TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR! I DON'T WANT IT LIKE THIS AT ALL! I WANT TO BE ALLLLLLOOOOOOONNNNNNEEEE!"
Oh dear lord, okay, five minutes ago we were chattering animatedly about princesses and toys and all kinds of happy things. She dramatically flung herself down the hall and into her room, where she proceeded to sob and sob about her hair. Why she didn't just take the elastic out is beyond me, but we had surpassed logic long ago. She came out of her room.
"Mary, are you done now? It really does look pretty." Cousin Sarah concurred.
"I HATE IT!" Back to her room. Flounce, holler, sob. Repeat several times. Back out of the room. She paused at the living room, waiting for me to talk. The Bad Mother On My Shoulder overcame me.
"Mary, your hair looks horrible," I said. "You'd better go take that braid out, it looks awful."
"NOOOOO! I WANT MY PRINCESS HAIR!!!!"
"Well, okay, I guess, if it's what you really want."
"I DO! I WANT TO WEAR IT TO SCHOOL TOMORROW!!! PLEASE, MOMMY, PLEASE!"
"I guess so..."
"Yay!" She's all smiles now. "Want to play princesses?"
Sure, hon, right after Mommy makes herself a coffee and then "makes it Irish."