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.
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.