I used to dream of pigtails. Pigtails wrapped in ribbons, ribbons that matched dresses and pretty little shoes. There was a time that I dreamed of braids. I pictured a little girl with braids wrapping the side of her head. Big eyes, a beautiful smile and little ribbon tipped braids wrapping right around her little head.
Reality consists of the big eyes and the beautiful smile but something is missing. No ribbons. No pigtails. No braids.
I tried. I tried so hard. The minute I found out I was having a girl I bought pretty little headbands for newborns and they sat, on top of the dresser, anxiously awaiting a little newborn head to adorn. The minute I wrapped it around her almost bald head she fussed. She whined and squished her eyes shut and tried with all her might to get that headband off. She wiggled and rubbed her head trying to remove the offending object and eventually learned how to pull it right off.
And so began the battle of the hair.
Ms. J was not born with a full head of hair. For the first year of her life she had just a spattering of blond hair evenly spread on her head. As time went on her hair became thicker, fuller and longer and grew quite evenly. It remained a beautiful shade of blonde. As her hair got longer I began to attempt clips, headbands, barrettes all in anticipation of the day I could finally put her hair in ponytails and *gasp* braids!
She was having none of it. Ponytails were destroyed, clips ripped out of her head in anger and headbands didn’t last a minute. She barely let me brush her hair let alone style it.
My dreams were being shattered one blonde strand at a time.
She quickly learned how to say “No pony” while wagging her little finger in my face and I was forced to accept that she was not going to let me play hairdresser. With time I grew to love her shaggy locks. It was her. Her own self-proclaimed style and I was proud of her for not giving in, just to make me happy.
And then… along came Frozen and everything changed. Suddenly she is obsessed with braids. She wants braids like Anna and Elsa. She actually asks me to do braids and willingly hops up on the couch beside me. I can barely contain my excitement.
EXCEPT…there’s a slight issue…
I can’t braid to save my life!
Somehow, rather than looking like the beautiful braids in my dreams, they look lopsided and unkempt. Hair sticks out all around and they are not at all neat. I have redone them over and over without getting anywhere. I sit with Ms. J on my lap, iPad next to me studying You Tube videos titled “Simple French braid in minutes” and it is the opposite of simple and takes hours not minutes. Finally giving up when Ms. J turned to me, cupping my face in her palms, whispered, “It’s ok if you can’t do it mummy”.
I can’t braid.
Maybe that might be why I lean towards keeping my own hair short. Maybe I was hoping to live my long flowy hair dreams through my daughter. I spent a few tortured evenings, feeling like the worst mum on the planet because, I mean, c’mon I can’t even braid my daughter’s hair!
Until, finally, I just accepted my shortcomings. I do a lot of things well. Hairdressing is not one of them. So I turn to Nanas, babysitters, aunties and friends. We have an amazing support system of women who are fully capable of braiding hair. They might have to be the go to hairdressers for now while I practice my skills with You Tube tutorials and dolly hair.