It was only a few months ago that Opal allowed me to cut her hair and I already look back longingly.
Granted, it was a quick, two-person, less-than-accurate job. She was splashing around in the bathtub with daddy when mommy swooped in, danced and briefly conversed with the Squirting Pishy and cross-eyed family of Good-Plastic Frogs before leaning over with the scissors and snip—snip—snip. I was out of there before either she or Jesse realized what had happened. It was such a fly-by-night affair that both Jesse and I were dying to see how it looked when she woke up in the morning.
It turned out fine. Better than fine, as a matter-of-fact. That kind of luck doesn't come around twice in a row and I knew it would behoove me to plan accordingly.
It is currently a very different story. Opal's hair is so long and shaggy that it snarls into mats and knots every time she wakes from a nap, as if her hair had been battling it out between her skull and the sheets. Truth be told, there is one such tangle at the very back of her head that is immune to any brush or comb, thick like rope and frayed at the end. In the time between its birth and when I finally choose to just lop it off, I attempt to fold it under the other hair, fluff the remaining tresses around it so as to detract from it's loud implication of un-keptness.
Who is she trying to fool? Whisper, whisper.
Opal is now able to see scissors coming from across the room, even from behind. Must be the metallic glint, I don't quite know. The moment I get within a few feet of her precious skull, she begins fiercely shaking her head like a wild thing, up-down, back-forth, as if a Nine Inch Nails tune had just busted through the speakers. And it doesn't help that the aversion to scissors accompanies a resent aversion to barrettes and bows and the like. The life of a barrette that mercifully offers the possibility of keeping her hair from her eyes is short lived. Either she pulls it out or her rumpus toddler ways leave it dangling impotently by a thread before plopping to the floor.
At least there is the option of the hat. Let us not forget the glory of the hat.
There you have it. Not that big of a deal, right? But for some reason, it drives me batty to have a child who strongly resembles the guitarist from an Eighties Hair Band. Yet, there is not much I can do about it, shy of holding her down against her will while perched in one of those barbershop swivel-seats beneath the heavy hands of an unfamiliar hair-stylist, thus instilling a life-long phobia of haircuts.
Get used to it, our pediatrician's nurse said, paraphrased, in the midst of providing reassurance around Opal's oft-selective eating habits.
This is only the beginning. She then handed us a convenient list of what we can and cannot control around the dinner table (You can control what you feed your child, the time, the mood, etc. You cannot control what he eats, what he likes, his weight.) Bless that little list. As obvious as it may seem, it is a tride-and-true reminder of where things often go astray, where the tightness threatens to seep in: attempting to control the uncontrollable.
I find myself whipping up these kinds of lists all over the place, like helpful graffiti penned onto situations, my baby, myself.
And I am, at least temporarily I would say, a better mom for it.