The 3 year old wears a blonde wig.
I don’t really know how we ended up here.
It’s not like she has no hair. She has plenty, it’s blonde and curly and mainly lives in a scraggly, tangled clump – because that is how she rolls.
She watched Frozen and became obsessed with being a ‘proper princess’. That bloody Disney film really has a lot to answer for. Princessly status didn’t include brushing her own existing barnet, but meant having an Elsa plait and wearing an impractical dress to the playground.
One wet day in early spring, we were in a tat shop. (98% plastic items, 2% something you immediately see a purpose for in your life.) We like to poke around all the stuff we don’t need, and end up buying something random that immediately breaks the minute we get it home.
So this day we were playing around with wigs. They were half wigs, worn like a hairband, pulled on over the top of your own hair. We were trying the testers on and making each other laugh.
I didn’t realise what was about to come next, or I would have grabbed her hand and RUN from the store, bribing her with chocolate along the way.
The 3 year old was adamant that she needed the blonde wig in her life. I couldn’t think of a reason why not, aside from, “It’s weird”.
We bought the wig, brought it home and she put it on. She immediately requested it to be plaited. LIKE ELSA. I obliged. Again I had no idea that I was entering a zone of regret. We were happily singing that song from Frozen and generally having a great time.
It was that parenting moment where, if you are having fun and making a joke about something, you need to be very bloody sure that the joke is still going to be funny after telling it every 30 minutes for the rest of your entire life … until you curl up in old age and die, just to escape the fecking joke.
All day long, she sported the wig in various states of styling. I didn’t know which was worse, the mullet or the plait smashed down on top of her baby curls.
She proudly wore it to playgroup the next day… the teachers were very admiring of her new do.
And then she wore it every single day after that.
I tried gentle persuasion to LET. IT. GO.
The love of the wig was strong.
A few weeks rolled into a few months and here we are six months in.
That’s a whole lot of wiglet love.
It’s now fecked.
A squirrel-cat stringy mess, that has been dragged everywhere. There are bits of plants and grass in it. Mud, sand and odd sticky substances cling to it. Things from nature attached themselves to the cleggy hair, and now lurk in there, growling and plotting. It is absolutely disgusting. I secretly tried to brush it out. It started to clump together. I think it may have snarled at me.
But the love is strong. The rancidious wig is still adored. Just as I think she’s forgotten all about the Elsa plait, she appears, flicking it on with an expert flip and delighted with her hair once more.
Aside from it being gross and my daughter looking mental, I have another problem with the wig. The issue is this:
We leave the house to run an errand, her wearing her detachable plait. At some time during the course of our trip she whips off the hair, to the distress of any passersby, and then she hands it to me. I shove the hideous thing in my bag. We get on with our day.
At some stage when I go to get something out of my handbag, to pay or whatever, I take the hair out to find what I’m looking for. I forget other people don’t know about the Elsa plait. So then I am just a frazzled, unkempt lady with a grubby 3 year old, inexplicably swinging a mangy plait around.
It looks very like I may have scalped a child. And keep the trophy in my handbag.
In my concentration to find what I am looking for, I forget that I might need to acknowledge what is going on, but by the time I do it is too late.
Jokes make the situation worse.
Saying it’s the 3 year old’s, who clearly has her own massive head of hair, doesn’t help.
It adds an air of flusterfication to casual social encounters and makes otherwise mundane experiences a bit wiggity wack.
We already stick out, sound different, react louder and are more explosive than the people around us. Cultural differences are subtle but when you mass them together they grow legs. We don’t need help in the chaos department.
I’m lucky the Dutch give zero fucks. They are just getting on with all that ‘doing the normal’ and ignoring oddity, unless it directly annoys them.
We avoid eye contact.
Mutter a good day.
And the skanky princess plait lives another day.