Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
– Dr Seuss
Our daughter is a chatter box.
She wakes talking. She goes to sleep talking. She talks in her sleep.
As the only child, she has our undivided attention which, no doubt, influences her ever expanding vocabulary. Her rolling dialogue keeps us in stitches and, of late, on our toes.
Ouisie now colors conversations with descriptive adjectives. The choice word is not always the problem, but rather the pointed index finger and amplified tone in which it is broadcast.
LOOK AT THAT OLD LADY SWIMMING. – at the local leisure centre
I am now like a mother owl, scanning 360 degrees in anticipation of the next prey to signal a hoot from my owlet.
THAT LADY HAS A BLACK SCARF OVER HER FACE. – at Hyde Park, London
These exclamations come as no surprise as I catch myself describing everything we spot by its unique shape, size, and color. She is now a big girl and not a little baby. Many of her favourite books teach opposites, and the tiny and hungry caterpillar is BIG and FAT by the time time he spins his cocoon.
With winter temperatures (still) billowing through England this week, I took Ouisie to an indoor soft play to burn off some fuel. A two-year old girl with ringlet curls enjoyed climbing around with Ouisie. I soon struck up a conversation with the mother about her daughter’s bouncy curls.
As a kindred curly lock, I am a straight shooter when it comes to talking about taming a wild mane. The mother confessed she did not know what to do and just let it go naturally wild. She then confided that recently her toddler said her hair looked messy, and wanted it to look nice (straight) like her mom’s hair. I nodded and smiled.
|first day, 1st grade|
Once upon a time, I was the lone frizzball amongst my close friends. For years, my mother fought my fro with a curling iron. I started each day with either a perfect, and well sprayed, flip or two curled pigtails. I questioned the sincerity of friends who wished to have my curls as I envied their straight hair. Where their hair dried salon-perfect after swim practice, I hid my expanding mass of curls under a towel. Their ponytails swang happily during a soccer match, while my crimp was curlier by halftime thanks to the 100% humidity in Texas.
|me and my pigtails|
At age eight, with my round face and corkscrew curls, I was teased and called Miss Piggy by Timmy, a freckled-faced- ginger-dweeb, in front of my peers. I felt my cheeks turn piglet pink as my classmates giggled. I wanted to tie weights to the ends of my curls and force them to hang straight. Looking back, I like to believe it was his futile attempt at flirting. I hope for Timmy’s sake he eventually learned some manners, and some better pick-up lines, too.
|the cowardly lion gets brave|
I was self conscious of my big hair until I landed the role of the cowardly lion in my school’s play, The Wizard of Oz. My hair was my mane, and we both received great reviews. My middle name, Lyons, became a new nickname amongst my peers. For the first time, I was proud of my wild hairs.
As our daughter continues to see the world in different colors, shapes, and sizes, I will also ensure she learns how to appreciate and accept these differences, and to be proud of her own defining traits. I will continue to encourage her to pay compliments to others, and remind her to say thank you when she receives one.
That evening, Ouisie came downstairs dressed in her favourite pink pajamas and exclaimed,
LOOK AT ME, MOMMY! I SO PRETTY!
I wrapped my arms around her and cheered– Yes, you are my sweet angel! As she skipped out of the room, I wished for her self pride to stay forever in place and hold — like a good hair spray.