I’ve always wanted girls. I don’t know what I was thinking when I came to that decision. I guess I only thought about the best parts of being a dad. I envisioned tea parties and father daughter dances. Doling out all of my fatherly wisdom in a Cliff Huxtable/Tim Taylor mash-up type of way.
I never really thought about the personal grooming. The teaching of, and then constant corrections, when it comes to manners and eating habits. Oh, and the hair. I never thought about all the hair. All the hair that needs to be brushed and combed. All the hair that needs to be de-tangled, washed and braided.
Then there’s the attitude. Or better yet, the attitude that accompanies the hair doing. Or better yet still, the attitude that accompanies the hair doing, followed by proclamations of their demise because of these injustices being forced upon them.
There are times when I get endlessly thanked for all of my hard work that goes into de-tangling, combing, brushing, washing, braiding and slaving over their heads full of hair. And that’s what makes all the hard work worth it (sometimes). My toddler, Kammie, shows her approval with smiles and primping and an endless amount of hugs, kisses and I love you’s.
From Jamilah , I get the reluctant, nonchalant approval from a pre-teen that I assume translates into “thanks for the awesome hair dad” (Sarcasm?). She just says that “it’s good”. With follow up trips past the mirror, walking slowly while subtly glancing at herself. I assume that she actually loves it but is just too cool and “mature” to really show her approval.
Then there are those other times. Those unbearably long hair sessions that involve screaming, tears and slammed doors. From the youngest twig, all I get are crocodile tears and cries of how every part of her tiny little head hurts. The meltdowns are turned up to 11 for simple hairstyles such as a ponytail. We’ve found out that when washing her hair the water occasionally turns into acid as it hits her scalp. We have contacted the water company about the problem. They’ve sent out water test kits and all looks to be balanced on their end.
From a slightly older branch on the family tree, I receive mental death threats and scathing looks as she peers through the mirror into the depths of my soul. At times, when the comb or brush touches her hair, it causes uncontrollable body spasms as well as seizures that result in violent eye rolling. From what I can gather it seems that each strand of hair is connected directly to her central nervous system. Being the great father that I am, I Googled her symptoms and realized that she was having syncope seizures. After talking with her pediatrician we have ruled out syncope seizures but she was diagnosed as being an assholic 11 year old. I have been told to dose myself with I don’t give a fuck and move on.
I’ve decided to self medicate and take a dose or two when I do Kammies’ hair as well. The results have been fantastic and I really feel that it has helped me step up my parenting skills. To help me focus on the best parts of being a dad, my new prescription is there to remind me of the hugs and all the primping in the mirror, to catch a glimpse of all the hard work that I know they appreciate in the end.