The Girliest Girl
Adventures in Overscheduling
am not a fan of rigorous overscheduling of young children. Ruby has a once-a-week class at the fabulous City Park Movement & Art, where she’s been a student in everything from ballet to yoga since she was 18 months old. She has Daisy Scouts every other Friday. Of course, she has full-day kindergarten and the associated homework, and in between we have the occasional birthday party or play date or trip to the zoo. But I like the fact that her schedule allows us the freedom to bake cupcakes, watch “Barefoot Contessa” and have tea parties, with ample time left over for Ruby to play bizarre games with her myriad toys (just last week, there was high drama involving Pinkie Pie, Princess Jasmine, a plastic hunk of watermelon and an outgrown baby sock).
In addition to not really wanting kids to be overscheduled, my other steadfast parenting principle is not wanting kids to grow up too fast. I am not talking about independence; I definitely encourage Ruby to pour her own milk and wash her own hair and keep track of her own things. I am talking about the kind of stuff you see on one of my guiltiest TV pleasures, “Toddlers & Tiaras.” I mean, my God, parents are spray-tanning their kids and plucking their eyebrows and bleaching their teeth. I won’t even let Ruby pierce her ears!
And yet somehow, because parenting makes hypocrites out of us all, one Saturday found me running like crazy from a birthday party to a parade route play date to an appointment at a new blow-dry bar in town to get Ruby’s hair straightened. An overscheduled day culminating in a vanity treatment for my 6-year-old? To straighten out her much-beloved signature crazy ringlets? What was I thinking?
But the truth is that Ruby is the girliest girl ever – I have no idea how that happened, but she has a better grip on accessories, hairstyles and makeup at 6 than I do at 32. And although I’m not budging on something as permanent as ear-piercing just yet, she has been begging to have her hair straightened for months, so when the PR people for blo (5530 Magazine St., 570-6101) got in touch to offer me – as an esteemed member of the media, apparently – a free hairstyle for my daughter and me, I accepted. My love of free shit ran up against my wariness of beauty treatments for kids and my indifference of beauty treatments for myself, and “free” won out, with me shrugging my shoulders and saying, “Well, it’s only temporary, and she’s been asking for so long. And it will be a bonding experience.”
And honestly, it really was. It was so much fun. My mom kept Georgia for the afternoon, and Ruby and I walked straight from the parade route, all weighted down with beads, to blo on Magazine Street. They gave us strawberry lemonade and pink Starburst, washed our hair and styled it while we held hands. Ruby and I walked back to our car feeling extremely glamorous, an illusion that lasted until Ruby announced loudly that she had to pee and then sang a song about it all the way home.
The owner of the new salon proudly informed me that Ruby was their very first “blo girl,” an unlikely honor for a little girl whose mom only wears lipstick on special occasions and whose dad still won’t let her wear a bikini.
The staff at blo did a great job with both of us, and Ruby’s straight hair looked wonderful, although I was relieved when it went back to its normal, familiar bouncy curls after her bath.
I’m still trying desperately to keep her from growing up too fast, but I have to admit that this mother-daughter outing was a terrific experience. If I ever start talking about taking her to get a spray tan, though, I hope someone will take a page from my other guilty reality TV pleasure – and stage an “Intervention.”
Excerpted from Eve Kidd Crawford’s blog, Joie d’Eve, which appears each Friday on MyNewOrleans.com. For comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.