Or, rather, dear God please help me because I am not equipped for 8-year-old angst.
Seriously. Can she not wait just a few years before putting my mama heart through the wringer?
So Friday, during my lunch hour, I took Tootie to get her hair cut before school started today. She told the stylist she wanted a longish bob that fell to her shoulders.
Well, apparently, the stylist, who I’m pretty sure is new, couldn’t get the sides even, which means she just kept cutting. And cutting.
End result: My daughter, hunched over in the car, sobbing and chanting, “I look like a freak. I’m NOT going to school like this.”
Enter wailing: “I can’t wear ponytails! I look ugly with short hair! I look like a boy!”
Actually, she looked adorable. But when I told her so, she accused me of parental bias.
“You have to say that,” my little Tootie wept. “You’re my moooooootherrrrrr.”
So I pulled out my arsenal of girlie ammo.
“Let’s get our nails done!” I declared.
Tootie left the salon with glittery gold fingernails.
I left with a new color of toe polish.
The next day, we finished up some last-minute shopping.
The hair. It was too short. Her social life — doomed.
At the shoe store, as she looked longingly at a rack of shimmery earrings, she asked wistfully, “When can I get my ears pierced?”
“Whenever you’re ready,” I replied.
And off to Merle Norman we went.
I was a little worried about how she would handle it, but Tootie remained stoic before, during and after the piercing.
OK, so — manicure, piercing and lip gloss. Surely this would boost her confidence enough to forget about the haircut, right?
But see, it’s not the haircut that’s the crux of the issue.
It’s the fact that last year, Tootie’s best friend, Jada, moved away.
Since then, she’s been lost at recess, lonely in the lunchroom.
“I miss Jada,” she confided last night. “I wish she would move back.”
“Maybe this year, you’ll make some other friends,” I said. “But you have to give other girls a chance. They’re not going to be exactly like Jada. That’s what made her special. But if you get to know the other kids, you might see that they’re special in their own way too.”
And then we had a loooong discussion about how she’s smart and creative and sweet and that maybe it would be better not to dwell so much on hair that will, after all, grow out in a matter of weeks.
This morning, Baby Girl walked bravely into the classroom.
And my heart burst open with pride, even as it hurt for her loss of a best friend.