Friday, May 7, 2010

Welcome to Motherhood: Crazy Hair Day Edition

Sometimes motherhood isn't all it's cracked up to be. Waking up in the middle of the night to a child crying, "Mommy, I just barfed in the bed," for example, is not one of those Hallmark moments. Neither is walking in on a giggling toddler who is supposed to be napping but is instead finger painting on the walls with the contents of his diaper. And I, for one, will never forget the feeling of horror at opening the dryer after prewashing an entire new winter wardrobe for two small children to find that someone left a pack of restaurant crayons in his pocket. [Did you know, if you dial 1-800-CRAYOLA, you will hear, "For instructions on how to get crayon out of clothing that has been through the dryer, press 1"? It involves large quantities of WD-40 and paper towels. And it does get the crayon out. Nothing in the known universe, however, will get out the WD-40.]

One of my least favorite motherhood experiences is Crazy Hair Day--an annual event at the elementary school which involves several of the things I like least: doing hair, sticky substances on my hands, and a child with serious OCD issues and a hair obsession--he routinely bursts into tears when faced with the prospect of a haircut, because he absolutely can't stand having his hair look "stupid"--who has a picture in his head of exactly how he wants his hair to look that is about as realistic as my mental image of my perfect body.

Last night (at bedtime, of course), said child announced that today was crazy hair day, and did we have hair gel and colored hair spray? Um. No. And it's bedtime. We're going to skip crazy hair day this year (said with forced nonchalance in the vain hope that this would end the conversation). Which eventually led to Mom flatly refusing to go out in search of crazy hair supplies at 9:00 pm.

Mom, however, failed to convey to Dad to importance, the utter necessity, of not going to get crazy hair supplies--not when Mom is the one who has to get up and deal with child in the predawn hours.

So my morning went like this:

Son: Did Dad get crazy hair gel?

Mom (staring with dismay at the tube labeled "Hair Glue"): Uh...yeah.

Son: Good. Can you spike my hair? [This would be the hair that is down to his shoulders and would give an English Sheep Dog hair envy.]

Mom: Um. I'm not sure. I can try. But this stuff is pretty sticky, so it's going to be really hard to wash out. Are you sure you want to do this?

Son: Of course! It's crazy hair day!

Mom (sighing, because she knows where this is leading): Okay. We have to get your hair damp first. Stick your head under the faucet.

Son: Wait. I need a towel for my shoulders.

Mom hands him a towel.

Son: Wait. I need a washcloth to keep the water out of my eyes.

Mom hands him a washcloth.

Son: Wait.

Mom: What?
Son: Nothing.

Finally sticks his head under the faucet.

Son: Mom! You're getting my hair all wet!

Mom: Yes, I know. That's the point.

Son: But it's going to be all wet!

Mom: Um. Yeah. The directions say "use on damp hair."

Son: But it's wet!

Mom: Okay. Stand up. Let me dry your head a little.

Son: Ow! Ow!

Mom: Time for the gel. How do you want it?

Son: All spiky.

Mom: All over?

Son: Yeah. All over.

Mom rubs large quantity of axle grease into Son's hair and attempts to pull six inch long clumps of damp, sticky hair into spikes. Half a tube later, she sends Son to look in mirror. Son gets that "trying not to cry" look, and Mom's breakfast settles heavily in her stomach.

Mom (tentatively): What do you think?

Son: No. No. No.

Mom: Okay. What do you want me to do?

Son: Cover up my forehead!

Mom: Ah. Well. I don't know if I can do that. The hair is all sticky and clumpy now.

Tears well in Son's eyes.

Mom (grabbing a comb and silently cursing the elementary school): Come here. I'll see what I can do...there. How's that?

Son (starting to sound a little hysterical): Can you make it more poofy?

Mom messes with hair for a little while.

Son (voice going up an octave): Can you make it less poofy?

Mom (starting to show the strain): You just said more poofy!

Son: I know, but I want it less poofy!

Mom messes with hair some more.

Son (clearly losing it now): NO! That's not it! Push it to the side!

Mom: Which side?!

Son: Not THAT side!

Mom: Show me!

Son: I CAN'T! No, just put it back the way it was!

Mom (taking a deep breath and looking surreptitiously at the clock): Okay. We are just about out of time. You have two options. You can leave it like that, or you can go wash your hair. But you have to decide quickly because we have to leave in five minutes.

Son: Just put stuff in my hair!

Mom (puzzled): What stuff?

Son: Chapstick. Rubber bands. Stuff!

Mom (completely baffled now and way past exasperated): I don't have any stuff and we don't have any more time. Go wash your hair. Fast.

Son stomps upstairs to the bathroom. A couple of minutes later, Mom still doesn't hear water running.

Mom: Son? Are you in the shower?

Son: NO! I don't have time! I'll be late!

Mom: You will be if you don't get in the shower right now!

Son: There! I fixed it!

Stomps out of bathroom with hair looking pretty much the way Mom first did it.

Mom: That's how you want it?

Son: Duh! Why couldn't you have just done that to start with? Would that have been so hard?

Mom swallows sharp retort in the interests of moving child toward the door.

Mom: Grab your stuff. We're late.

Son picks up backpack, pulls door shut.

Son: Ow!

Mom: What?

Son: I just shut the door on my finger!

Tears well up in his eyes again.

Mom: Are you okay?

Son (wiping eyes and pushing at sticky hair on his forehead): Yeah.

They get in the car.

Son: This gel is going to be really hard to wash out.

Mom (biting tongue): Mmmm.

Son: It's going to hurt.

Mom (biting tongue harder): Mmmm.

They pull up in front of the elementary school. None of the other kids walking in have crazy hair.

Son (rising hysteria in his voice): Mom? IS today crazy hair day?!

Mom (supply of motherly patience exhausted): Don't know. Hurry up; you'll be late. I love you. Have a great day!

Mom roars out of the parking lot and heads for the coffee.

I fully expect to be getting a phone call from the office in the next hour, asking me to please come pick up my hysterical child so that he can come home and wash his hair.

Motherhood. Yup.


Steph B said...

Oh my poor thing. Big cup of coffee and some lovely knitting. And I strongly suggest that the father-figure be responsible for removal of the hair-gel-axle-grease-crazy-hair-stuff, while *you* go...somewhere else. Somewhere without phone service, but copious amounts of chocolate.

Strickmuse said...

Very funny and a true motherhood story. Been thru similar conversations for every high school dance with my daughter, and the prom finally topped it off. I told her now that I would not want to be part of her wedding... it will be a nightmare.

sophanne said...

All I've got is this...

Mwah hah ha hah hah

from your kid-free blog friend.

Amy J said...

I experienced your first example last night...although I woke to the 1 yr old crying because he was sick.....but in the interest of supporting all suffering moms...the 5 yr old often has gel/hairspray issues after dance recitals. I HIGHLY suggest some'll be a hero :) And in the interest of your sanity...Irish coffee, because sometimes caffiene just isn't enough ;)

lori said...

OH MY. It's as if you placed a secret videocam in my house several years ago and just typed the audio. It takes a long time, but this eventually becomes hilarious. :)

Wanderingcatstudio said...

Just one more reason to be thankful I'm only "mom" to my cats!
I hope he's not too traumatized though - and that it comes out easier than you think!

Sharon said...

Kudos to you for keeping it together through all that hair drama! I think even Mother Teresa might have lost it.

Lol said...

Absolutely hilarious, I was with you every step of the way.

Mary said...

You made me very grateful that our schools go in for "Twin Day" (2 of mine *are* twins) and "Mismatch Day" (all of them are color blind). Hilarious story, though!

Anonymous said...

Yikes. Thank FSM neither of our kids' schools ever had such days. And when they did have anything at all the kids did their own costume/whatever.

SwissKnits! said...

Personally, I'd drop son off at a hair salon for a wash and style... cheaper than listening to all the whining and crying while in the shower.... much cheaper...

patrice said...

Can totally relate - I sent my DD to school for wacky day, complete with inside out shirt, pj pants, wildly ponytailed hair and slippers, only to discover that we were one week early !!! I can never keep up with these theme days. Luckily DD doesn't freak about it (yet!) - must be third child syndrome ;)

Samantha said...

Oh dear. I feel for you, I really do. I had to decorate two children for crazy hair day. The one with the buzz cut was easy. I just used his sister's Moxie Girl hair dye and put polk-a-dots on his head. The sister ... well she has extremely specific ideas of what she wants done. Oh. Joy.

Romi said...

So glad I'm not the only one!

Kristen said...

Oh dear! I remember crazy hair day, who thinks of these horrific things anyway? I must know the end to this story, waiting for the next installment...

Amy S. said...

Laughed myself sick over this and had to call my husband to read it too. You are channeling at least two of our children--the one with the hair, and the one with the dressing-for-school OCD-like issues, though hers are focused on her feet, rather than her head. ("Tie my shoes! No, they're too tight! Not THAT way!!!")

sheep#100 said...

I sit here and thank Almighty God that my daughter's school does not believe in crazy hair day. Crazy socks, yes. Hair - not so much.

Did the phone call ever come??

Anonymous said...

Funny! Now you all need to remember this, especially when the next Crazy Hair Day rolls around - just say NO.