My daughter’s current defining physical characteristic is her curly hair. You see her, you see her hair.
Like her brother, she doesn’t care much about her hair but for some reason she doesn’t want it cut right now, and that’s fine. When it comes to parenting and hair I only have two rules; it must be brushed every day and it must be out of your eyes (and nose). So clips and rubber-bands it is.
I work very hard to subdue my adulation towards my children’s appearance. I strive to talk only about how they feel, never about how they look.
But it’s hard. Lord, it’s hard.
My tongue hurts from all the biting.
There is nothing, nothing, nothing more adorable than my three-year-old in a hair clip but I can’t tell her that, not until she divines her own beauty. What do I want my daughter to know? That her appearance is her own. Her looks are to please and provide for no one but herself and as she comes full of herself and into her own, I will support her whether straightened or cropped, dyed or dangling. I will gush. I will swoon. I will compliment her choices. Until then I nod and simply ask “How do you feel? Good? Wonderful!” and smile my silent adulation.
Every moment of motherhood is noticed; to my reflection I now say “I need a haircut!” rather than “I hate my hair.” I’m not “fat”, my pants are simply too tight. I don’t “look like crap”, I need to rest more. Personal grooming. There are snacks to make and clothes to fold and toilets to scrub but there is also beauty to be divined and I work too to make that path clear.