Kids are so mean. If they find one thing that makes a peer different they’ll ride that one thing until tears or therapy ensues. My daughter has been getting picked on all school year but I didn’t find out about it until last week when she finally broke down into tears and blurted everything out.
Typically when she gets off the bus she’s bubbly and happy to be home. Last Wednesday she came off the bus with her head down and two steps up the driveway she burst into tears. She waited until the bus had pulled away and then let the sobs shake her shoulders. My daughter has a bully. Everyday after school I always asked her how her day was. She’s getting to the age where monosyllabic answers are the way to talk to a parent. “How was your day?” “Fine. What’s for snack.” That’s what I would get. The day she came off the bus crying I rushed to her and threw my arms around her shoulders and asked her what was wrong. She shook her head like she wasn’t going to tell me. I asked three more times trying different inflections of my voice to try to get her to give up what was going on. Finally she let it all roll out.
“Alissa picks on me everyday about my hair and I’m tired of it. I’ve been tired of it but today she said something about you and my hair. She sad ‘Doesn’t your momma ever do anything about that mop?’ and I wanted to punch her but I knew I would get in trouble.”
I hugged her tight and praised her for not using violence. I was touched that she was as upset with me being brought into the picture as she was about being picked on about her hair. As soon as she was out of ear shot I was on the phone making an appointment to the hair salon where I get my hair cut.
I think my daughter’s hair makes her look whimsical. It’s as curly as telephone cords in the front so her face is framed with little wisps of boing-boing curls. The rest of her hair falls in lumps of waves. If she wasn’t my daughter and I was describing someone else’s hair I guess I would have to describe it as wild and unkempt. Every few months we go to a hair salon and pour through the books of styles trying to pick the right one that would work for her hair. She’s only in the sixth grade and doesn’t want to have to use a straight iron everyday (or a brush for that matter). We try to agree on a style that would work for her and that she could do herself. It never works. She’s too impatient with her hair to care as much as other people sometimes do. She’s much more content to throw her hair in a ponytail everyday and put a headband on to pull her boing-boing curls tight to her scalp (side note: we call her tight curls her “crazy ideas” because they stick out at odd angles from her face almost like a cartoon character who’s fuming about something).
I took my daughter to Wal-mart to buy hair magazines so we could try, again, to pick out a manageable hairstyle. I tried suggesting she just get her hair cut short so she wouldn’t have to deal with it. She’s too in love with the idea of a ponytail to have even an inch cut off of it.
Finally the day of her appointment came. My hairstylist took one look at her and had one word to say, “Perm.” My first thought was that of me at her age sitting in the barber chair with tons of tiny curlers in my hair so I could do my best to achieve mall hair. She didn’t need any more curls. What in the world did this man see? Apparently my thoughts were visible on my face and he explained what he would do. He would flat iron her hair then put the chemical in, rinse it out, dry her hair again and flat iron it again then put the second chemical on, rinse, dry flat iron again and she would have straight hair, dream hair for my daughter. My daughter’s eyes lit up for the first time in days. She looked at me waiting for me to say yes. I looked at those pleading eyes and couldn’t say no. When I nodded my head she leapt into my arms and gave me a bone-crushing hug. “Momma, thank you so much for doing this for me,” she said. For the first time in my life I felt like I was really doing something for my daughter. Yeah, I’d done birthday parties and Christmas presents and the like, but those things were expected. This was completely different. I was doing something that I didn’t have to do for the well being of my little girl.
For three hours my daughter and I sat inhaling the stench of her perm. With each passing minute she was getting more impatient to see the results. It was such an amazing transformation. Her hair made her look happier. It made her hair so much longer now that the curls were taken out. It made her eyes sparkle.
Now my daughter bounces off the bus with greasy hair. All of the kids at school are amazed at the transformation and pet her head all day. Ah, the price to pay for beauty, the price to pay for peace is priceless!