Pride Goes Before A Fall

Little Miss Sunshine will be three years old in a few weeks, but she’s never had a real haircut. Twice we’ve trimmed off a quarter inch of baby hair, but otherwise, her hair grows free and wild, billowing around her face in an echo of her carefree heart.

This afternoon, Gal Smiley cut it all off. Right down to the scalp in a few places; an inch or so long in others.

When the Little Miss came downstairs, all excited and proud — we were enjoying a little quiet time as the girls played upstairs and the Captain amused himself with some Lego — I cried. Wept like someone had died. I could not get a hold of myself.

Sir Monkeypants struggled to reel me in, all the while trying to assure the Little Miss that she looked beautiful, and sending the Gal away to her room for her own safety.

I eventually stopped crying, but I still couldn’t face it. What’s wrong with me? It’s only hair. It’s not like she’s injured or sick. It’s not even permanent.

And yet.

My girly girl, my little one who used to love ponytails more than anything, who used to often say that her long hair made her into a princess, who used to say that the similar style of her hair to my own made us a team — I can’t even look at those bald patches under her princess crown without a lump coming to my throat.

I can’t shake the feeling that Gal Smiley did this not out of boredom or curiousity, but to deliberately take something away from her sister.

I don’t know how I’m going to face the Little Miss tomorrow morning, when she wakes up and looks at me with those giant, innocent, saucer eyes and wants to know why she can’t have ponytails today. She doesn’t understand that it doesn’t grow back in a day.

It’s only hair. Get a grip.

We’re walking a fine line on punishment over here. First of all, Gal Smiley had to clean up the mess — there was hair EVERYWHERE in our house, in everyone’s bed, all over both bathrooms. Piles of hair on the floor, on counters, on the Captain’s video game machine. Gal Smiley did vacuuming and laundry and wiping and then she was sent to her room.

Is that enough? We think what she did was pretty bad. “I didn’t hurt her!” was the first thing out of Gal Smiley’s mouth. She maybe didn’t hurt the Little Miss physically, but she hurt her heart — she took something that the Little Miss valued. She didn’t empathize or think about what the Little Miss might want. She treated her sister like a doll, not like a living creature.

She told the Little Miss that having her hair cut off would make her prettier, and the Little Miss, who worships her older sister, believed her completely. She asked us over and over, “I pretty now? Now my hair make me pretty?” and my heart broke.

Your sweet spirit makes you beautiful, my love.

Yet my own pride in your lovely long hair, my own love of making braids and pigtails is getting in the way of me selling that truth.

There are a lot of worse things Gal Smiley could have done. After all, it’s only hair, The damage isn’t permanent.

Oh, except for FameThrowa’s upcoming wedding photos. And her third birthday photos. And every photo we take for the next two years. Or three. Or five. Pass the tissues.

I’m overreacting, right? This ongoing need to cry over my child’s lost hair?

Her love of the world remains unchanged. Her adoration of Gal Smiley is still there. At bedtime, instead of her usual goodnight song, she wanted to sing a new song she’d learned today from Gal Smiley, that goes like this: “Cut cut cut!”

She’s happy and gorgeous and delightful.

She’s way, way smarter than I am.

15 thoughts on “Pride Goes Before A Fall

  1. betsy mae

    Awwww! I do feel really badly for you, I can totally sympathize with you (although my gal cut her own hair…but I did cry). The good news is that when you look back at those wedding photos and her 3 year bday photos you are SOOOOO going to giggle about this. I know you must be making a face at me right now, or swearing or something but it’s true. This will make a cute story to tell one day. Sorry..that’s the best I could come up with!!!!

    You must go and get it ‘cleaned up’. I took Bug for a haircut to try and make the most of a bad situation.

    As for the punishment? I think that was enough. Gal Smiley mustn’t have been that Smiley when the poop hit the fan at your place. Thank goodness Little Miss isn’t unhappy with her new hairdo, imagine if she was??

    Oh and since I know I’ve made you feel SOOOOOOO much better I might as well take one more kick at the can and add that perhaps Gal Smiley will be a famour hairstylist, you just never know.

    Okay..sorry! I do feel badly for you because I can vividly remember what it was like picking up my babies hair off her closet floor, I cried and cried and cried. Everyone else thought it was pretty darn funny but I did not.

  2. It does grow back. Really.

    when I was four my mom took me to a hairdresser to cut my uncontrollable hair that was half down my back. When the hair got to my shoulders, my mom said just a little more.

    Part way through her magazine article she looked up to find her girl (only girl) getting a brush cut. My hair was shorter than every boys we knew including both my brothers. He actually took an electric razor to it.

    It grew back and my mom dressed me dresses for ages afterwards.

    I do agree with the need to get it fixed. Call around until you find a hairdresser who will help fix it and even it out and work with you and her while it grows out. The salon trips can be a special treat for her!

  3. Awww, I’m so sorry! It must have been such a shock to see Little Miss like that. The hair will grow back, though, honest it will.

    I think the punishment for Gal Smiley sounds like enough. I’m sure she understands she shouldn’t have cut her sister’s hair.

  4. CapnPlanet

    Oh. My. God.

    Sure, it grows back, but I have to say I really don’t know how I’d react in this situation. What’s scariest is Little Miss is too young to understand that it won’t grow back for a long, long time (in her time scale, it’s an eternity).

    Kids are resilient though — it’s quite possible she’ll just brush it off after a few days, and then like betsy mae said it’ll just be something you’ll all laugh about one day. Hair is most certainly not the only thing that makes the world an amazing place to her.

  5. SirMonkeyPants

    I had taken CJB off to soccer, so I wasn’t around for bedtime. I think the “cut cut cut” song would have been too much for me. Gal Smiley made a game of cutting her sister’s hair — complete with a song.

    The worst part is that she doesn’t seem remorseful. She’s obviously not happy that we’re mad and that she’s in trouble. But no tears. Not even a token “I’m sorry.”

  6. How old is Gal Smiley again?

    I truly believe in trying to find punishments that actually relate to the “crime”. When Liam (6) was horsing around while emptying the dishwasher -after being clearly and repeatedly told not to SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE GLASS THINGS CAN BREAK- he broke a glass (while chasing his brother with it *sigh*). To me, it does not good to, say, take away his Lego for a week. So I made him give me a dollar to pay for the glass…

    The tears and wailing and gnashing of teeth that followed were monumental.

    He doesn’t mess around with the dishes any more.

    Does Gal Smiley get an allowance? What if you made her pay for the hair dresser? Or pay for new hats/bows/barretts (I have boys! I can’t even SPELL THAT WORD) for her sister? Or GIVE Little Miss some of her own treasured hair accessories? Not as a way to “get revenge”, but as a way for her to “fix” what she did?

    Just ideas.

    (I cried when *I* cuy MY SON’S hair. I can’t imagine on your sweet little girl…)

  7. MrsCarlSagan

    OOOOOH! That must have been so shocking. I totally understand your tears. I agree with Betsy Mae, you should take her to at least get it cleaned up. Geez, I don’t know what to say. Devastating right now, but it a few years it will likely be kinda funny.

  8. omg Lynn. I am sitting here crying at work. how devistating. yes, it will grow back, but it’s the fact that it was such a shock, not discussed, and having no say in it that must be hard for you and monkey pants. and the fact that gal doesn’t see what’s wrong with it all must be upsetting as well. i’m with amy, maybe having little miss taking something away from gal will help it sink in a little more for her. i hate to say it, but i’m all for an eye for an eye, but maybe don’t word it that way to gal. 😉

    also, if little miss starts to get sad about her hair, i think going to a salon would be nice. maybe a place like melon heads, where they specialise in kids and she can get all kinds of extra stuff. a bit of a haul for you, but it might be worth it. i’d give them a call to see if they have dealt with something like this. i imagine they have. and just think, a lovely little pixy cut for your fairy princess. ooh, she could even get her own “products.”

  9. Well, as the mother of two girls with A Lot of Hair I can certainly understand where you’re coming from. I would be heartbroken too. I don’t think you’re overreacting at all.

    If this happened in our family I would be very very angry and disappointed. What she did was very wrong. I know it’s just hair, but it’s not her place to decide what to do with someone else’s hair! She took something very valuable away from her little sister – whether the sister is aware of it or ok with it or not.

    Personally I would I do something like Amy/muddyboots did with the Lego, because this is pretty serious, I’m not sure if cleaning up the hair would be enough to really drive the point home!

  10. Reading this broke my heart.

    I think you hit the nail on the head. It is about respect. Little Miss doesn’t understand. I bet Gal Smiley does.

    The girl cut her brother’s hair the other day but just a bit. To show she could. To cut it all off is pretty systematic.


  11. Aww …. that is a shock, no more hair on a little girl. I totally understand why you would feel upset. I think hair cutting is a pretty common childhood experiment though. I recall the two neighbourhood girls (friends, not sisters) getting together and one of them leaving with much shorter hair (her mom was really upset too).

    I like smothermother’s idea of going to a fancy kid’s hairplace to get it trimmed up. I’d also probably make a big deal out of it so that she felt pretty special about the whole thing.

    If it’s any consolation, at least you’ve got a GREAT story for the family history books! Just think about them telling this story when they’re our age. It seems way worse now that it will in a year from now.

    Hair grows sooooo quick. You’ll be amazed. (((hugs)))

  12. I completely sympathize. Eve never cut her hair but she was rashy, and when she had chicken pox all over her face I wanted to cry every time I looked at her — I felt like I still knew she was beautiful, but strangers wouldn’t see it. It’s hard with kids, every loss seems part of the bigger losses that happen as they grow up. It’s a continuous grieving process, and you’re allowed.

  13. OH god, just catching up on the blogs…

    I’d make sure the Gal understands why what she did was wrong. Very wrong… I’d make sure she apologizes and does all of the little one’s chores for a while. (Does the little one have chores?)

  14. Have you asked Gal why she did it? I, too, am a bit concerned about the reasons… I’ll try to remain impartial though.

    Does Little Miss have any headbands? She might enjoy some of those. Even if there isn’t hair to keep back, they’d add a girly flair while you wait for the hair to grow back.

  15. Lynn, I’m way late in reading this, but I am so choked up I had to comment. I have no idea how I’d react in your situation, but I can viscerally feel how upset I’d be — I’m surprised how upset I am by proxy! And the betrayal is the hardest part to comprehend. I’m hoping you’ve found your peace with this by now. But this was one of the toughest blog posts to read I’ve read in a long time…

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