Saturday, August 20, 2011

School Daze

After 10 years of embracing her curls and the wild look, Alison wanted to straighten her hair for the first day of 5th grade.

Maybe a decade is too strong. It did take her a while to actually have hair. Anyway, she's been accepting her femininity in fits and starts lately. Sometimes I want to help her get there. Other times I want to keep my innocent tomboy just as she is.

Fifth graders wear either skirts or uniform pants rather than the jumpers she's had since kindergarten. Last year she declined to wear her jumpers in favor of pants, and while I insisted she get one skirt, she's starting off this year in pants, too. She's still putting off a trip to the hair salon for a real hair cut, and she's now a brown belt at taekwondo, so she's more tomboy than girly girl. At least this week.

She said she wanted straight hair mostly to give her classmates a shock her first day back at school. Another tomboy kind of thing, right? I pondered what else was motivating her, but decided to just let it lie.

Then, she suggested she might need another spray tan like we'd gotten for Jen's wedding, but darker. Yeah. I think she's been watching a little too much iCarly or something. She wants to look cute!!!! That's a GIRL THING, dammit!

She doesn't ask for a whole lot, though, and it seemed like a fun thing to do. I always take the day before school off work, and we had to start our day with a visit to the orthodontist. That first day of braces tightening is painful, so the idea of a spray tan and some bona fide girl time seemed like just the way to bounce back from that.

We had an opportunity to swim at the Riviera Club with a bunch of her school friends, too so that was just icing on the cake -- albeit icing that ate into my carefully orchestrated plans. You can't spray tan and then swim or you lose all your color. I'd planned for the spray tan to be sandwiched between the orthodontist and lunch.

But Ali's mouth was really hurting, so she had some Tylenol, tomato soup and TV at home while I took care of a bit of work. We didn't get to the pool until after 1. It was 5 before we left, and the salon closed at 6:30. So we dashed home, we got her showered and I slathered her hair down with straightening solution.

We got her sprayed down and then came home to blow out the hair. Then out came the flat iron and another straightening product. An hour later, it was like we had a different little girl. She didn't seem quite so little. And she seemed way more girl than I'm used to.

I did take the opportunity to actually see her hair to trim it up evenly. When it's curly, it's like trying to measure a barrel of snakes. Not that I'd have any part of that, but still, it's hard. The only good thing is that it's so curly that you can't tell how raggedy it is.

School got off to a good start. Everyone oohed and aahed. Not that I got the full scoop -- she was a little too cool to really dish with her mother.

This morning, she wanted to snuggle on the couch and watch TV and read. I might have gotten to the couch before she did. We got caught up in Cake Boss and that led to wanting to make cookies. Then she decided we should make one for every kid in the 5th grade. We cut out boys, girls and school bells, but she was the decorator, and she wanted to make each of the kid shapes to match her classmates.

At one point while she was decorating, she ran in to show me she'd started one for Jordan. It already had hair, eyes and a mouth. Sht told me she was going to use chocolate icing to show his skin tone. I remarked that she maybe should have started with the skin first.

She shrugged, trotted off and said, "Eh, live and learn."

It's going to be a good school year.

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