Know what’s weird? Kids change their minds about things in the blink of an eye. One week they’re eating two pounds of strawberries a day and I can’t buy enough to keep up; the next, nobody likes strawberries and we have six pounds of them growing mould in our fridge. While Mr. December is often right when he says that the best predictor of future performance is past performance, that seems to be untrue when it comes to our kids. They surprise us all the time.
Ever since the great dreadlock de-tangling of 2020 a couple of weeks ago, R has been a bit better about agreeing to have her hair brushed daily. But a few days ago she shocked the heck out of me by asking for “Laura Ingalls hair.” Then E, who wants to do everything R does, piped up that she wanted “Laura hair” too.
R’s been reading the Little House series, you see, and is fascinated with all things Laura. She tells us all about the intricacies of pioneer life: about how they built a door with no nails, how a sod house was built, and (obviously) how Laura and Mary wore their hair (in braids, Laura’s always tied with pink ribbons, and Mary’s with blue.)
Even though I don’t generally force or coerce my kids to brush their hair, I’m happy to do it for them when they ask me. I let them watch something on my phone while I work, which gives me time to do it neatly and gives them a distraction from the pain of having their knots brushed out. They watching Netflix happily while I watch their hair go from a messy tangle to long, smooth, shimmering spun gold.
It’s probably something evolutionary that makes grooming my kids so satisfying (I draw the line at eating stuff that I find in their hair, though.) It’s also a very sweet and tender moment — when they’re not screaming, “Ow! Too hard!” As they get bigger and more independent, and I increasingly respond to their requests with some variation of “Do it yourself,” braiding their hair is something I can do for them, sitting right up close and caressing their hair while I brush and then braid. Maybe that’s why they like it too.
(Who am I kidding? They’re mostly in it for the screen time.)
Whatever the reason, I’m relieved that the dreadlock days are over — for now — and I get to enjoy admiring not one, but two little girls with golden braids.