Tag Archives: Hair

Hair Wars revisited

Back in July, I wrote about the Tink Vs. Mom Hair Wars. To recap – we were supposed to be doing Locks for Love. We went the hair salon where Gwen, our favorite stylist, pointed out that 10 inches would mean Tink’s hair would be in a bob. This activated Tink’s Bob Alert System  . . . “Warning! Warning! Fashionable, chic yet manageable hair style ahead. Avoid at all costs. Warning! Warning!” and it was a no go. She got her hair cut to just below her shoulders and figured she’d do Locks of love next time. I declared victory because she cut her hair to a more manageable length, but I think I was stretching the idea of victory a bit. It’s just that after several years of hair brushing whine fests and arguments about pony tails and tangles and “Keep that hair out of your food!” conversations, I was really done with the whole hair thing. She could just have long ratty hair; I gave up.

Imagine my surprise when this video message came through on my phone the other night.

I immediately wished I had some kind of Bat signal that would work with my stylist, Gwen. I could shine a big light that projected a pair of shears up into the sky. Emergency! Emergency! Hair emergency! I wanted to get her into the salon immediately before she changed her mind!

But Gwen is a phenomenal stylist. The appointment was going to have to wait for almost  2 weeks. I was positive Tink would change her mind, but she didn’t. Not only did she not change her mind, she picked out a bob hairstyle. Her bob phobia seems to have disappeared as rapidly as it came.

On Tuesday, we went to see our friend, Gwen, and Tink got an awesome new hair cut. She loved it because it’s easy and No More Hairbrushing Fights! I loved it because it’s super cute, really suits her and No More Hairbrushing Fights!

Before

Old hair

After

New Hair

Tink went to bed grinning ear to ear about her new ‘do. The next morning she was excited to head off to school and show all her kids her new hair cut. She was subdued when I picked her up at the end of the day, though.

“Did anyone notice your new haircut?” I asked on the drive home.

“Yes. Everyone did,” she mumbled from the back seat. I glanced in the  rear view mirror. She was slumped down in her seat, her chin to her chest, eyes down, the perfect picture of dejection.

“What happened?” I asked.

And then she told me the whole sad story. Some of the other kids told her they liked her hair, but far more told her that she looked like a boy and her hair was a nightmare. One girl told her that now she had fat hair like her fat face.

Kids can be such assholes sometimes.

When we got home, Tink barricaded herself in her room and cried, so sad about the haircut she had wanted and adored only 12 hours before. I was furious and swung into action.

1. I phoned the school guidance counselor who agreed to meet with Tink the next day and the child who made the fat face comment (which was the one that hurt Tink’s feelings the most.) That alone made Tink feel better.

2. I texted my friend, Laurie, the mother of Tink’s BFF. Tink’s BFF had not yet seen her hair, so I drove Tink down to their house where the BFF and her big sister gushed over the new hair with such enthusiasm that I believe Tink started to get suspicious.

3.  I threw up a status update on Facebook to express my anger at the mean girls. Within minutes, my phone started vibrating with reply notifications. This topic seemed to strike a nerve.  Twenty-nine people responded to tell Tink that 1. she looks great and 2. mean girls suck. I read most of the responses to Tink and the more I read, the more she smiled.

The very best message came from our very, awesome friend, GenieAlisa. She went so far as to send Tink a video about her awesome hair.

Tink’s Awesome Hair from Genie Alisa on Vimeo.

Tink said, “I didn’t know a movie star had my hair!”

It was really sweet to have so many people chime in, and it completely counteracted all the mean things that were said to her at school. Today, the counselor met with Tink. Apologies happened from the other girls and Tink is back to loving her awesome hair.

Tink's new do

Suck it, mean girls.

Goodbye Praire Hair (yes, I finally got a hair cut)

The hair was out of control.

I’ve basically been growing my hair long since I cut it all off to go gray back in 2006. I’ve had trims, layers, and I’ve cut off some inches here and there, but mostly, I’ve just been letting it grow. I liked having a mane of white hair, and I was curious to see when it would stop growing.

The answer to when it will stop growing? Never. It will never stop growing unless I stop it! (Hello, Crystal Gale.)

This summer my hair got so long that it was below my bra strap in the back. I actually shut my own hair in the car door. I started to look like I was planning to move to a commune, raise chickens, make my own granola and wear a lot of patchouli. (Not that there is anything wrong with that, patchouli lovers.) I started looking like I was trying to land a role as Grandma in a television adaptation of Little House on the Praire.

See?

Before

This morning my hair looked like this (and what is up with my elbows? Is this what elbows look like from the back? Are my elbows fat?)

Today it was the day to take back the control of my hair.

Taking back the hair!

I spent 2 hours at the hair salon. Gwen, my stylist/goddess, got rid of the yellow from the chlorine and sun, made my hair shiny, AND cut off more than 7 inches.

After

7 inches and it's still below my shoulders. I can't believe my hair was that long.

No more hippie hair for me

I no longer look like I belong on the praire! Hooray!

Honestly, it’s for the best. I wouldn’t look good in gingham and a bonnet.

The Hair Wars: I declare Victory!

I hate it when my life is a cliche.

As a parent, I find that my life is often a cliche.  For example, when Ace was a baby, he would grin a gummy grin at me and then say, “Goo.” It was one, clearly pronounced syllable. “Goo.” I remember turning to IT Guy and saying, “Babies actually say that?!” I’ve threatened my kids with, “Don’t make me stop this car and come back there” on car trips. I use middle names only when children are in trouble. I’ve even said, “I don’t care what So-and-so gets to do. If So-and-so jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?”

And, like all mothers who have come before me, I fight with my daughter about her hair.

My mother and I fought about my hair. My mother usually won, which is the only way to explain the hair style I had in 4th grade. It was a bob with bangs, except the bangs and the ends (and only the bangs and the ends) were permed (to give them a little “body”). In between the bangs and ends, my black hair was completely straight. I looked like a poodle. (I got a cute Dorothy Hammel cut shortly thereafter, thank god.) My mother won again when I was a junior in high school. She convinced me to get “a body wave” (which was a completely fictional hair treatment that my mother believed in fiercely. “It will just give you a little body on top” she would say in her misguided devotion to the mythical body wave.) A body wave on my thick, black bob ended up looking like . . . well . . . pubic hair . . . pubic hair on my head. I’m still scarred. I have flashbacks at the sight of perm rods or the crinkle of the wrapping papers . . . .

Now I fight with my daughter about her hair – but, for the record, I am not pushing “body waves.” I wouldn’t actually be pushing anything if she wasn’t such a pain in the ass about having her hair brushed.

I don’t have any particular hair agenda. I feel like I’m pretty open about hairstyles, as evidenced by some of the interesting creations that have graced Ace’s head over the years. As long as it’s clean and reasonably neat, my kids can wear their hair however they like. I would think that kind of free license would excuse me from the Mother/Daughter Hair Wars.

But no, not with Tink, because for Tink “reasonably neat” is just asking too much.

For the last several years, Tink has insisted on having long hair – really long hair. As the current wearer of really long hair myself, I don’t have any particular objections to that idea, as long as the owner of the really long hair is willing to take care of it. Taking care of it means shampooing and conditioning your hair on a regular basis. Taking care of it also includes brushing your hair in the morning when you get up and again before bed, so your hair doesn’t tangle so badly that you look like you’re wearing an eagle’s nest on your head. If you can’t get all the tangles out of it yourself, taking care of your hair also means allowing your mother to brush the tangles out (gently and while using buckets of detangler) without shrieking and carrying so much that the neighbors suspect you’re being scalped.

Tink wants really, long hair, but takes loud and constant issue with my requirement she take care of her hair as described above. At least once a day, you can find me actually chasing Tink through the house with a hair brush. Sometimes IT Guy and I both chase Tink. It’s really gotten ridiculous.

So, for the past several years, I’ve been trying to convince Tink to cut her hair. She used to have this really cute little layered bob that looked great on her. See?

Tink after

But, no. Tink is firmly anti-bob. I guess she didn’t enjoy all the people who stopped her every day to compliment her hair. (She is also firmly anti-bangs and I have no idea what that is all about. It’s like she finds any hair style that starts with the letter “B” objectionable.)

I tried to remind her how easy it was to have shorter hair. “You barely had to brush it. You could just hop out of bed and run your fingers through it and go!”

Nope. She wasn’t having any of it, and her hair got longer and longer and more and more tangled. The child just has a lot of hair – thick and long means work – unless you’re Tink. Then it means “I’d rather look like an extra in Oliver Twist than let you touch me with a brush, lady.”

I haven’t been able to figure it out. She doesn’t particularly like to do her hair. She won’t wear fancy barrettes or bows. She doesn’t want fun up-dos. She proudly claims that she is not a girly-girl; she even refuses to wear dresses most of the time now. So why the really long hair? Why?

It’s been a battle – a long and drawn out battle and usually Tink wins.  .  . but not today.  . . not today, my friends.

Today, I won. I won a signifigant battle in the Hair Wars! After weeks of being in the pool daily, Tink’s hair is super dry and constantly tangled. The brush outs are extra painful and take forever.  Suddenly, Tink stopped ignoring my suggestions for a hair cut. She finally agreed and today was the big day.

Hair cut day!

I tried for the bob, but Tink was not going there. It’s like she has bob phobia, so we compromised.

We went from this:

to this:

Now her hair is healthy and shiny and tangle-free. Hooray!

Compromise or no, I’m declaring victory, and I think the result of my victory is much preferable to the pubic hair body wave results of my own mother’s hair victory. Tink should be grateful. Just saying. (Love you, Mom.)

The mystery of my husband’s hairless legs

This is a completely serious question about men’s leg hair.

No, really.

See, here’s the thing. IT Guy, while not hairy enough to be a Sasquatch double, has a decent amount of guytastic body hair.  Chest, belly, arms. Nothing thick enough to be mistaken for a sweater, but he’s got some manly body fur . He can also grow a beard in a day, and he’s got a ton of hair on top of his head despite his advanced age of 42. Not only is he not going bald, his hair is thick enough to supply an entire bald men support group.

In short, he’s a fairly hair guy,

Except for his legs.

He’s losing his leg hair around his ankles, shins and calves.

This is weird and kind of annoying because I’m the one who is supposed to have silky, smooth legs and I still have to shave. IT Guy’s not really in need of silky, smooth shins, but he’s got them, no razor required.

We first noticed the bareness when he was in his mid-30s.  ”Um, didn’t you used to have hair on your ankles?”  Slowly the hair line receeded – not back on his forehead, just up the back of his calves.  IT Guy said, “Hey, maybe I’m going bald from the ankles up instead of the head down!” He had a little less hair each year until now, at 42, he basically appears to have worn socks filled with depliatory.  He’s got a sock hairline!  It’s, um, well, different?

Yay?

Once we noticed his increasingly hairless calves, we started looking around at other guys’ legs.  OK, well, mostly I started looking around at other’s guys’ legs. (The things you have to for research.)

Here’s what I’ve noticed after exhaustive (and scientific) oogling of guys in shorts: there are a lot of guys walking around with silky smooth lower legs.

What is up with that?  Is it from wearing socks? IT Guy’s theory is it is from wearing long pants all the time. Can you get ankle alopecia?

Is this where the nose and ear hair comes from? It’s just leg hair that wanted a better view?

Guys, have you lost any of the hair on your lower legs? Ladies, do your guys still have their shin hair?

I’m just really curious if this is a common phenomenon among men.  If it keeps moving up IT Guy’s legs, he might be able to start a second career as a drag queen without having to invest in waxing!

Such a pretty princess

Or not.

Help me solve this mystery! Tell me about your leg hair!

(Just a side note: he’s had several physicals since this whole hairless leg thing started and he is completely healthy, so it doesn’t appear to be a medical issue.)

My future hair as determined by a self-proclaimed “crazy hairstylist”

I was going to write Sky Pond: Part 2 today, but I am afraid it will have to wait.

Tink has decided I need to post something different today.  In fact, she ordered me to post something different today.

When Tink was about 3 years old, she would climb up into the back of my office chair while I was working at the computer and brush and style my hair.  I’m using the word “brush” rather loosely, as it wasn’t so much brushing as getting the brush tangled up into impossible snarls and then trying to yank the brush free thus relieving me of some unnecessary clumps of hair.  ”Styling” might also be a bit of an overstatement.  She could only operate banana clips at the time, so after getting the brush stuck in my hair (she would often just leaving it dangling off the back of my head), she would put about 40,000 mismatched clips in my hair and then call it a day.

Despite the scalping, I loved it because it was a special little way for us to spend time together.  She didn’t do it with anyone else.  Just me.

When I cut all my hair off to let the color grow out, it put an end to our hairstyling time.  My hair was far too short to be any fun at all.  Tink was not happy.  ”Are you a daddy now?” she asked me.  I wasn’t happy about it either.  I hadn’t quite realized how much a loved our little female bonding ritual until we didn’t do it anymore.

My hair grew though, and, eventually, it grew long enough to attract Tink’s attention again.  She returned to the back of my office chair to brush, comb, and clip.

Thankfully, she’s gotten better at it, too.  Now, at 7, she can actually brush my hair.  She can do ponytails and braids, also, so her repetoire of styles has expanded.

Today has been a rough day.  I was sitting at my computer tonight, working on a lesson plan for tomorrow’s class, and missing my kids.  I just wanted to be able to curl up on the couch with them and snuggle, maybe read a story.  But I have so much work to do.  Then I remembered the hair.

“Hey, Tink.  Want to come do my hair?” I called.

She immediately came scampering in the door with a brush and the box where I keep all my hair things.  She climbed right up into the back of my chair, and, while I continued to work, she started styling.

“Hey, Mommy. Can I do a silly style?”

“Sure,” I replied, closing my eyes a bit and relaxing as she brushed my hair and chattered.

“I know!  When I’m done you can write a blog post about how I did your hair.  In fact, you need to write a blog post about how I did your hair.  You can call it ‘My Future Hair,’ OK?”  she demanded.

There was a lot of clinking going on behind me and my head was getting really heavy.

“What are you doing back there?  How much stuff do you have in my hair?” I asked.

“Oh, LOTS.  SUPER LOTS,” she giggled.  ”I’m your Crazy Hairstylist.  You can call me that in your blog post.”

So now she’s my hair stylist and my blog content supervisor, apparently.

“There, I’m done. Now I need to take a picture for the blog.” And she snaked her hand over my shoulder and grabbed the iPhone off the desk.

Clearly, she has been paying attention to how her mother, the blogger, works.  Maybe I need to get Tink her own blog.

I think she used every hair ornament I own.  All that crap is heavy!

She gave me a devil horn (but only one.)  Do you think she’s trying to tell me something?

Tink has gone to bed now, but I’ll show her this blog post in the morning and see if I did it right.

In the meantime, if anyone wants a hairdo, I know a crazy stylist  . . . .

Screw all the serious stuff. This post is about my hair (with pictures)

**Warning: This blog post contains 0% substance and 100% hair**

I’m having a good hair day today, and that fact alone warrants a blog post, in my opinion.  After all, what is the point of having a blog, if you can’t post about your hair?

Good hair day

Bad picture. Pretty good hair.

It’s got me thinking, though.  My hair has gotten long.  Really long. Really, really long.  I’ve never had my hair this long before.  It has passed my shoulder blades.  It has even passed my bra strap.  A couple more inches and I might be able to tuck it into my pants (not really a good look.)

Long hair people, how do you know when you’ve crossed over into Too Long?

It's getting really long though

Am I there yet?

Here’s the weird thing.  I think of myself as a Short Hair Person despite the obvious evidence to the contrary.  When I was a little girl, my mother generally kept my hair cut short.  It was long for awhile when I was in 3rd grade, but, other than that, it was chin length or above.
Dorothy Hamill hair

That continued through high school.  I had a lot of asymmetrical 80′s hair.


high school hair


Prom hair

I even had a spiky flat top for awhile.

OMGshoulderpads

It was always short.  For some reason, perhaps because I’d always had short hair, I actually thought my hair would not grow long.  (What’s funny is that not only will my hair grow long, it actually grows super fast.  I have a Chia Pet Head.  That’s one of the reasons I stopped dying it.  My hair grows so fast that I had to get it dyed every four weeks to keep from looking like a skunk – black hair with a big white stripe down the middle of my head.)

I finally decided to try growing my hair out when I was a freshman in college and I was actually surprised that I had shoulder length hair by the next year.

College hair

I kept it long for several years.

Heavy Bangs
This was also the years of the bangs.  I thought I needed to the bangs to balance out my thick eyebrows.  What I actually needed was a pair of tweezers for the eyebrows.  Look at those untamed beasts!

My hair was very long right before my wedding, but then, as soon as we got home from our honeymoon, I chopped it short again.

Through my 20s and 30s, my hair length went up and down and up and down.

By my mid-30s, I had mid-lenth layered hair and then I decided to stop dying it.
A few days before the big chop

I chopped it all off.  My hair dresser got teary. “Are you going to cry?” she queried, her own eyes welling up.  ”Um, no. I’m good.  Are YOU going to cry?” I replied.  ”I might,” she quavered.  Then she cut my hair so short that I only had to absently rub a towel across my head once or twice to dry it.

After the big chop

I look like I”m wearing a bad wig in this picture.

I kept my hair super-short until all the color was out which took about six months of trims every two weeks.

Super short and gray

Once I was all gray, I started growing it out again.

That was 4 years ago.

4 years of long, longer, longest hair and you would think I would consider myself a Long Hair person, but I don’t.  I consider myself to be a Short Hair person who happens to have long hair.  Maybe it’s because I spent all those formative years with short hair.

Maybe it’s because I’ve had both so many times.  I think of a Long Hair Person as someone like my friend, Laurie.  Laurie has always had long hair.  There was one point in her childhood when she got a short hair cut and, apparently, it was so traumatizing she remembers it to this day.  She will never have short hair; she has never wanted short hair.

My mom is  Short Hair person.  She has never had long hair.  Not ever.  She had Jewfro in the 70s, but she’s Italian, so I guess it was a TallyFro.  There was also an impressive beehive from high school in the 60s.  But she has never had long hair.  She says her hair won’t grow long. (Now I know where that idea came from.)  She will never wear her hair long; she has never wanted long hair.

I’m neither of those extremes.  I love a short pixie cut.  I like the ease of it.  I think it’s sassy and sexy and sophisticated (and other things that start with “s”)   I always feel less feminine with my hair that short though.  And while short hair causes people to notice my eyes, I also feel like it draws attention to my short, thick neck.  I might wear my hair that short again if I lose 40 lbs first.  I’m also not sure I can do super-short and gray together.  The gray hair on its own doesn’t make me feel old and frumpy.  Just the opposite actually.  I love my silver locks.  Short AND gray though, well, that feels frumpy.

Short and gray (and frumpish)

I might need to start wearing high waisted, tapered leg jeans and holiday theme t-shirts, if I have short, gray hair again.

I’m surprised by how much I’ve grown to love my hair long – really long — really, really long.  It actually is easy.  I don’t have to wash it daily, like I do when it’s short.  I can sweep it up in any number of ways – ponytails, clips, braids, and, my current favorite, buns fastened with pretty hair sticks.  My hair is long enough that it makes a thick, round bun; my braids are thick, too, and my ponytail bobs against my shoulder blades when I run.  Also, it feels good.  It feels good brushing across my bare back and sliding over my shoulders.  I know it’s a cliche, but I feel sexier with long hair.

The question is have I let it get too long.  Am I heading to a place where I need to start wearing tie-dye t-shirts, Birkenstocks and tending the chickens in my backyard?  Do I have hippie hair?  Or do I look like I need to wear a black pointy hat and carry a broom?  Maybe it’s a combo of witch and hippie . . . .do I have wippie hair?

What do you think?  Is it it time for a hair cut?

Maybe too long?

And what about you?  Are you a Long Hair person or a Short Hair person?

It’s been too serious around here lately; tell me about your hair.


The one where I give my husband a mohawk

On our second day at the beach, IT Guy and I headed out into his mom’s garage with a set of clippers, a comb and a plan.

When we came back into the house 30 minutes later, IT Guy had a mohawk.

This is only the second time in my life I have shaved somebody’s hair into a mohawk.  The first time I was in high school.  This time it was my 41 year old husband.  I’ve also shaved a guy’s legs from ankles to Speedo for a body building competition.  It took an entire value pack of disposable razors, but that’s another story.

IT Guy was working insane hours for weeks right up until our departure for the beach.  He was sleeping maybe 4 or 5 hours at night.  He just ate, barely slept and worked.  There wasn’t time for anything else and visiting the hair salon was pretty low on his priority list, so his hair grew and grew and grew like a Chia Pet until he looked like a man who lived in a van down by the river.

IT Guy has amazing hair.  It is incredibly thick and soft and wavy.  I’m sure his hair is the envy of many a middle aged guy with male pattern baldness.  I love his hair, but he has so much of it regular upkeep is required.  When IT Guy doesn’t perform the regular upkeep of hair cuts and hair product, he ends up with this:

Yeah.  Man who lives in van down by the river.

Along with overworked and exhausted, IT Guy has also been stressed and depressed.  The rare times when he was home instead of at the office, he was shuffling around, sighing deeply at random moments.  It was a bit like living with Eeyore in a fright wig.

Something had to be done.   IT Guy really needed to reclaim some of his attitude. He needed his mojo back.

“It’s vacation. You’ve got a week off work,” I said. “Let’s get the clippers and give you a mohawk. You need it.”

He agreed.

It was quite a process – and not an easy one.  Did I mention that IT Guy has A LOT of hair?

See?

I had clippers, but not some of the other necessary tools like hair scissors and clips. I had to improvise. For example, I didn’t have hair clips to hold back the hair we wanted to keep, so I went with pigtail holders.

Then I fired up the clippers.  The entire family wandered in and out of the garage, commenting on the progress and occasionally lending a hand.

Getting the sides shaved down turned out to be the easiest part though.  Then I had to deal with this.

At first, IT Guy wanted to leave it long, so he could have a big fin, but this is A LOT OF HAIR.  The styling product we had available was not up to the job.  Plus, this look was a little more redneck than punk rock, so we started clipping again

until we got this.

It’s not perfect, but it’s punk.

And IT Guy has his attitude back.

That’s the most important thing.

A random Saturday in May full of random stuff

My Saturday started at 5:38 a.m.  Not for any good reason, mind you.  Just because Ace and his spending the night friend decided 5:38 a.m. was a perfectly reasonable time to wake up and start doing dive rolls onto the air mattress from the hallway.  It turns out Saturday at 5:38 a.m. really isn’t the perfect time for diving rolls.  What Saturday at 5:38 a.m. is perfect for is making a crazed, ratty haired woman wearing a tank top and holey pj shorts show up in your doorway and hiss at you in a low, murderous tone “If you do not get back into bed and SHUT UP right now, Ace, you will never have another sleepover until you are paying a mortgage on your own house!”

They did shut up – more or less – until 7am which is still too damned early on a Saturday, but they made their own breakfast by eating cold pizza from the fridge, so they did try and make it up to me . . . sort of.

We puttered around the house for a bit – mostly to give me time to ingest an enormous amount of caffeine to compensate for my 5:38 am wake-up call – and then headed out to the dog park with Penny.  Penny loves the dog park.  She always finds one or two dogs about her size for an energetic game of wrestle.  She usually gets so covered in dust and dog spit that she requires a bath before I let her back in the house.  I’m not sure Penny loves the dog park as much as my children, though.  Ace and Tink adore going to the dog park.  They pet and play with all the dogs.  They try and guess the breeds.  They chat up the owners, learn the dog’s names and ages.  They will happily spend an hour or more just hanging out with all the dogs.

I spent my time at the dog park playing with the Hipstamatic App on my iPhone.  I am having way too much fun with it.  I love that I’m never quite sure how a picture will turn out.  I also love that the pictures look like the ones from my early childhood back in the 70s.  The nostalgia factor is really working for me.

After the dog park, it was time for Ace’s haircut.  He really wanted his hair to be exactly like his Master at the dojo.   We tried with our regular stylist, but didn’t quite get it to Ace’s satisfaction, so this time, we went to the Master’s barber.  Master Lee had told the barber Ace was coming and, once the barber was done, Ace looked just like a mini-Master.  I’ll have to get a picture of them together at some point, but for now you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Some people get racing stripes on their car.  I get them on my kid.

Ace loves his hair so much he spent the afternoon checking himself out in all reflective surfaces – cars, windows, rearview mirrors, my sunglasses.

From the barbershop, we headed to the pool.  Yes, it is that time of year again.  The pool opened today.  The kids were ecstatic to go swimming and I was ecstatic to sit in a pool chair with a good book.

I never thought I’d be the type to just go sit next to the pool and read.  I was always distainful of the women who would go to the pool and not get wet . . . but that was before I had kids and knew better.  Today I sat by the pool with my book and I wasn’t even wearing a bathing suit!  It’s too cold to go in yet . . . well, it’s too cold if you’re over the age of 14.

Tink and Ace had no problem jumping into the cold water.

I think summer is finally here and I am so ready for it.

If you need me, I’ll be by the pool.

Brave? Not I. (another one of those body issues posts)

About once or twice a week a random stranger says something to me about my gray hair.  It’s almost always a compliment. All this white hair seems to stand out in a crowd to men and women alike.  Occasionally, I’ll get a veiled put-down.  “You are old to have such young children” said the lady waxing my eyebrows one day.  Usually, it’s a compliment, though, or,  from women, it’s this:  “Wow, you are so brave to let your hair go.  I could never do that.”

Brave?  For not coloring my hair?  I’ve never understood that correlation.

I didn’t stop coloring my hair because I was brave or consciously bucking societal beauty norms or thumbing my nose at our ageist culture where only the young are valued and desired.  (I wish I could say I did it for those reasons.)  I did it because, in the roll of the genetics dice, I ended up with hair that started going gray at 16.  When I was 20, I had enough gray hair that I needed to color it to keep my “natural” color.  So by the time I was 35, I had been coloring my hair every4 to 6 weeks at $100 or more a pop for 15 years.  I was tired of it.  I didn’t want to sit in the salon for 2 hours every month.  I didn’t want to pay for the color.  I didn’t want to deal with the roots.  I ended up looking like a skunk for at least 8 to 10 days a month.  I was just plain old tired of it, so I stopped.

I reserved the right to color it again if I hated how it looked gray, but it turned out that I like it.   I think it’s pretty.  I don’t think it ages me considerably, particularly because my eyebrows have remained dark.  Some days, I think it makes me look like a super hero or anime character.  I got lucky.  It’s not coarser or thinner or a dull, muddy color.  I love that I don’t have to do much of anything to it now.  I love that it confuses people who are trying to place my age.  And, let’s be frank, remember those compliments I get a few times a week? Those aren’t so bad either.  I crave ego boosts as much as the next girl.

Lucky.  Lazy.  Vain.  Yes, I’m all those things.  Brave?  No.

I didn’t understand how someone would think I was brave for something so trivial as hair.

Then I clicked on GenieAlisa’s blog yesterday and saw this post.  She had her first baby, a beautiful boy named Ian, two weeks ago.  I clicked on Genie’s blog and saw a picture she posted of herself, from the side, with her shirt pulled up exposing her belly, two weeks postpartum.

“Oh my god,” I thought.  “That is so brave.  I could never do that.”

Genie looks fine.  She looks real.  She looks like a 2 week postpartum woman.  Her belly hasn’t shrunk back to its usual position yet.  That takes some time.  You can see her stretch marks peeking above the top of her pants.  She’s beautiful, actually.  She looks like a new mother.  Beautiful.  I looked like that.  All moms looked like that.

But I was ashamed of it.  I was ashamed of my saggy, flabby, stretch-marked belly.  I still am.

Genie is clearly not ashamed.  She is matter of factly displaying herself postpartum, just as she did throughout her pregnancy.  It’s all part of the process, the picture says.  Isn’t it amazing what my body is doing, it says.  Looking at it, I think, “Yes, yes, it is amazing.”

To me, posting that picture seems so brave.  So very brave.

I could never do it.

I think I might now understand why some women look at my hair and say, “Brave.”  They have some value judgments associated with their hair.  Their identity is all tied up in their hair dye and hair products and visits to the salon.  Their ideal of beauty and how they fit into that ideal is mixed in with their highlights and lowlights.  “Letting their hair go” means letting all of that baggage go.   That’s what they mean when they say, “I could never do that.”  “I could never let go of the judgments,” is what they are saying.

I don’t have that kind of baggage about my hair.  It’s just hair to me.   If it looks good, I enjoy it.  If it doesn’t, it bugs me, but I never feel like it says anything about who I am as a person.  My self worth is not connected to my hair.

My self worth is connected to my body, though.  I do have that kind of baggage about my belly.  My belly is not just a belly.  Somewhere along the line, I tangled my belly up with judgments like “Lazy. Slob. Slovenly. Worthless. Ugly.”

It’s those judgments I am hiding from when I put on a big, baggy sweatshirt, or avoid looking in mirrors, or make sure pictures only show me from the chest up.  I have a fat belly.  I am ashamed of what it says about who I am — even though, intellectually, I know it says nothing about who I am.

I’ve spent years and years trying to make my belly just a belly, like my hair is just hair.

So when I see Genie, her postpartum belly bared for all the Internet to see, I am astounded.  “She is so brave,” I think.  “I could never do that.”

But I’ll keep working on it and maybe, some day, I will be able to do it.

Stay tuned.

P.S.  Thanks for the photo, Genie.  You’re amazing.

48 hour Bangs or Why should you never proclaim parenting victory

I should have known better than to declare victory on my blog.

Ace’s retro 80s skater haircut lasted 48 hours.  The bangs were driving him crazy.  By this morning, he was begging for a buzz cut.

Gwen appears to have been able to talk him down from the buzz cut, but the bangs are gone.

My mom will be happy since she vehemently disliked the skate rat hair cut. “If he has a punker haircut, he is going to have a punker attitude.”

I had an overwhelming desire to roll my eyes like my 16 year old self and say, “Moooooom.  You just don’t get it.  And no one says ‘punker’ anyway.”  And then flounce off to my bedroom and slam the door.

She’ll be happy now, though.  Here’s Ace without bangs.

(In an unrelated note, this photo almost gave me a heart attack because Ace looks like he’s 18.  Oh. My. God.  I am so not ready.)

I’m not sure the bang removal has really done much to remove the “punker” attitude, though, Mom.