Thursday, January 31, 2008

My son wants his hair highlighted.

Last year, the thing that he absolutely had to have, because "Mom you know everybody else's mom is letting them get one", was an iguana. I have to say that I'm not a real big fan of reptiles or amphibians, but I still didn't think that it would be fair for him to bring an iguana into our house just so that it could die of starvation and neglect. This was my argument. I guess it seemed logical enough because after a little while, the iguana became a moot issue in our household. Whew! bullet dodged.

This year everybody is getting their hair highlighted. What style is this boys? Skate punk, rock star, not entirely sure, but I think it might be a combination of the two. Of course, as an experienced mom I know that the word "everybody" does not mean "everybody", but in fact it means two or three kids who either are my best friends, or who I want to be my best friends. In this case, at the very least it is the former.

My initial reaction to this request was: are absolutely out of your mind? Under no circumstances will you have your hair higlighted. After all, Ethan is only nine. And then I began to think about it. Kids think that when parents say, I have to think about it, the answer will usually be no. As a parent, I know the opposite is true. Thinking about your children's requests is one of the most dangerous things that you can do as a parent. It almost always leads to some form of compromise where a parent says yes to something that initially she was completely opposed to, and then she starts thinking like a child and not an adult, and all of the sudden, the request seems reasonable, and she worries that she sounds like her mother...

Sadly, I can remember a summer during which my brother, several of my cousins, and I all had the same orangey-red hair color courtesey of a spray bottle of sun-in. I think that we were a little bit older. My brother, Tim was probably about fourteen, which means that I was twelve, my cousin Chris eleven, and I guess Kelly could have been nine. Sweet Jesus. I hate to be a hypocrite.

Not to mention, self-expression, no matter how stupid it may look is important to kids. Can still remember my first thanksgiving home from college. I came home on the train from Boston with my nose pierced. Tim, my aforementioned brother, picked me up at thirtieth street station in Philadelphia. "Laurie", he said, in a disguisted tone of voice. "Mom is going to flip out." Of course, he was right. I was sorry to ruin Thanksgiving, but I was even sorrier that my mom couldn't accept my choice.

Then again, I was not nine. I was twice nine. Nine is a little too young for highlights, eh? I think the solution is summer. I'll tell him that he has to wait for summer. School will frown upon highlights. Blaming the school will take the heat off me. Can't go wrong making the child hate school, right? Probably nothing new anyway. In any case, I'll just sit him down and say "look Ethan, in my day if we wanted highlights in our hair, we had to earn them by sitting in the sun with highlight spray on our hair. " If my son is going to have highlights, at least he should have to get them the old fashioned way.

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