Shining, Gleaming, Streaming, Flaxen, Waxen
When last we checked in with me, I had looked down at my daughter’s hair and noticed a certain citrusy hue. The next morning brought daylight and hard truths; my daughter was the color of a clementine. More alarmingly, she was an inconsistent clementine, oranger in spots than others. The fact that the lice comb offered up no new little bastards in any life-stage was interesting but not enough to console me for having made my daughter into a tortoiseshell cat. Why? How? Huh?
I’m going to explain how this happened and let’s see if you figure out where the problem was. When timing how long to leave on the dye, I factored in her virgin hair. Which is to say, there was no color on Daughter’s hair. Virgin hair gets more time under the plastic cap. Last year, for nine months, Daughter played water-polo. Five nights a week, she would spend anywhere from an hour to two and a half hours in a pool. She had a swim-cap, which she would wear for up to fifteen minutes before tossing it to me, complaining it gave her a headache. After two months, Daughter's hair had the texture of her Barbies after she’d give them spa treatments with dishwashing soap. Many, many oil treatments later, her hair almost didn’t resemble packing material. She stopped water polo in June, and I didn’t think about her hair until December when the little bastards arrived. I didn’t have to think about it; it looked and felt better, so I assumed it was better.
Because, as anyone who reads this blog knows, I am very stupid and it’s a wonder I don’t just fall down from stupidity more often.
So as I have come to learn, chlorine-damaged hair doesn’t quite come back, even if you oil it every night and scream in a maternal way “JUST KEEP THE SWIM-CAP ON, A HEADACHE WON’T KILL YOU!” And when you apply semi-permanent hair-color to damaged hair, the hair grabs the color like it’s the skids of the last helicopter leaving Saigon and nothing removes it.
Which brings us to the end of December and January, the Time of Magically-Multiplying Haircare Products.
Dawn didn’t remove it.
Red-out didn’t remove it.
Daily oil treatments for continued smiting of little bastards didn’t remove it.
Color-correcting shampoo didn’t remove it.
Other oil treatments didn’t remove it.
Other color-correcting shampoo didn’t remove it.
Color-correcting conditioner didn’t remove it, but tinted my hands a festive lilac for a day or so.
Which seemed a little cruel.
The bathrooms were starting to resemble beauty-supply shops and the only difference I could see was to my discretionary income.
I had options and nearly all of them were embarrassing. I could leave her to grow out, only her hair is longish and Daughter wants to grow it long; we’d have years of people squinting at her head and saying delicately, “Is it me or is your Daughter’s hair the color of a Nerf football in places?” And then within weeks we’d have roots, in case there was a single naif on on the planet who thought my daughter’s hair was naturally habanera.
Or I could try coloring her hair again to correct it, because that went so well last time.
Or I could take her to a salon and know that every other person in the place was looking at us and thinking, “Oh, look. Pageant people” while batting issues of Cosmo from my daughter’s inquisitive hands.
(Daughter’s vote in this was “I vote for whatever it takes to end this phase of my life where you keep coming after me with a bottle of oil and a fine-tooth comb.”)
And then about two weeks ago, we were walking someplace, talking of things not nit-related and I looked over at her and I thought She’s a healthy, sane, fundamentally happy individual. Yes, her hair is a little off the beaten path, but I should just chalk this up to the adventure of being alive and just take pleasure in this time with her and stop attacking her with product.
And then I looked at her hair and thought Wait a minute. Are those orange highlights turning acid green?
The salon was able to work us in the next morning.
(I'd like to thank every person who left a nit and lice-removal suggestion. The wonder of the Internet is that long after we are all on to a far better place, some parent will Google "Home lice removal" in a panic and find your suggestions. You've raised the level of lice-discourse.)