Of Lice and Little Girls

When I dropped the girls off at school on Friday, I got a notice from Poppet’s teacher that gave me chills.

Of Lice and Little Girls

I had lice a couple of times when I was a child. I remember foul-smelling shampoo, and sitting still while my mother combed through my hair with that fine-toothed comb. I remember feeling somewhat jealous of my brothers, whose lice treatment was as quick and easy as a shaved head, although I lacked the courage to tell my dad to shave mine too.

As I absently said goodbye to Poppet while reading the notice, her classmate Cowboy came to greet her. Cowboy’s head was shaved, leading me to believe that Lice Patient Zero was right in front of us.

My one hope was that Poppet had been absent on Lice Day, so I tried not to feel too stressed out about it. “She doesn’t have lice,” I said when I got home, dropping the notice onto the dining room table.

But I couldn’t help playing the scenario out in my head.

Poppet has gorgeous, waist-length, thick curls. The thought of combing through all that hair to look for lice and nits made me want to cry. Poppet freaks out when I tell her she’s having a haircut; there’s no way I would ever convince her to shave her head.

When I fetched the girls from school that afternoon, Pixie’s teacher handed me an identical letter.

I checked the girls’ heads that night, and the next morning, and the next night. No lice, but there was still a sense of vague panic lurking in my belly.

Of Lice and Little Girls

On Sunday morning, just before we left for church, I noticed small white flecks in Poppet’s hair. Cue: Freak Out.

As I tried to investigate Poppet’s head without messing up her hairstyle (because: church in ten minutes) I may have raised my voice as I asked, “WHAT IS ON YOUR HEAD?”

She huffed. “Pixie poured salt on me.”

Salt.

The relief I felt in that moment – Salt!

Later, I noticed Pixie had glitter in her hair. “Poppet did it,” she said. “Now I’m a princess.”

On any other day, the girls would have been in trouble, but in the wake of the Lice Scare of 2015, I let them get away with it.

Have you had to deal with lice yet?

Princess Lessons: Live Your Dream

Image source: disney.wikia.com

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair . . .”

When I was a little girl, I always wanted long hair like Rapunzel’s but I lacked the patience to let it grow. When my hair reached halfway down my back, I started begging to have it cut. Poppet, at the age of four, is well on her way to having Rapunzel-length hair When wet, it reaches her bum. (In addition to living vicariously through her curls, I’m now living vicariously through its length.)

Tangled‘s Rapunzel is not just a girl with fabulous (magical) hair, though. She is surprisingly well-adjusted for someone who spends her entire life with just a chameleon as a friend. She likes to read and paint. She’s playful and creative.

And she’s brave. When a strange man enters her tower, she takes action and whacks him over the head with a frying pan. She takes the chance to follow her dream, and she stands up to Mother Gothel when she realises the truth about who she is.

Image source: disney.wikia.com

Image source: disney.wikia.com

Part of what makes Rapunzel so appealing is that, although she’s not 100% content with her life, she doesn’t pin her hopes on a man to make her life better. Her dream of seeing the floating lanterns is what drives her and she does whatever she can to make it come true. Sure, she happens to fall in love along the way, but her romance doesn’t make her lose focus.

I don’t want my daughters to pin all their hopes and dreams on finding the right man. I want them to have adventures and chase their dreams, whether they’re single or not. I want them to be secure in who they are as Poppet and Pixie, to know that it’s not a soulmate who will complete them and make them happy.

Image source: princess.disney.com

Image source: princess.disney.com

And when love comes along, I want them to be brave enough to embrace it.

What do you like about Rapunzel?

Image source: fanpop.com

Image source: fanpop.com

Mama’s Got Skillz

I can do a French plait in two minutes. This may not sound too impressive, but Poppet wears two, sometimes three, French plaits in her hair on any given day. With all the hustle and bustle of a weekday morning, quick French plaits are necessary skill – especially for zombie moms whose coordination is affected by long-term sleep-deprivation.

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This got me thinking about the other skills that mothers develop without really trying. Doing everything with one hand while balancing a baby on your hip is one of the first that appear. Before you realise it you’re making tea, cooking supper and feeding your child all at once. Sometimes, there is also a toddler hanging off your leg while the above is taking place.

Attempting an aerobics workout while children weave under your legs? No problem. Stomach crunches and pelvic lifts with a laughing toddler flopped over your stomach? Bring it on. Making a bed with two bouncing children doing their best to rumple freshly-unrumpled sheets? Piece of cake.

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Motherhood also seems to bring out a woman’s inner Jedi. Catching your child before she tumbles headfirst off the couch, grabbing the cup as it is knocked off the table, pulling your little troublemaker away before she empties the cat’s bowl onto the floor … These are all useful – no, vital – abilities.

Motherhood also develops one’s inner sneak. I have learned how to eat a chocolate in front of my children without them even realising there’s anything in my mouth. (Feel free to be impressed.) I can eat a piece of toast in mere seconds because, despite identical snacks on my children’s plates, they must have what is on mine. I let my tea and coffee cool until almost tepid before I drink it – so that I can down it quickly before children clamber up to see what’s in the cup and knock it over me in an attempt to drink it even though they’ve got their own juice. Most of the time, I’ve resorted to eating and drinking – standing – in a corner of the kitchen in an attempt to avoid being seen by my ravenous offspring. Desperate times, desperate measures.

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And yet, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Happy Mother’s Day, fellow zombies.

An Ode to Curls

I have always wanted curly hair. When I was in primary school, I’d have my mother put curlers in my hair at night so that I could have curls at school the next day. By first break, my hair was as straight as it had been before. Sigh. Of course, that didn’t stop me from repeating the exercise.

Undaunted by my curly-haired friends who told me that having curls was a pain to manage and they’d much rather have my dead straight hair, I had my hair permed for my matric dance. For the first time in my life, I had curls that lasted more than a couple of hours. It was fantastic! . . . And it was also a bit of a pain.

Poppet's curls

Poppet’s curls

Poppet’s hair started to curl somewhere around her first birthday. I was thrilled, but quickly realised that a few months of curls a decade earlier had not prepared me for a child with curls. Detangler and hair oil and wide-toothed combs – Poppet uses more products on her hair than I do on mine! And there is no such thing as “Quickly brush your hair.”

But her curls are beautiful, even if they are a bit of a pain to manage. Fortunately, her fairy godmother is a hairstylist, so my girls will always have fabulous haircuts – and I have someone on call for the day that Poppet or Pixie decide to give each other a real haircut.

Pixie was born with such a thick mop of hair that the nurses in the theatre commented on it. (Yes, I had heartburn throughout my pregnancy, thanks for asking.) I was convinced it would stay straight, or just have a bit of a wave, but again, at around her first birthday, it started to curl.

I tell my girls all the time that they have beautiful hair; I don’t want them to grow up wishing for different hair. When Poppet asks why her hair is curly and mine is straight, I tell her, “Because that’s the way God wanted our hair to be.”

Date Night & Dressing Up

I love dressing up. So does Hubby. It’s probably genetic – Poppet and Pixie play dress up just about every day. But I also enjoy dressing up. Sadly, with two small children, it’s not something I get to do very often. So when Hubby says, “Hey, do you want to go to the premiere of Pad Na Jou Hart? It’s black tie!” of course I’m going to jump at the chance.

Pixie in pink

Pixie in pink

The last movie I saw at the cinema was Skyfall. That was in December. 2012. (I really need to get out more.) The last time I got dolled up was . . . for our wedding anniversary last year? Maybe? I can’t remember.

I squeezed myself into my fanciest dress – last worn in my pre-children days. (Thank heaven for support panties.) Poppet, enthralled, reached out to touch the dress almost reverently. “What’s your princess name, Mommy?” she asked.

It was while I was putting make-up on (to hide the zombie complexion) that I remembered what I don’t like about dressing up. Eyeliner. Trying to make sure the blush is even on both cheeks. Trying to avoid clumpy mascara. Too much eye shadow? Too little? Lipstick on my teeth? You can tell I don’t bother with make-up every day, right? Honestly, I don’t know how women manage to wear make-up in this heat. My face felt like it was melting off all night. Next time I think I’m going to pull a Tilda Swinton and just go nude.  (As in, no make-up, not no clothes.  Get your mind out of the gutter!)

I also realised, as I began brushing my hair, that I probably should have given a bit of thought to what I wanted to do with my hair before, you know, I started doing something with it. “Just put it up,” Hubby said. Men don’t realise there’s no just doing anything when it comes to getting dolled up. There’s hairspray, and bobby pins, and sparkly clips, and more hairspray, and making sure the only hair out of place is hair you actually want out of place.

When I put on my killer high heels, I remembered why they’re my killer high heels. My poor feet are used to flat shoes or going bare. These heels are for sitting and looking pretty, not walking or standing for any period of time. Ah, the price of beauty.

These shoes weren't made for walking (but that won't stop Poppet from trying).

These shoes weren’t made for walking (but that won’t stop Poppet from trying).

We kissed the girls goodbye, wiped Pixie’s snot off my sleeve, and bid Nana good luck. Date night, all dressed up, red carpet event, romantic comedy, free snacks, no children. We really should do this more often. What say you, Hubby?