we’re all happy hair

I’m sure that by now, many of you have seen this story about how kids who are watching TV when they get an injection are less likely to report pain than kids who were just being comforted by their mothers (question–were no fathers involved in these doctors visits?).

Obviously, the researchers have not been at our house when the Bee’s hair is being brushed after a bath. Despite the soporific effects of the Fairly Oddparents (which, btw, is there a more inane kids show? no, don’t answer that), she complains tremendously when we’re de-tangling.

Landisdad and I have a passive conflict going about the Bee’s hair, a sort of hair cold war, if you will. I love the Bee’s hair, and as a former long-haired girl myself, I remember too well how much it hurts to have it yanked on. Both the Bee and I are pretty tender-headed, and yet I loved having long hair, and I know she loves her hair.

Landisdad has a much less sentimental vision of the Bee’s hair, and tends to advocate for a much shorter haircut. I have a very vivid memory of getting my first short haircut when I was 8 or 9 years old, and having my best friend mistake me for a boy when I was walking down the street. It was fairly disconcerting to me, and made me immediately regret my choice to cut my hair.

I don’t want to be one of those mothers who lives vicariously through her child. If the Bee came to me tomorrow and said she wanted a buzz cut, I’d cry, but I’d do it. She should have the right to do what she wants with her hair.

The Potato has much shorter hair than the Bee right now, and he wants ponytails. I’ve considered letting him grow his out, but I don’t know. If he’s anywhere near as tenderheaded as the Bee, I couldn’t survive bath night.


August 22, 2006. thoughtful parenting.


  1. Ms Sisyphus replied:

    I kinda like Fairly Oddparents. It sure beats Martin Mystery.

    I was a longhair girl into my 20s–like, past the elbows long. I always thought my daughters would have long hair, but Diva Girl’s is really thin and always looked scraggly–once it finally grew, which took about 3 years. I’ve been much happier with it ever since I let go of my thoughts of what a little girl’s hair should look like and cut it into a bob.

    I say give the Potato his ponies. How long will he be able to indulge those types of whims before the pressure to conform to gender norms gets to him, after all?

  2. chichimama replied:

    We have the opposite fight over here. I want to chop A’s hair because we both cry every time I brush it, M insists we have to keep it long. So now hair brushing is his job. I didn’t thinnk about using the TV though, that might work…

  3. elise replied:

    I have a GREAT hint for you!!!! Go out immediately and buy “Knot Forgotten” put out by Aussie. It is a conditioner that works great for snarls. The directions say to brush out your hair when its still wet (after using the knot forgotten) and we’ve found this is important – once your hair dries the detangling effects are not as good. Also, it doesn’t seem to make the hair look greasey like the spray on kinds can. You know Sarah is my sensitive one and that includes her head. I usually let her brush out her own hair since it seems to hurt less than when someone else does it. Good luck and let me know if you try the stuff.

  4. Ashley replied:

    My daughter is a tender head. She got her hair cut to just above shoulder length but still gets upset when it comes to brushing/combing. A detangler definitely helps. I haven’t tried the “Knot Forgotten” but I have used Mane & Tail (on me) and the Kid Solutions “Afraid Knot” from Great Clips on my daughter.

  5. jackie replied:

    One of my girls has a pixie cut and the other a bob– a gret improvement over my childhood bowl-cuts, I think, but also not the waist-length fairy-princess hair I longed for. My philosophy: they can have longer hair once they’re old enough to wash it and brush it themselves!

  6. Lady M replied:

    It’s been so warm that I’ve been trying to trim Q’s hair. He squirms so much that I only get about three scissor snips before he’s had enough. I think we’re going to be in haircutting mode for weeks at this rate!

  7. angela replied:

    i think brushing *my* hair hurts more than getting needles.
    then again, i get pierced quite often!

  8. Daydreams and Musings replied:

    I can totally relate. A Girl has hair past her shoulders (it was nearly to the middle of her back but I convinced her to cut a couple inches off the other day) and it is a constant struggle to keep it tangle free. She generally brushes her own hair (as Ashley notes, it hurts less). I’ve found that although the spray detangler works great for M Girl’s hair, it makes A Girl’s hair worse! Have you tried changing shampoos? Unfortunately, A Girl’s hair doesn’t do as well with most of the less-expensive brands (but Suave seems to work well).

    I had hair to the middle of my back when I was eight. After a particularly horrendous battle with a huge, rats-nest knot, my mom put it in a ponytail and cut it off. THEN she took me to the hair dresser! It was awful.

    BTW – A Girl is going to be playing a boy in an upcoming professional theater production. She almost wanted us to turn down the role when she found out she’ll have to cut her hair. But they promised that it wouldn’t be too short and we assured her that it will, in fact, grow back. (And it’s a fabulous opportunity so a short hair cut is a sacrifice worth making).

  9. Kate the Shrew replied:

    That’s funny– I just gave Queen B her first haircut this afternoon! We were both getting sick of those last wispy three inches getting tangled all the time. It’s still long, but hopefully less tangle-prone, as she also hates having it brushed out.

    I used to have waist length, tangle-prone hair, and my mom would tell me stories while she brushed, to keep us both entertained.

    I’m a fan of the Pantene leave-in conditioner spray, myself. Works well on either wet or dry hair.

  10. Jay replied:

    My youngest sister was the very worst at having her hair brushed, so of course my mother delegated the job to me. I still have nightmares.

  11. Anjali replied:

    Mira’s hair is past her butt, but, believe it or not, I only really brush it once a week, after we wash it. Mira wears her hair in two braids all day, and all night. In the mornings, I undo the braids, wet them with water, and rebraid them. Her hair looks neat and tidy, as if I brushed it, but of course, I did nt such thing. On nights I wash it, I squirt the heck out of it with detangler, and it does the trick fairly well.

  12. Library Lady replied:

    Don’t brush it wet–it’s really bad for hair!
    My girls have my curly hair–JR’s is quite fine and SC’s is very, very, THICK! Good haircuts from someone who gets their hair(and mine) has helped–and SC is finally learning to deal with her own hair.
    We wash their hair, condition it and comb it with a WIDE toothed comb while the conditioner is on it. “Miss”Cindy says to comb it after rinsing it too, though we seem to forget that most of the time. But it’s a lot easier to deal with the tangles when their hair is wet and slippery. The detangler sprays never worked much for us…

  13. R Sea replied:

    No need to remain a “former” longhair! (lol) One is never too old to re-grow beautiful tresses, IMO. As for kiddies, my youngest girl screamed bloody murder when she had her hair combed. It looked fantastic, but off it went before the police showed up at our front door.

  14. BBSP at five years « Bumblebee Sweet Potato replied:

    […] #4–We’re All Happy Hair. Is it the same people who want to read about my kids’ teeth? […]

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