TO DOO - OR NOT TO DOO
So I'm getting ready to go to the gym this morning after Nia has finished her bath. Of course, it's a uncommonly freezing and windy day here in Florida so I have to blow dry her hair before we go so that she doesn't wind up with one of those "cricks" in her neck that our mothers warned us of when we were little. Before that, we have to spend the usual hour getting her dressed.
"Nia, you gotta dress warm today. No ballet tu-tu's and sandles" I gently request.
"But I waaaaana wear my ballet dress." she pleads
"No Nia, you gotta wear pants and a sweater today because it's reeeeallly cold outside." I gently persuade again.
"I hate pants! I'm not wearing stupid rotten brat pants! I wanna skirt mom!" she now demands
So the next 50 or so minutes are spent choosing which skirt she thinks is appropriate for the gym today. Then it's tights - then it's not tights - then it's tights again; but they have to be the pink ones. Then it's an argument between the long sleeve shirt I've picked out versus the pre-summer tank top I recently bought for her.
"No Nia, the tank top is a summer shirt. It is still winter weather outside" I tell her while wondering why I showed her that dumb tank top before summer is even a forethought, in the first place.
"MOM! I want THAT pink top with MY skirt. I don't want to look like a redneck in a LONG-SLEEVE SHIRT!" she yells.
Where do three year old kids get this stuff! Oh yeah, that's right, she just happens to have FIVE OTHER PEOPLE in the house in which to learn what attire is social unacceptable to wear to the gym. Great! Another budding fashionista in the family.
So I tried to "compromise", if that is even possible at this point because she is determined to wear that top.
"Nia, you can wear the top if you wear a long-sleeve shirt under it so you can be warm. It'll look good cause the layered look is TOTALLY in!" I desperately suggest hoping that my look of excitement and bulging eyeballs will suggest it's a good idea!
After a long pause she blurts, "NO! I'm not wearing that ugly shirt under my beeeauuuutiful princess shirt".
Now I have to resort to threat tactics. "Okay then, I guess I'll have to go to the gym without you if you're not going to dress warm."
"Nooooooo mommy, noooooooo! Okay, okay, okay, I'll wear the shirt!" she cries.
She then goes back to the drawer and picks up the original shirt I had suggested in the first place. I wonder to myself - was this some sort of test by a three year old? Or is it their secret way of completely breaking down our sanity so by the time they are five they are in complete control of the entire house while mom and dad are sucking their thumbs in the corner with "dunce" hats half falling off our heads?
Now I have to blow dry her hair which she insist she can do herself. With careful monitoring and the setting turned so low that it resembles the weather outside this morning, she proceeds to blow dry her hair like "mommy does". She's cute, she's proud, and she announces to daddy, "I'm doing my doo just like mom does!" Then she starts a new tune for herself cleverly titled "I'm doing the doo, I'm doing the doo, I'm doing the doo and it's not poo". She's such a clever songwriter at her age.
So we're done blow drying and while she's putting it away (she's becoming soooo responsible), she suddenly notices my crimping iron I've been toting around since the 80's. Okay, okay, there are just some things that I haven't let go and that's good because it has come in handy during some of the girls "makeover" moments when I need them out of my hair while maintaining the household. Well Nia decides she HAS to have her hair done before going to the gym. Now time is running out before the childcare area closes at the gym, so I'm kinda in a hurry to go - like I want to go RIGHT NOW. I broke my bottle of patience this morning and just don't have a backup at the moment, okay!
"Nia, we really have to get to the gym this morning cause we're running out of time" I beg, and just short of standing on my knees to do so.
"Pleeeeeezzzz mom. I want to look pretty like YOU!" she begs back while doing a WAY better job of perfecting begging, than I am. Plus, she said the magic words about wanting to pretty like me, so that did it - I plugged the scratched up pink crimping iron in. I have never seen a little girl run so fast to get a stool to stand on in my life. But she patiently waited the five minutes it took for it to heat up, while I hoped and prayed that my husband wouldn't run in yelling that we were taking too long, thus crushing my daughter's dreams of having "princess hair" for the day. Just then I heard his phone go off, so we I knew we had a good 10 minutes of primping time available.
I took her hair piece by piece and was crimping as fast as I could. It's like I had this giant clock ticking inside my head, and that tends to make me a bit antsy on top of the half pot of coffee I've already ingested so far. It doesn't help being hormonal and the fact that my period started this morning. I'm thinking as I crimp that not only am I gonna have those damn spastic, twitching muscles from starting back running again, but I'm gonna have level five uterine, vice-grip, cramping to go with it. Make note: buy TWO bottles of Percogesic today after the gym cause I do not have time for my husband to stick 20 or so acupuncture needles in me today to ward off pangs of the monthly curse.
"Mom! Do my brains!" she quips excitedly
"Do your WHAT?" I ask
"My brains, my brains. DO MY BRAAAINS!" she says while jumping up and down on the stool while I manage not to leave permanent burn scars on her neck from all the wiggling.
"Brains? Ohhhh, you mean BANGS" I say as finally my morning cafe latte's have finally woken up some of those "understand what the hell you're three year old is saying" brain cells.
"YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, my baaaangs!" she wails while jumping and clapping in unison. "Do it now, do it now!"
I convince her that I have to finish the rest of her hair, cause I'm coming around the backside toward the finish line while watching the second hand on my watch tick away my chances of killing fat cells this morning. She wants those bangs done now as I see the pinched nose of impatience forming on her face from her reflection in the mirror. Plus I don't hear my husband on the phone anymore which means he'll be the proverbial "hunter/gatherer" soon.
I carefully crimp her bangs because she recently decided to try her hand as a salon technician with a pair of scrapbooking scissors with zig zag edges on them. Damn, I thought I had hidden every scissor in the house from the last attempt of hers. She found a rogue pair and snipped a good hunk out of her bangs which gives her a good punk look if she was 16, buts totally sucks on a three year old. So I'm trying to navigate the iron so that she's not sporting a Gorbachev-size trophy on her forehead.
"There! You're all done, all pretty, so let's go" I rush to say as I'm already storing the iron away before her bangs fall to her forehead. I look up and see her face in the mirror. She is not happy; not happy at all.
"What's wrong Nia?" praying she's gonna say nothing, but knowing something major is headed my way cause her eyes have suddenly gone from milk chocolate brown to a exorcist black.
"I didn't want my BRAINS done!" she screeches
"Uh, yes you did. You went on and on about how you wanted your bangs done Nia", I say while staring at the completely perplexed look on my face in the mirror. It's kinda like the same look you have after swinging your kids around in a circle about 50 times and you're looking all goofy like you're gonna throw up all over their little heads. It's like that, and I'm sweating already and I haven't even hit the front doors of the gym yet.
"I did NOT want my brains done mom! I hate them. I don't like them. I didn't WANT my brains done mom!", she cries as she lays her head on the sink countertop.
Uh oh, major meltdown coming, hear husbands footsteps coming, clock ticking in my head, a cramp coming on, AND NOT A FREAKING PERCOGESIC in the house! My husband pops into the bathroom and impatiently ask if we are done.
"No honey, I did Nia's hair and she's freaking out over her bangs", I say while rolling eyeballs but not knowing who I'm rolling them at at the moment.
He takes one look at our daughter and busts out laughing in front of her face. He leaves the bathroom and lays his head on our dresser and continues laughing to that point where no sound is leaving his mouth, only the heaves of laughter. I reeeeeally want to smack him right now cause now Nia is shrieking with tears in the bathroom and I've gotta figure out quick how to fix it before she takes all her clothes off and starts running all over the house in a massive stand of stubbornness mixed with preschool anger, and then I am just back to bloody square one (that's part of her tantrums these days - getting naked - though I have NO idea what kinda of statement she's trying to make with it)!
I go back to Nia because she is so much more important than my annoying husband right now. I take a good look and realize what is so funny about her hair. Her bangs are still so short that crimping have officially made stand to a perfect military attention - straight freaking out! This girl is mortified beyond words. I try to sooth the situation with various techniques we girls have learned over the years - wet the comb and eliminate the faux pas immediately! This doesn't work as she has inherited my form of hair that once it's crimped it won't change unless one dunks their head in a bucket of water about four or five times. So I head for the "molding" goo that's suppose to straighten and give shine to any lackluster hairdo. I slap it on and try to fix it but this crimping shit is not budging a bit. It lays a little more to her head, but it's God-awful to look at.
She seems to be soothed a bit with my own stories of bad hair days, horrid hair cuts, and the like. I think she likes the funny faces I am making much more than my stories though. When in the midst of chaotic meltdowns, use the funny face! My works well when I cross my eyes through exaggerated explanations of complete confusion. Her hair seems to lay down more, but still has that stiff, crimped look that she just can't deal with.
Out comes mom's basket of hair supplies. Unfortunately, every single freaking hair barrette I have bought recently seems to wind up on a Barbie and then mysteriously disappear after that. So there is no supply of those. All I have to offer is hair ties and a head band. She reluctantly goes for the hair band and her daddy (who has finally composed himself accordingly), and I ooh and ahh about how wonderful it looks on her cause we can finally see her face under all that uneven, chopped up, crimped out hair. She's finally calm enough to nudge her to the car as we quickly change the subject about how much fun she'll have seeing her friends there and he'll give her a piece of gum when she gets in her carseat. Remember: it's the ability to have the art of diversion when raising children!
By the time we get to the gym, she waltzing in sans hair band. All the childcare workers are dotting over how pretty she looks with her hair. Suddenly, the monster in the bathroom has transformed herself into a "Top Model" contestant as she fluffs her hair while prancing about in front of them. She is happy now and that is all that really matters to me at this moment. I look back at her as I head off to my sadistic date with the treadmill, and besides the fact that I think how much I love her, I am also reminding myself to throw away that damn crimping iron when I get back home.