When my six year old played hairdressers she learnt some important life lessons
Ruby had crawled into bed with me after waking from a bad dream and quickly fallen asleep again.
Like any proud Mum gazing at her sleeping child I admired the way a lock of hair fell across her forehead framing her face perfectly; But there was something different about her and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
The next morning as she sat hunched over a bowl shovelling down Weetabix with her eyes glued on Netflix I had a Eureka moment.
”You`ve cut a fringe!” (Although to be accurate it was a sort of half fringe.) Ruby flashed me a grin before her head swivelled back to Kungfu Panda, I hit the pause button- this was serious.
“We’re going to have to straighten that out a bit” I cautioned after delivering a short lecture about the dangers of playing with scissors.
“But I don’t want a fringe.”
Bonding over bad hair
And this was when my six-year-old daughter learned her first hard hair lesson;when you lop it off it won’t instantly grow back like a magic doll and once you cut a fringe you’re stuck with it for a while.
After much cajoling I persuaded Ruby to let me fix it up and as I gingerly snipped my way across her forehead we laughed and bonded over stories of my own youthful hair disasters.
Anyone who was a teen girl in the 90`s will remember Sun in, a spray on highlighter in a bottle which, as the name suggests, was supposed to give you the sun kissed locks of a Californian beach babe. Unfortunately, when I tried it the resulting brassy orange streaks were more Iron bru than Malibu.
“You used to have short hair didn’t you Mum?” Ruby said
“Yes I did….”
What I didn’t tell her was I`d cut it all off in a moment of madness when she was seven months old and I`d broken up with her Dad. My trim little pixie do made me feel strong, empowered and brave for a couple of days until I saw my ex in town with a woman hanging off his arm. I dived into a shop and watched them walk past in a state of shock; I couldn’t take my eyes off them and especially her tiny waist and long, luxuriant chestnut hair which she swished as she leaned against my ex.
I discreetly sobbed under my coat hood all the way home on the bus, no longer feeling so strong, empowered and brave.
You can always wear a hat
Truth be told I wasn’t really cross with Ruby for trying out a new style; after all experimenting and trying on new identities is part of growing up and discovering who you want to be. Over the course of her life her hair will probably be long, short, curly, straight and every colour of the rainbow but I just hope she leaves it a few years first.
When I` d finished tidying up the fringe I stood back and admired my work. All the wispy strands which used to hang around her face were gone and the new style really did make her lovely features stand out-I loved it. Ruby peered into the mirror unconvinced.
“Come on let’s take the dog out “I suggested once I`d brushed up, Ruby ran to get her cycle helmet,
“I thought we were walking?” I said
“We are” she said fastening her chin strap.
But I understood exactly how she felt; A new look can make us walk two inches taller or well, want to hide under a hat and sometimes a mixture of both.
After a few days of trying to pin the fringe back with clips and saying “Has it grown out yet?” every morning I can happily report that Ruby has finally accepted if not embraced the fringe; She has also learned a valuable life lesson. As a wise Buddhist teacher once told me, if you are unhappy about something and can’t change it then practice patience because all phenomena is impermanent -In other words life has a habit of growing things out.
Until next time
Kate M (Mum and more)