Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Something about the Hair

As a mom, I’ve always tried to instill a strong level of self-confidence in my boys. There’s nothing more frustrating than watching someone you love grapple with feelings of insecurity…and yet, I realize it’s absolutely inevitable.

The problem with all your children being the opposite gender is you don’t always know what to expect…much less what’s going to be high on their list of priorities and what'll be so low, they could care less. Add to that the constantly-changing age factor…and I’m basically operating in the dark.

Up the creek…not a paddle in sight.

Rock? Hard place? Me.

Connor is now 13. He’s tall. He likes that. He’s thin…which may or may not matter at all. What has become of utmost priority of late is his hair. Evidently (and unbeknownst to me) Connor’s hair has slowly begun to change…from its straight, never-even-needs-to-be-combed texture...


…to something wavy and moderately unmanageable. What I'd assumed was his need for a trim is apparently a change in texture.


He’s more than a little unhappy about it. Whether it’s hormones or the onset of a steamy, humid summer…he’s made no secret that this simply will not do.

Me? I’m torn. I certainly don’t want him to think less of himself if his hair doesn’t look stellar…I mean, yikes…it’s just hair.

(Zip it, Clinton….you’re not helping.)


But Connor’s my son…and well, he knows I have a fondness for good hair days, not to mention a literal arsenal of beauty products aimed at taming the frizz-beast. It must be pretty important…’cause he’s basically willing to try anything.

I tried telling him that taking out the garbage and picking up one’s dirty clothes has been clinically proven to improve the look of one’s hair. He’s not buying it.

The last few mornings, we’ve tried a plethora of products…from leave-in conditioners to “silk stylers” to “hydro-foaming styling gel”…all with less than impressive results. He’d arrive home looking tired, disheveled and miserable.

The 13-year-old girl within me wanted to shout, “Save yourself! It’s all downhill from here till you’re about 18 and you go on the pill and it miraculously, hormonally changes your hair back to some semblance of ‘normal’. Oh, wait….scratch that….you’re freakin’ screwed, bud.”

His morning routine was taking longer and longer…between the rinsing and the foaming and the blow drying and the spritzing and we weren’t getting anywhere. So, this morning I broke out my ultimate weapon: The Metropolis Ionic Digital Flat Iron.

His hair was stick-straight when I finished….a few light bursts of firm-hold hairspray and I proclaimed it the best it was gonna be.

I don’t think he’s ever loved me more. It lasted through a crappy, rainy day…hell, it even lasted through gym. I’m his hero…I’ve been elevated from Woman Who Knows Nothing to Hair Goddess Extraordinaire. I rock….I’m golden.

But, there’s still 11 days of school yet. Crap. I think I’m screwed…

Christiejolu said...

Good luck to you and your son! You do rock!

Fierce said...

Oh that's a lot of time spent with flat iron in-hand. And of course Clinton shows up to show off his just-about-perfect hair. Oh well, at least Connor appreciates it.

:)
xoxo

Gay Guy said...

What a beautiful post. Takes me right back to those awkward teen years. Yes, boys go through a huge hair vanity phase, and Connor is right on schedule. God, how I hated my hair. Looking back, it's pretty hilarious.

WannabeVirginia W. said...

Omg, that is definitely a 13 year old for yah! Spending tons of hair products and standing in front of a mirror.

Lauren said...

Awww! Reminds me of when a horrible hair dresser who shall remain nameless gave me a fro. Dude clearly did not listen when I told him my hair was REALLY curly. Anyway, my mom spent time every morning for weeks fixing my hair. And it did mean a lot. Come to think of it, I was thirteen at the time. I got made fun of way less thanks to those hair care moments. Rock on Hair Goddess! Rock on!

John McElveen said...

Kathryn,

I'm goind to do a little post dedication to you a la Sciatica I think---If I can put my back into it--ar ar--

I feel for Connor...I always has wavy hair, then it got shaved for Freshaman Football at Carolina and came back CURLY- I actually had an afro that wouldn't fit inside my Driverse license and College ID pic...if I could scan them in I will!!

All this is for Connor...tell him I used to PRAY that it would straighten out- to the point of crying with the hormones--seroiosly....-until it became vog, vouu, vogg, really cool in the 80's. and all the CHICKS LOVED IT!

I am a honky, so I had this big Afro, and when people would touch it--it was very SOFT...no gels etc, and t freaked them out because they called me knappy head!.

Tell him I know it's tough....but He's COOL!!!!

John

PS: I pray your leg pain is gone, and driving (esp. the driving) after packing, moving and unpacking is the TEXTBOOK set up for it as you sit on that very nerve Sciatic--

(duh--as if--), LOL and :-), ;-).....and all the other abbr. and emoticons u h8--lol--I had to get that in! Loved that post)

in the car seat. There is NO WAY to avoid it except for stopping every 20 mins, and seriously--who has time or wants to do that!

CIAO,

John

kathryn said...

Christiejolu: Aw. Thanks, honey! This should be the biggest challenge we ever have to face...but we both know that won't be the case, right??

Fierce: I know...I do believe I've created a monster. I was hesitant to turn him on to the iron 'cause I knew I'd wind up having to man it every morning. Ah, well...there are worse things and (for now at least) I'm golden in his eyes...

Gay Guy: Aw, sweetie...you are not alone! I HATED my hair all through my teens (it really was awful...I've seen the photos to prove it). That's why it's so hard for me not to validate what he's feeling. It's comforting to hear from a guy who can remember how awkward being a 13-yo boy is....

kathryn said...

WannabeVirginiaW: Well, yeah! I mean, I remember doing it as a girl...I just didn't know the boys did it, too! How long do you suppose this phase is gonna last??

Lauren: Oh, 13-year-old-little-Lauren! I wanna beat the crap out of that hairdresser!! I'm so glad your mom managed some damage control..and what a co-incidence that you were 13...

John McElveen: Oh, man...I loved your comment! You were a lucky boy that your hair look came in style in a BIG way! I suppose we can only hope that there's a resurgence of that funky-hair-look right around the corner, or I'll have to give Connor a crash course on ironing! As for the sciatica...man, I wish I'd talk to you sooner! You hit the nail right on the head-it was an unavoidable 5-hour car drive that did me in. Now I'm afraid to drive for more than 20 mins. Most of the pain is gone but I've still got that residual ache and that infuriating numbness. :-(
(Yeah, that sad-face is just for YOU...for that great belly laugh on your creative emoticons!)

diane rene said...

what a good mommy you are to flat iron his hair and oh I understand your woes ... we had that issue in this house, my poor, only boy. but we fixed it with a simple at home perm.

perm? you ask.

YES!! a perm. only instead of rolling the hair in curlers, you comb it straight!! oddly enough, we call it a straight perm ;)

I used it on my son when he wore his hair long, then a month later he shaved his darn head! but my daughter took advantage of the little trick when her locks of curls were no longer in fashion :(

a little hint, they all STINK so leave out a bowl of vanilla extract and open all the windows.

Selina Kingston said...

My daughter keeps finding her hair straighteners in her brother's room and it annoys her more than anything and it leads to much shouting and banging of doors but he seems unrepentant. However, his hair always looks so nice ! At least I know what to get him next birthday....!!

Runnergirl said...

I would give anything for hair with a bit of texture - even the surf style hair products I use don't do anything.

Maybe he should embrace the frizz and grow an afro?

Joking apart though, get him to do some internet research for hairstyles that would suit his hair that need minimal styling (I'm thinking that if Rob Pattinson can carry off unruly hair, so can anyone!)

Adele said...

11 days of school?!? Poor you. My summer started already a week ago.Aww....;)

I got this reeeeally familiar feeling when I read this. My hair is stick-straight, well, it HAS been until now. My mom's hair went all curly when she was a teenager and so did my sister's hair, and now my hair is getting more and more wavy every time a wash it...uh-oh.

BlackLOG said...

I have one good hair day between having my haircut. When I get “The Day” *, I know it's time to get another haircut because the style or lack of it goes down hill rapidly. On the odd occasion when I miss the warning sign, Mrs B has to nag me otherwise I turn into a Yeti all be it a slightly follically challenged one…

* The law of sod dictates that it is never day when I really need it to be...

Lynn said...

Poor baby! And you go mum! My hair was baaaad at 13. Home haircuts are the absolute worst, and at that age having one is social suicide.

I had one. Constantly. Which is one of many reasons I need to see a therapist. HA!

Anyway, glad he appreciates the work on his do. I like the straight perm idea.

ValleyWriter said...

Oh boy - you may be creating a monster!! I remember when my brother was about 13 and suddenly become obsessed with his hair. He used to take longer in the bathroom than my mother & I combined! At one point, he dyed a block of his beautiful light blond hair blue - ick. Not a good look, IMO. But, back in the late 80s, he rocked it.

KellyGrrl said...

I was gonna say that I'm glad the awkward teen years are behind me, but I still break out and have random "what the hell is wrong with my hair?!?!" days... haha

Oddyoddyo13 said...

I KNOW what that sounds like! Most of the guys at my school actually care about their hair. I never would've believed it had you told me this a few years ago but now....Well, you'd be supermom to millions if you started a business for teenage boys!

But hey, as long as he feels confident in his look, you did good!

kathryn said...

diane rene: Well, I'll be damned. A straight perm, you say? Excellent information, sweetie...right down to the bowl of vanilla extract. However did you know that I wouldn't know what to do about the smell??

Selina Kingston: Oh, too funny. And yes...you'll be promoted to MomGoddess by gifting him the right hair product. My God....who knew??

Runnergirl: I know...you're right, of course. I figure I'll get him thru the end of school and then he'll have the summer to come up w/something he can live with. For now, he's so freakin' grateful...how can I not help him??

kathryn said...

Adele: Oh, gosh....that sounds exactly like what's happening to Connor. That's what happened to me as well. It got curlier and frizzier. Luckily, NOW they've got tons of products to tackle it, if you don't like it. You've got choices!

BlackLOG: I hear that. I can't stand it when the stars align...and the hair looks fabulous...and I've nowhere special to be. That's when you start calling ppl for an impromptu get-together...but you can't tell them the real reason why!

Lynn: Aw...thanks for the support. God...who knew that the stuff we dealt with at this age would stay with us forever?? I hope his teachers/guidance counselors realize this! I'd love for him to have the choice of curly or straight...but if he's hellbent on straight, I think that perm'll be the way to go.

JD at I Do Things said...

That's so sweet. My friend's son has the same issue with his hair, tho I don't think he would allow her within 20 feet of him with her flat-iron.

Another friend tired flat-ironing MY hair once, and it was disastrous. I'll take fuzzy and wild any day.

Tia said...

1. Ugh. Still 11 more days of school? My son has already been camping and at Scout camp for a week.

2. It must be something about 13. My hair was stick straight until I turned 13. All of a sudden it got wavy and curly and super thick and drove me crazy! My son is headed for that age... I better buy and learn how to use a flat iron. Thanks for the tip! :)

Krista said...

Haha! You're a superstar! Time to teach him how to do it HIMSELF! ;o)

Lily Johnson said...

Yeah!!!I have always loved 'hands-on', 'we are gonna do this!'approach to everything. You are an awesome mom Kat! Your boys are so lucky. Take care.

Jan said...

So real! So spot on! Loved it...

Alan W. Davidson said...

I could email a photo of my hair on a bad day (pretty much every day) and he would instantly feel better about his own hair. Really.

kathryn said...

JD at I Do Things: Honey, your hair is simply gorgeous....why would anyone want to mess with it?? Even Taylor (18) who's usually oblivious, has noticed & commented on how great Connor's hair's looked the last few days. We're staying mum. Hey...whatever makes the kid happy. There will be enough things in his future that I won't be able to fix...

Tia: "Ugh" is right! Yeah, some really awesome tips here, including the straight perm idea from diane rene. Ah, the magic of 13...as if there isn't enough going on at that age, as it is! Well, we lived through it...I guess they will as well.

SMOOG: I know! But I'm afraid he'll wind up with these welts on his forehead!! He winces now when the just-ironed hair lands on his ear, etc. I'll give him the entire summer to master it. I never thought I'd see the day!

kathryn said...

Lily Johnson: Thanks, sweetie....I wish every problem in our kids' lives was this easy to just jump in and fix. I figure we do all we can and then just call it a day...the icing on the cake is when you get to see/hear actual gratitude for it!

Jan: Thank you! Oh, yeah...we're nothing if not reality-based over here. And it's such a win/win...'cause everyone gets to offer advice and opinions on any given subject, which winds up benefitting someone else. Good stuff!

Alan W. Davidson: Oh, now...you know better than that, my friend. They have virtually no empathy at this age...and seem to have an infinite supply of reasons why "it's not the same thing"...in Connor's case, he wants exactly what he had...about three months ago. Period.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Aw, what a great mommy! My ex's hair went from straight to curly at 13 too. I guess straight hair is all the rage for boys now; my daughter's friend actually had his processed. He said it was very European. I have no idea.
See, it's not just girls...

kathryn said...

Maureen@IslandRoar: I guess this is universal, huh? Boy, what a learning experience. Connor loves the whole Japanese/Anime thing, so I could see why he loved when his hair was straight. He honestly appreciated it that way and he's super-bummed it's changing before his very eyes. (Btw: he's still talking about how much he loves my straightening iron...too funny.)

Wendy Blum said...

Hey woman, I feel your angst. My hair gets waay out of control with all the humidity. I came across a product called MIXED CHICKS. It's made for people of ALL ethnic groups that have unruly hair in common. I went to the website and it costs $16 for a very nice size bottle of leave-in conditioner. They also have a men's line. I really love this stuff. My mom-in-law loves it as well and she's VERY picky and has TONS of curly unruly wild hair. It worked for us. Don't know how much you love the flat ironing, it's wonderful that you do this for Connor. The website is mixedchicks.com and if you go to the official site of online discounts for these products, you can get legit coupon codes to use if you decide to purchase. Best of luck to you and Connor =)

kathryn said...

Wendy Blum: Aw. Thanks, sweetie! I will absolutely check out that site...it sounds excellent and if you recommend it, that's good enough for me/us! With the worst of the humidity still to come, we can use all the help we can get!

Heather said...

13 and rebellous hair! Oh the memories...yuck.

Way to go mom! You saved the boy!

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