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“I look like an ugly princess,” Sophie said.

posted Monday May 16th, 2011

It wasn’t til I had the curling iron in my hand yesterday morning that I realized I’d never tried to curl Sophie’s hair before.

It’s not about Sophie — there’s not a lot of time for any sort of hair primping in our house. With only minutes to spare til we absolutely-positively-had-to-leave-the-house-or-we’d-be-inexcusably-late, I unearthed the curling iron from the bottom of a basket in the bathroom that (literally) exploded with rubber ducks, travel-sized lotions and several books.

No time to pick anything up. We were on our way to the girls’ annual ballet recital and Sophie’s teacher had requested that her students’ hair be half up/half down and curled, with flowers in it.

If you ask me, that’s a lot of nerve. But considering I’m lucky if my children don’t leave the house with gigantic rat nests emerging from the backs of their heads, I’m probably the wrong one to ask.

So there I am, curling iron in hand, and Sophie’s not having any of it. Annabelle helped me convince her that the curling iron does not hurt (except when Mom accidentally pulls a little too hard) and I managed to insert several ringlets into her stick-straight hair without burning either of us.

Success. She looked so cute. I got it half up/half down, secured it with a rubber band, and freed her from Hair Jail. Sophie ran to look in the mirror, Annabelle at her heels.

A few minutes later, they were back.

“Mo-o-o-m!” Annabelle announced, shaking her head. “Sophie says she looks like an ugly princess.”

I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.

“She what?” I asked.

“Sophie, tell her,” Annabelle said.

“I look like an ugly princess,” Sophie said.

There wasn’t time to stop and argue, so Annabelle and I tried to convince Sophie that she looked beautiful as we all hustled out the door. As we pulled out of the driveway and I had a few minutes to think, it dawned on me that I knew exactly what Sophie was talking about.

I love my hairdresser. I love her so much that even when I’ve forgotten to make an appointment and I’m desperate to get my hair cut (and colored) I will wait another six weeks til she has an opening, rather than go to anyone else. Molly’s great. She specializes in curly hair. My hair doesn’t curl as much as it used to, but Molly cuts it to make the most of the wave I have left. The only time we get into trouble is when she wants to style it.

“Oh gee, sorry, can’t stay, gotta get back to work,” I mumble, shaking my wet hair from her fingers and scrambling out of the chair, even when I don’t really have to get back to work.

“PLEASE!” she begs as I run for the cashier. “Please let me play with it!”

“Play with it” means blow it dry with a difuser, then wrap it around her fingers to make curls, and finally use the curling iron. I’ve let her do it a few times and every time, I’ve regreted it. It’s not that my hair looks bad, it’s that it doesn’t match my face.

I look like a dork. Silly. Like I’m trying too hard. I look, I realized yesterday, thinking about it in the car, like an ugly princess.

I am sad that Sophie felt like that, of course, but I have to admit that I was also a little bit proud. That’s a sophisticated (okay, neurotic may be a better word) epiphany for any almost-8-year-old.

By the time we got to the recital, Sophie had come around.

“I look awesome!” she announced, as we got out of the car and headed for the stage.

And she did.

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome, fashion, sisters by Amysilverman

4 Responses to ““I look like an ugly princess,” Sophie said.”

  1. This is a lovely post. On a lot of levels. Thanks Amy. Now when I let me wonderful hairdresser STRAIGHTEN my hair for fun I will always think of what you said above. Have you ever had your hair dresser straighten your hair? Don’t.

  2. I now have words for what I feel like when I leave a salon with “styled” hair. I feel like an ugly princess.

  3. I also have those exploding baskets under the bathroom sink. I’m laughing out loud because I put them down there to organize things but then they just get out of control. Also with the travel sized lotions! Ha ha ha!!

  4. Wow, this is exactly how I felt every time I got my hair done for a dance in high school and – worst of all – before my wedding! What an astute observation by your beautiful princess…

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