Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shining, Gleaming, Streaming, Flaxen, Waxen

I beg you, if you haven't yet, read the previous blog. It's disgusting but a little illuminating. Otherwise I'll make less sense than usual.

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.)


Blogger RachelintheOC said...

Freakin hysterical and I can totally relate. My 11yo had it last year. Just so you know, I'm scratching my head as I write this. Thanks ever so much, babe.

Once your child gets the vermin, you never sleep soundly on a pillow. Ever. Again.

You never look at your brush the same.

Didn't know about the haircolor thing. Interesting. Wonder if it's the peroxide?

I wrote about our experience on my blog (and included it in my book as well) called CONTACT.

Thank god for alcohol. That's all I'm saying.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous SusannahS said...

For future generations-repeated shampooing with Head & Shoulders will strip hair color oopsies!
Just have a hot oil or deep conditioning treatment handy bc your hair will feel like a brillo pad.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Claire said...

That was hilarious. We've been spared nits but my kids and I all swim year-round, and you're right about chlorine-damaged hair.

3:21 PM  
Blogger OHN said...

Good have no idea how much my head itches right now.

Very cool about the hair coloring killing the little critters though. I will tuck that little tidbit away in my brain in case I ever need it.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

One day, I was walking with my then six-year-old daughter. It was Spring. Trees were blooming. Birds were singing. We walked down the sidewalk looking at the beauty. The child scootched over to be under a something or other tree so she could look up at all the birds eating something or other berries or whatever they were. BLAM. The kid was nailed with bird poop from about a thousand (okay, six hundred max) birds. I mean nailed. We decided to cut our walk short and go home and shower her. We did. Many times. Purple streaks in red hair. Red hair to the waist, and it was the one day in 1st grade that the hair had not been braided. She is now 26, and I don't think she is psychologically damaged, although it may be too early to tell.

And, the mailperson brought my copy of "Learning to Swim" this morning, and I read it through. Oh, gosh. Thank you so much for telling me about this book. I loved it. I felt as if I was there every minute, and the coffee stain on page 269 will forever remind me not to screech an entirely appropriate expletive at the oil change place waiting room no matter what I am reading. I have to find a new oil change place because I think I offended the Priest who was also waiting, but this book is worth it!

Thank you again.

6:04 PM  
Anonymous MMS Sherman said...

I'd like to post a comment here for future reference, or for anyone else experiencing issues with head lice. It is a common problem among school-aged children, but like you've talked about n your blog, most of the products available in stores are strong chemicals that can leave skin or hair irritated and might not always work. There is a new product on the market, completely organic and safe to use. It has gotten great test results when killing lice and nits, and is based upon cedar oil so it actually works as a conditioner to make hair healthy and shiny, not dry and irritated. It is called Lice-No...
Take a look at their website:
Or on facebook:!/home.php?sk=group_168115466535244&ap=1

11:32 AM  
Blogger Scarlet said...

But wait, don't you live in LA? They have head-lice in Hollywood? Wow, even in a city that can make Rachel Zoe appear 'normal', they still can't get rid of nits. This is strangely comforting.

Loved your post....

4:02 PM  
Blogger Glade Road Colleyville said...

Sounds like your daughter and I have the same hair consistency and, I am sorry to say, color. Tell her to wear that hair loud and proud. Sometimes people have brown hair, sometimes they have dusty rust-colored hair with green highlights. Just make sure she knows that wearing bright red lipstick will not detract from the ridiculousness of the hair but rather, enhance it to clownlike proportions. No matter what her girlfriends tell her...

8:36 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thank goodness it is only hair, which can be cut and colored or heck, even shaved off, to get back to square one. My son is 19 and is still dealing with acne which is a really heartbreaking thing because no matter what the infomercials, or the over-paid dermatologist has told us, recommended or prescribed, nothing works. Hopefully it's just a matter of outgrowing it now.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Get Real Chris said...

Enjoyed your post. Reminds me of a run in I had with a bottle of Sun In in the late 80s. Let's just say that orange wasn't my color either.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

Wow, this is a great story and learning experience. And this from a guy with no kids! But I will pass along the hair dye tip (and warnings) to family members with kids.

I loved the quote about the skids of the last helicopter out of Saigon.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Lindy Cummings said...

Quinn, I have really enjoyed your humor and authenticity in your blog. I am not very good at originality but I love Rumi, and he has a great poem about hair...well sort of.

Give yourself a kiss.
If you live in China, don't look
somewhere else, in Tibet, or Mongolia.

If you want to hold the beautiful one,
hold yourself to yourself.

When you kiss the Beloved,
touch your own lips with your own fingers.

The beauty of every woman and every man is your own beauty.

The confusion of your hair
obscures that sometimes.

An artist comes to paint you
and stands with his mouth open.

Your love reveals your beauty
but all coverings would disappear
if only for a moment your holding-back
would sit before your generosity and ask,
"Woman,(it is actually "sir"...but for these purposes...)who are You?"
at that,
Shams' (Rumi's teacher) life-changing face
gives you a wink.

Don't ask me what the section just past "but all" means, as I haven't a clue. But I do like the rest.
Will look forward to more of your blog.

Also for other moms or future bouts of lice...tea tree oil kills them and also Neem oil. They also make leave on sprays to prevent re-infestation from where ever they came from and missed nit hatching. They work better than the chemicals as the lice never get "immune" to them. And of course they are much healthier for the human. I have unfortunate personal experience of their proficiency.

Thanks, Lindy Joy Cummings

8:45 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home