Splitting Hairs

I get the message at work:

“Guess what your child has done.”

It’s just after one ‘o clock in the afternoon, so it’s obviously to do with Youngest.

I’ll just get to it.  My four-year-old, at school, had decided that a particular chunk of hair was the source of such irritation that it deserved the full wrath of her ire and thus be sentenced to  permanent separation from her head. The weapon of her justice: a tiny pink pair of blunted kiddies scissors.

Her teacher understandably experienced a fair amount of emotional displacement at the sight of one of the children in her care frolicking about with a bale of her own hair in her hand. There were apologies a’plenty at the pickup. I know that other parents take teachers to task over such incidents, but the child must first and foremost be held accountable for her actions. We believe so, at least.

The entire episode was a source of bemusement for the two of us. The Wife said that she’d had a hard time trying not to laugh, as did I when I found out over the phone.

Okay. We downright giggled. Why? I’m not too sure, but I think it may be that we half expect this from her. Youngest lives by her own rules, and whatever the rest of the world thinks is merely a set of mildly amusing guidelines.  You might ask yourself why we aren’t more concerned with Youngest’s attitude towards life, and my answer is simply that even so, she is naturally kind and sharing and gentle, which to me makes for a sound foundation to a strong and good personality. Nonetheless I’ll probably be laser-removing tattoos off her at the onset of teenagerdom.

This is the exact antithesis of eight-year-old Eldest, mind you. I recently came upon her in a fretful spin of anxiety, fearing that the police would be knocking on our door. The reason? An overdue library book. Thankfully the government hadn’t yet activated its S.W.A.T. team of mildly ill-tempered bespectacled librarians. I managed to nullify the situation by returning the priceless volume post-haste to the institution. She’s a stickler for rules, that one.

Anyway, back to Youngest. Do we condone this type of behaviour? No. Our mirth was saved only for ourselves (until this post), and Youngest, now sporting a bob-cut at eyebrow level over only the left side of her face, was the recipient of a less than kind reprimanding on our part.

The worst was yet to come. Our little one had never been to a hairdresser before, and the situation necessitated such action. So off we went to do some damage control. I admit I made myself scarce and left Wifey to deal with that particular ordeal. The hairdresser did best she could, but there was no denying that youngest now resembled an ‘eighties diva. Gone were the long natural bangs. Gone was the barely tamed thicket of curls. Part of the little girl I knew was left there on the floor of that hair salon that day.

I know that she has learned her lesson. Almost every day Youngest is reminded of her unfortunate decision to cut her own hair.  Much frustration followed, as a sizeable mass of strands could no longer be pulled back into her ponytail, leaving it to hang beside her face unless fastened by an army of clips. When she voices her annoyance we remind her of the reason, although she sometimes ripostes that we cut more of her hair off than she did.

I almost feel sorry for her. Sometimes.

Okay, maybe I do, but I can’t help smiling about it all.