It sounds easy, sure. Your daughter’s hair is long, it gets in her face, you have to put it in a ponytail.
Little did I know there are ponytail police. Members of this organization are surreptitious. They look like normal people, act like normal people and talk like normal people. But you know they are a member of the ponytail police when phrases like, “Did Daddy do your ponytails today?” pop up directed to your daughter. Or “What a cute way to do her hair.” My favorite: “Are those dreadlocks?”
Yes, I know doing a ponytail is easy for most, but anyone who has taken a look at the top of my head lately should know there hasn’t been anything there with which to practice for quite some time. And practicing on a squirmy 2-year-old is not the easiest. The dreadlocks look is a punt when all else fails. It’s a quick grasp and a rubber band that does the trick but makes her look like she should have a hacky sack. Yes, I know I should brush or comb the hair, but sometimes (OK, most times) she would rather not have that happen. Maybe it’s my technique — although I’ve learned about brushing from the bottom — or maybe she’d rather spend her time with more worthwhile projects like dumping things on the ground or dancing.
I figure the basics are covered when I’m in charge in the morning. She typically wears cleanish clothes that may or may not match or may or may not be appropriate for the weather conditions (sometimes there is the sincere question, “Does she dress herself?” I wish). She eats breakfast that I cook (for the most part). I get her to brush her teeth (although sometimes it’s more of a placing the toothbrush into her mouth in a random way). I change her diaper when needed. I play with her. I read to her. She seems happy. We get along.
And every day I try to get her to allow me to fix her hair. Sometimes she wants two pigtails but changes her mind halfway through so they are so far from even it’s a little sad. For me. She doesn’t seem to care. Sometimes she changes her mind about the color of the rubber bands she requires halfway through which throws everything off. Other days it’s successful and I can get one smooth ponytail in the back with no bumps in the front. Hooray! And I have even been known to have two even pigtails that look really cute. Those are the days when I hear, “You’re getting better!” That’s nice to hear, but still, it would be nice if that was the norm and there was no need for commentary from the ponytail police.
What is also challenging is that the kind people at her day care have a natural knack for hair and sometimes redo it so nice my wife just knows it wasn’t me. I suppose I could ask for their tricks, but maybe that’s cheating?
But maybe, just maybe, it will get the ponytail police off my back until her hair grows long enough for a headband.
Jon Mays is the editor in chief of the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jon on Twiter @jonmays.