Friday, July 26, 2013

It's her favorite color

A friend gave me some good parenting advice the other day.

"We should say 'yes' to our kids as often as possible," Liz explained. "So that when we say 'no,' it really means something."

And before you go filing that away for future use, I should issue this caveat: sometimes, when you take someone's good advice, it can have unintended consequences. So now that you know the back story, what follows is The Tale of How My Daughter and I Ended Up With Pink Hair.

It all began when I decided to take Abby to a fancy salon for her first ever hair cut. I've given her a trim here and there, but we all agree that I am not a professional stylist, nor do I have a clue how to handle her wild curls. But Robin is a professional stylist, and one whose specialty is curly hair, at that.

"What do people do at a fancy salon?" my daughter asked me when I told her what the day's adventure would be.

Oh, they get their hair cut, and colored, and styled, I explained.

(Looking back, I probably could have chosen my words more carefully.)

"I'm going to get a hair cut?" she asked. I nodded.

"And then can I get my hair colored pink?" she continued. I paused. I had told her that's what they do there.

I took that request up with her dad. Seeing no moral objection to pink hair, we declared it an okay move. Say 'yes' as often as possible, remember?

(Actually, her dad's exact words were, "She's homeschooled. It's not like anybody's going to care." Three cheers for homeschooling!)

Off to the salon we went, with nary another mention of pink hair. Until she sat down.

"When does it get pink?" she asked, as Robin worked her magic with the scissors.

I gave my consent, and a hot pink concoction was painted onto a strip of hair about an inch wide, directly in the middle of my 5-year-old's head. And she loved every minute of it.
"Are you going to get pink hair too, Mommy?" asked my daughter, as the pink dye soaked into that long blond curl.

Ummm. I hadn't really thought about it.

I looked into my daughter's eyes, and I saw in that moment the excitement of being at the fancy salon, of having a pink strip of hair, and the hopefulness that I would join her. In an instant, I flashed forward to the thousands of crazy decisions she'll face in life, and saw that I had an opportunity here that wouldn't last long.

Maybe, just maybe, one day she'll have another wild idea--perhaps more serious than pink hair, or perhaps not--and maybe, just maybe, she'll remember this day. Maybe she'll decide mom's okay after all, and maybe she'll run it by me first. It's a risk I'm willing to take.

I flashed back to the salon, and decided then and there to take my own advice.

Say 'yes' as often as possible, remember?

Abby happens to think the matching pink streaks in our hair are awesome. Mission accomplished.

Also, I think magenta highlights are totally appropriate for a first grader and a homeschooling mom of four.

The first grader agrees.


  1. Where are the mother/daughter after pictures? :P

  2. I've had both pink (which I kept for about two years) and purple hair in my grown up life. Justin gets major bonus points for being so cool with it.