It only took 16 months and 4 days. But I finally got up the courage to take Zoey to a hair salon. Here’s what I thought would happen:
Zoey and I enter the salon. The lights go out and I am temporarily blinded by a shot of hairspray. Zoey is snatched from my arms and I am taken down by two stylists in fatigues. My hands are tied and I am duck taped into a chair. Zoey is in a booster seat in the chair next to me getting fed candy. 3 stylist ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ over my daughter while I watch. A fourth stylist stands behind me pressing something hard, round, and I assume dangerous into the base of my skull.She speaks. “We’ve been waiting for you.” I am confused. I tilt my head. Clearly a mistake as the stylist jams the dangerous object deeper into my neck. “Don’t move. Don’t talk. Just listen.” She pauses to make sure I will comply. Zoey is now smiling and happily accepting m&m’s from our captors. The stylist continues, “What you have done is a crime. And you will be punished. Severely.” The stylist then grabs my jaw with her free hand and forces me to look her in the eyes. Her perfectly highlighted hair frames her angry face as she leans forward and whispers, “Tell me why you are here. I want to hear you say it.”I glance at Zoey. She is busy watching Elmo on the TV the doting stylists brought over for her. I gulp. “I’m here,” my voice shakes, “because I have failed to take care of my daughter’s hair?”“Not only have you failed,” she sneers, “You have failed miserably. You have failed worse than anyone has ever failed before.”“But I comb it!” I whisper as tears slide down my face.“Did I ask for your excuses?” She hisses. “Stop sniveling, you sorry excuse for a mother!” The stylists moves back behind me, roughly slaps me in the back of the head and commands, “Now watch. Watch and learn. If you can.”
But what really happened was a hair styling goddess named Sheila came in to work a half hour early just to work with Zoey. She was kind to Zoey and she was kind to me. And people, Sheila has some serious braiding skills. Let me just say that Zoey was not what one would call ‘thrilled’ about her first hair appointment. Sheila made combing through Zoey’s hair look easy — even as Zoey was burying her head in my chest and turning from side to side. I wasn’t blamed for any of the knots. I wasn’t even shot an evil look. When Sheila discovered that Zoey has a majorly dry scalp in some places I said, “Oh geeze! Poor Zoey! Look what her mom did to her. . .” Sheila laughed good naturedly and said, “Girl, stop that! You didn’t know!” And now I do. And I even know what to do about it. Zoey left the salon looking beauteous and at least two and half years old (sniff sniff). I left feeling heartened and (more) confident in my ability to care for Zoey’s hair. I am still afraid of the hair police — as I’m sure wearing a pony tail and baseball cap every day must be a major offense.