Hirsute pursuit

I spray her entire head with detangling matter and set about the task of turning a bird's nest into a respectable head of hair.

This activity is far too close to the category of undoing knots, which is spouse's department. Life is too short to undo knots. I refuse to undo “knots” I just snip them out. I am allergic to knots. Tangles are a subdivision of knots. I have long since delegated this category of tasks to spouse due to his superior skills, both fine motor and patience.

She has decided to let her hair grown long. I have not decided whether to permit this course of action, or not? I am still dithering on my proverbial fence, weighing up the pros and cons. My daughter is under the impression that she has a choice.

I wish to avoid the situation that I found myself in a decade ago with senior daughter. Yards of thick hair, a veritable rope to challenge Rapunzel. Too much for a teenager to manage. I didn't have the time to teach her how to manage her ever burgeoning follicles, nor the patience. I recall evenings spent with organic free range brown shelled eggs, whisked into a poultice. A natural hair conditioner. Nothing out of a bottle for that one. Holistic and organic, before it was fashionable.

The result was scrambled eggs in a metre of hair, because the rinsing water was just a tad too warm. The hysteria, the tears, the cleaning the bath. The status of being the only person granted permission to snip fragments off the ends, a mere shaving, so as not to lose the 'length.' Never again.

“Tell you what, at the weekend I'll teach you how to wash it, so that you don't have any tangles. [translation = snarls]
“O.k. Daddy did it all wrong!” she moans. [translation = multitasking parents delegate different jobs]
“No, not really, it's just that Daddy's hair is very short, so he doesn't know much about tangles.”
“Only ripping them out!” she snarls.

I brush gently with the occasional tweak and immediate apology. It's time consuming, especially at this fraught time of the morning. I leave spouse to cope with the boys and guide her to another room, out of earshot from their screaming. [translation = put on your socks campaign] We sit quietly, brush, tweak and chat. Minutes pass. Quiet minutes, apart from the tweaking and squeaking. I'll be short of time this weekend. Short of time then, short of time now. It helps me to remember that a decade ago, maybe I chose not to teach her big sister how to cope with her own hair, hard to say now, it was so long ago. [translation = one continent and several lifetimes]

It’s so important to teach all of them ‘life skills,’ I really shouldn’t show favouritism. Maybe I will be very busy this weekend. Maybe I won't teach this one either. Surely that would still be fair, to someone?


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A word from the Wise


The baby sitter [translation = Respite Care] arrives promptly at 6:00 p.m. [translation = always] I resist the temptation to kiss her feet and greet her cordially. She attends to the herd whilst I attend to other outstanding matters. [translation = laundry of course] 95 minutes later she seeks me out. [translation = extracts me from seven hampers of laundry]
“Aren't you goin yet?”
“Er nearly. I've only got this last lot to fold.”
“I thought you said you were going Christmas shopping?” [translation = holiday shopping] I pull a face. [translation = “allergic to shopping” of any kind]
“I am. I just don't know where to go and I don't know what to buy?”
“Well yur not gonna find anything much if you stay here!” I concede the wisdom of her words, bid farewell to small people and skuttle out of the house on an aimless mission. [translation = doomed to failure]
I return home 90 minutes later with long trousers for the boys and one gift for senior daughter which she probably doesn't need or want. [translation = a person who has taken minimalism to an extreme, even for a Brit] The sitter glances at my carriers. [translation = bags]


“Spose ya didn't have that long after all that time ya wasted.” She gives me a look that tells me that I am a failure in the shopping department. She updates me of occurrences during my absence. [translation = none, they all fell fast asleep as soon as the garage door closed.] We sign forms and I bid her farewell.

I plop onto the sofa and examine the list of some 600 programmes of entertainment waiting for me on the TIVO since my last visit. [translation = oh lucky woman] I determine which murder I wish to be party to, and how much dismemberment I can cope with? [translation = whodunits] I crack open another tub of peanuts. [translation = 1lb {sub translation = short 4 ounces as a pound is only 16 ounces out here. I blame the illiterate Pilgrim fathers] I can't believe I've managed to munch my way through all 'four packs for the price of one' purchase, already. [translation = rats to the braces]
I am in mid munch when I hear foot falls on high. [translation = rats, I thought it was too good to be true] It's not the skippy one or the bumpy one. I leap from my seat to turn the power off the telly. [translation = just in time to avoid vision of fatal stabbing with a pen]
“Hi mom,” she sidles.
“Hello dear, I thought you were asleep?”
“I was, but then I heard you come home.” [translation = her bedroom is above the garage door = no chance of a secret life style] She smiles at me, sweetly before asking
“Is the sofa stinky?” [translation = she's seen the towels that I'm sitting on, post senior son's stomach eruption.]
“It's a bit steamy, but otherwise quite fresh.” She steps onto it gingerly and snuggles in to my body, arranging my arms just so.
“So,” she adds casually, “did yah get any presents for me?” [translation = rats, I forgot she has her birthday before Christmas{sub translation = failed motherhood 101 again]


“Er not exactly,” I haver. She bounced off the couch and pounces on the bags. [translation = the 'typical sibs' are always short changed {sub translation = the normal brothers and sisters are neglected}]
“What! Clothes! Trousers for the boys! What about my presents?”
“Tomorrow, definitely tomorrow, if he's well enough to go to school that is.” She slumps back beside me and we listen to the tumble drier tumbling and the washing machine washing as I try and find an excuse.
“Y'know you shouldn't be eating peanuts,” she scowls helping herself to a couple with dextrous finger tips.
“You're getting me muddled with Daddy, he's the one on the diet.”
“You're the one with the wonky teeth.” [translation = no flies on her {sub translation = rumbled by the perceptive child}]
“Isnit quiet,” she half whispers.
“You're right, that's what it's like when you're all asleep.”
“I like it!”
“Me too. Would you like me to read you a story?” I reach over to the teetering stack of books on the trunk, but she doesn't answer immediately. I wait, my thumbnail riffling the corners. I stroke her matted hair as she nestles.
“Nope. I'm o.k. jus like this.”

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