Girls and Their Hair

A lesson learned back in my teen-aged years about girls and their hair has generally served me well later in life. That lesson, just be complimentary, don’t be judgemental or critical.  It’s not that I don’t have an opinion, or don’t want to share it.  But girls and their hair share a unique relationship.

As an only parent to two girls generally speaking I have let my daughters keep their hair as they want.  I call it picking my argument.  It’s also probably a bit of survival.

For years, both girls have kept long hair.  17.5 was around mid-back and 15.5 was closer to her waist.  At the end of the summer, 17.5 decided to cut it off.  She had 10 inches of hair removed (and did some blonde highlighting).  The removed follicles were donated to Locks of Love for use in wigs for children with cancer.

This weekend, it was 15.5’s turn. She had 14 inches of hair trimmed off and will be sending it to Locks of Love on Monday.

What struck me about her plan was she was very talkative about it.  I don’t remember 17.5 saying much other than she wanted to highlight her hair.  15.5 was much more vocal, “Its my last day with long hair,” she said to me Friday morning.

Girls and their hair, it’s a unique relationship.  I was (or at least hope I was) reassuring to her and supportive of her decision.  We talked about how when she was younger and wanted no part of brushing her hair we had to give her a shorter “bob” cut.

When she was done and walked back to the car, I could see the immediate difference in the way her hair framed her face.  As I was waiting for her, I thought back to the days when I took the girls for haircuts – and the discussions I had with the hair dressers.

“Do you want layers?” they’d ask me.  “How about the front, just a trim?”

My response was always the same, “See what their hair looks like now, the same thing but shorter.”

Girls and their hair, not a great spot for a mostly dumb guy to start making drastic decisions.

Fast forward six or seven years, and my girls can easily articulate what they want for their hair (thankfully).  And of course share it quickly to social media.

It was there I learned the other half of 15.5’s long hair story – she dedicated the cutting her hair to her mom who died of a brain tumor seven years ago this month.  There are times I wonder if my girls remember the date, and other times I am astonished by their grown up actions and thoughts.

Girls and their hair.  Be supportive.  Be complimentary.  Don’t be critical.  And in this case be proud.

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Moments Shared Are What They Are – Golden

family timeAs the father of two teenaged girls, I’m pretty happy my kids are still willing to do things with me.  I speak to other parents – single parents, only parents (like me) and married couples who have kids about the same ages as mine and the time they are able to do things with their kids is limited.  Every parent knows, those shared moments are simply golden.

If you saw the girls and me recently on the Steve Harvey show, the answer that elicited laughs from the studio audience and friends was when they asked 15.0 what she did with her dad.  The answer was, “Well, we go to hockey games.”

If you missed the Steve Harvey show, here’s a link to the video:

I’m honest enough with myself to realize that we don’t do a lot of girly things together (although I have gone with the girls and gotten a pedicure while they had manicures).  But there is a pretty healthy list of golden moments we share:

  1. We’ve gone to dozens and dozens of hockey games.  Sometimes we go together, often is me and one girl, but it’s time we spend together.
  2. Four out of the last five years we’ve gone skiing.  The only winter we missed was when I blew out both knees.
  3. Over Mother’s Day weekend this year we completed our second Survival Race as a family.
  4. In two weeks we’re all going to run through our hometown in the Joe Keany 5K
  5. As of today – the three of us are all members of the same gym.
  6. We’ve seen more than a few Broadway Shows over the last few years.

Yeah, we don’t do a lot of shopping, and we have not hosted high-tea often but we do a lot together.  I suppose I’ll find out in the next 7-10 years if these are the “right” things or if I should have been more attentive to nail colors and hair styles.  For now though, the girls and I have moments shared – and they’re golden.

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Sharing The Trade Secrets

A Helping HandFor 12.0 today is the second of her camp friend’s Bat Mitzvah’s – so we are at the beginning of her run of trips all around the tri-state area to celebrate with her friends.  Add in a few from the temple, and she’ll be busy most weekends through June – not unlike what her sister went through two years ago.  So it was big sister who stepped up and was sharing the trade secrets for makeup and hair.

For me its a lot of arranging car pools and a fair amount of driving.  For 12.0 its a fair amount of dressing, working on hair and nails and make up.  And she has the benefit of a great big sister who helps her out with all of that – and I have to admit I am pretty proud of the young ladies I live with.

From the moment your children are born, people always tell you it goes by quickly, and it truly does.  I can remember the moment I had to confront being a single parent taking my then pre-teen older daughter bra shopping.  It was a decision I made not to shirk the parental responsibility.

The other decision I made a long time ago, was to make sure 14.5 was never cast as a parent for her sister – but could if she wanted the role be a great big sister.

So, when 12.0 needed to get ready for her friend’s Bat Mitzvah, there was her sister helping with the hair and makeup.  Would they both rather have their mother help them with this – I’m sure the answer is yes.  But that’s not the way our family works – so we rely on each other, and there was big sister stepping in, and not just applying make up, but showing 12.0 some tips and tricks.

And I’m more than good with that.  My kids know in our house we can rely on one another when it comes to sharing the trade secrets.

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Let the Girls Be Girls

CurlersOne of the toughest lessons for me to learn as a single father of two girls is that sometimes I just have to let the girls be girls.  As hard as it is for me to do, I can’t treat them like one of the boys, they just have to be the girls they are.

For a long time now, I have been out of what they wear to school (as long as it’s acceptable by community standard).  I don’t argue with them about hair styles or lengths and nail polish designs are all theres.

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But then came Wednesday night, and the irony was more than I could handle so I spoke up.

13.5 can spend an hour in the morning working on her hair.  Straightening, braiding who knows what she can do.  But never is there curling.  Wednesday night, curlers went into her hair.

Now the good news is for whatever reason, removing the curlers took 40 minutes less than the straightening and preening normally does.  Let the girls be girls.  I complimented her hair, it looked good.

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The Devil In The Details

Devil in the DetailsIt’s three weeks until 12.5 turns 13 and has her Bat Mitzvah.  I know it’s a time for her to be excited, nervous and probably a little worried.  For me, it’s a time to be excited, nervous and a little worried.  I know she’ll do a great job and I know everyone will have a lot of fun at the party-but getting it planned is a huge task, and the devil is in the details.

We have the big stuff done.  Dresses are in.  Shoes are purchased.  Place picked out.  Speech (hers) done.  Invites out and responses back.  Now comes the nitty-gritty.

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We have to do the table seatings.  Come up with the center pieces. We need to get gifts for the tutor, rabbi and cantor.  A bunch of things like that just need to get done.

Oh yeah, I have girls.  We have hair and nails to worry about as well.

Not to mention working with the DJ on the flow of the event, the photographer on the pictures I want to make sure get captured, picking out the menu and the linens (somehow it matters what color the napkin is that is on a table-cloth that is also color coordinated).

The first step though is knowing the list.  Got that covered.  Next up-picking off the devilish details one at a time.

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To Passover Or Not?

With the Jewish celebration of Passover closing in-like any other milestone moment, it’s a chance to evaluate and see where I’m at and with the forced metaphor of “passing over or not” its an effective means to sort things out.

So to pass over or not:

  1. Moving:  For now I think this is one I am going to passover on.  While in the long run, cutting my commute time down from four hours+ a day would be a good move, the time is not right.
  2. Figuring out relationships: This is a tough one.  Not going to passover on it though.  Going to keep trying I suppose and figure one day I may get it right.
  3. Getting the girls to do chores: No passover on this one, but clearly a direct tie into allowances is not a motivating factor.  Their compliance is sporadic at best.  Need to work this out better.
  4. Getting 9.0 to brush her hair daily: Not a passover here.  Aside from the realistic reasons, she looks better with her hair brushed.
  5. Figuring out life: For my own sanity going to passover on this one.  Nearly 45 years into it, I still am no closer to sorting it out.
  6. Understanding how the LIRR works: Commuters have been at this far longer than I.  Have to passover on this one.
  7. Upgrading my car: Although I’d really like to, I park it at a train station 80% of the time.  Think I need to passover.
  8. Sorting out and planning 11.5’s Bat Mitzvah: Don’t get to passover on this one.  Have to figure out how to make it work and how to make it work well.  A lot of moving parts to bring together on this one.
  9. Slowing down just a little: Although I’d like to not passover on this one, it’s a passover.  Not sure how to manage and slow down at the same time.
  10. Finally finish my next book: Going to get really serious about this.  It’s about 75% done as of now.  Looking to finish before the summer-be on the lookout.  Not a passover item.

And there it is, for no real reason and based on nothing more than this moment in time. What are your “passovers or not?”  Even if you only think about it-it’s a moment in time to take stock and look at the micros that make up the macros.

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Managing the Age Gap

In a lot of ways, I am very lucky.  My girls really love each other, and are able to keep themselves busy for a long time playing–generally well.  Even a friend noted this over the weekend.  She took the to lunch while I played golf and the girls are great.

But the other side of that coin that I deal with more than anyone in who watches them for a few hours is managing the age difference…all two years of it.  But there are huge differences between an 8-year-old girl and a 10-year-old girl.  I could have used an instruction manual for this.

10.0 this weekend unveiled her “skinny jeans” look–which to my highly untrained eye looked like her regular jeans look, but sure, skinny jeans I am right there with you.  Then I was harangued for wearing a purple sweater–since purple is not a fall color.  Yet another lesson I missed somewhere along the line.

Then came 8.0 who seems morally opposed to brushing the back of her hair.  I am really not sure why, or how to get her to realize it’s in her best interest to actually brush the back of her hair.  This has become a twice a day struggle–on top of the never-ending supply of dirty socks.

10.0 on the other hand can be up to 20 minutes late because she brushes her hair really well, then balls it up into some kind of a pony tail look.  I think I may need to upgrade the hair stylists.

At some point in the week ahead, we are off to shop for “more fall colors” for 10.0.  8 is looking for Helie lessons.

I can honestly say at no point did my brothers an I debate (or in our case brawl) about fall colors–that instruction manual will really help.

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