My daughter, Nee, has absolutely no confidence in my ability to do her hair. Whenever I attempt to style it, she becomes more obnoxious than a talk radio host.
Recently, my wife, KayEm, had to run an errand and I thought I would surprise her by combing and styling Nee’s hair (even though Nee prefers KayEm to do her hair, it’s not a pleasant experience for either party. If you’ve ever bathed a cat, you can understand how these styling sessions go).
I gathered all of the tools and materials and set-up a styling station in the kitchen. “Nee,” I said. “Come and sit down so Daddy can do your hair.” A look of horror covered her face. “No!” she yelled. “You’re NOT doing my hair.” “C’mon,” I said. “Daddy, can do it. I’ll make you look beautiful.” “NO!” she yelled again. “I want Mommy to do my hair.” “But Mommy’s gone to climb Everest and won’t be back for three months,” I said. “I’ll wait,” she said, as she crossed her arms and dug her heels into the ceramic tile.
When Nee was younger and couldn’t voice objections, I did her hair periodically. Although I had absolutely no experience, I think I managed to make her look presentable. I always stuck with my two default hairstyles: Afro with a head band, or one single pony tail. Whenever I tried to get fancy, it was a disaster. Nee wound up with crooked parts down the middle of her head and two lopsided ponytails. Who knows what would have happened if I had attempted three.
Because of my hairstyling shortcomings, KayEm relieved me of this duty. “I’ll handle Nee’s hair from now on,” she told me. “You just take care of the boys.” “What’s wrong with the way I do her hair?” I asked. She smiled and gently patted me on the back. “You just take care of the boys,” she repeated. "Give me one reason why I can't do her hair", I insisted. KayEm sighed and shook her head before saying, "Because I don’t want my daughter going out looking crazy.” “She’s my daughter, too,” I protested. “I would never let my little princess look crazy in public.” “You’re right. She is your daughter too, so we’ll let her decide,” said KayEm as she beckoned Nee over to us. “Who do you want to do your hair? Mommy or Daddy?” “Mommy!” she said.
I was hurt. My little princess had rejected me in favor of cute hairstyles.
Nee is in third grade now, and I know that things such as hairstyles and fashion are much more important to her. In her world, it’s uncool to wear daddy-inspired hairstyles. I know my baby is growing up, but I miss the days when a single ponytail was good enough."