Most kids just naturally go through an awkward stage. I, however, was pushed into it by my mother who thought the new “poodle” perm of the 1960’s was going to look cute on me.
It didn’t, as you can see by the accurate depiction of my head at that time.
I’m not saying that I wouldn’t have gone through a monstrously grotesque stage anyway, but I did not go through anything even remotely close to an awkward stage – I bypassed it and plunged straight into hideous. I looked like a science experiment that had gone creepily wrong.
The best way for me to explain to you the hideousness of that look is to ask you to create the following craft project: take a box (the shape of my head) and draw eyes, nose, and a mouth on the front of it. Draw ears on the sides. Now decorate the rest of the sides, the top, and the back with black pubic hair. You now have a perfect replica of the way I looked in 4th and 5th grade.
I think the reason I had so few friends was because nobody was really sure which part of my body they were looking at and it made them feel uncomfortable.
By the 6th grade I looked like I was wearing a poodle’s tail, because my straight hair grew from my scalp to an abomination of fuzz at the bottom. I guarantee you that if I had seen somebody who looked like I did, I would have been compelled to cut off the fuzz.
I was so traumatized by the experience, I still can’t get that freakishly ugly picture out of my head, especially now, all these years later, because my hair, after having fallen out (side effect of chemo), grew back curly. I even had a horrible memory about it in May, 2010, when a premonition that I didn’t even realize was a premonition, occurred during the writing of this blog – The Day My Mom Made Cindy and Me Into Chia Pets – apparently God wanted to remind me of that horrendous time in my life, because when chemo destroyed my cells, once again, I looked like a chia pet/pubic box.
Astounding as it may seem, I actually like curly hair – on other people – and I have always understood very clearly and very assuredly that children should have a say in the way they wear their hair, which was why, when my son, as a kindergartner, told me he wanted his hair cut, I begrudgingly cut his curly locks.
I allowed my daughters to wear their hair in styles that fit them best, too, mostly because I have absolutely no skills whatsoever in hair styling, but also because they had a fairly good idea of how they wanted their hair to look. I would never have forced them to wear their hair in a style of my choosing.
And I’m glad for making that decision, because one year, when one of my daughters was getting her school picture taken, I allowed her to go to school with her hair looking the way SHE wanted it to look. That way I wouldn’t get blamed for making her wear her hair in a way that would embarrass her.
However, I was a little upset with the style she chose. She allowed her “friends” to pour what looked like oily grease all over it. I felt my lip quiver and my eyes squint. “Are you sure you want to look like that in your picture?” I asked her.
She was adamant.
“Did you look in the mirror?” I wanted her to be sure that she really saw what I was seeing.
“Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
She went to school, came home, and life went on.
Until the school pictures came back.
She was shocked and appalled. “How could you let me go to school looking like that?” she demanded.
~And Mom gets blamed again.~
Despite the fact that I had allowed her to choose her own hairstyle, despite the fact that she had vehemently argued with me that the hairstyle was exactly what she wanted, her decision had somehow become my fault anyway. Had I been the one to choose her hairstyle, had I been the one to force her to go to school with a different hairstyle, she still would have been upset.
“Well if I had known it was going to look like that, I would never have gone to school that way.”
Live and learn, right? My kids have provided me with volumes of funny memories.
I still think that if children want to wear their hair a certain way, they should be allowed to express themselves. Sometimes it means parents have to bite their lips when their kids want to tie their hair into a bunch of knots, and sometimes parents have to explain to their children that some things are inappropriate, such as growing your hair so long it trails down your back, grows around and under your butt, and then comes up through your panties and hangs out over them.
If, however, (and, honestly, I cannot come up with one single possible scenario that would ever allow this to happen) your children ask to drape their heads with pubic hair, I would suggest you draw the line.
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