I absolutely, positively believe that my daughter should be her own person.
She should have her own ideas, her own convictions, her own tastes. She should never do or like anything or not do or like anything just because someone tells her what her opinion should be.
Yes, Caroline, scoff at Silly Bands! Admit Go-Gos are weird! You go, girl! Make up your own mind!
Unless, of course, you want to choose something...well, tacky. Ugly? I can handle ugly. Well-made but not my taste? I can handle that, too. But tacky? In that case, don’t make up your own mind at all. No no no – just ask your mother what she thinks, and listen to her. Don’t deviate.
Now, I’m conservative. I admit it. And maybe the “tacky” bar is a bit lower for me than some more tolerant mothers, so I try to compensate by allowing some things I would never have thought I’d allow.
Which is why my beautiful daughter has a FEATHER clamped into her hair. If you love this trend, then I apologize for what I’m about to say. Which is that the girls LOOK LIKE CHICKENS. Punk chickens. They look ridiculous with flourescent feathers woven into their scalps. It’s ugly. I would tell you what segment of the population it reminds me of, but that would be highly offensive to a whole group of people so I’ll refrain.
But whatever. I’m tolerant, remember? (And secretly relieved she chose a little tiny feather that you can’t really see.)
“Mommy?” Caroline asked as I was putting on my makeup this morning.
“You know how you don’t love the whole feather thing but you let me do it because you respect my opinion?”
“Well, I have another opinion, and I’d like it if you would respect it.”
“And pay for it.”
Oh, crap. WHAT.
“See, there are these hair extensions. And they dye them and they stick them into your hair and then your hair is different colors and I really want one and I don’t think they’re expensive and they do them at the mall and Izzy has one and can I please get one?”
Who are you, Cyndi Lauper? No way.
I started with the reasonable, mom reason:
Your hair is beautiful without all these feathers and such. You are beautiful without any artificial adornment.
Her lower lip came out (yup, they still pout at nine). I moved to a higher state of alarm.
You could damage your hair if you keep adding things to it.
She lowered her head. Ratcheted up the alarm even further.
You could damage your brain. Really, Caroline, your math class is tough as it is. You want to make it harder? Keep sticking weird things in your brain. That’ll make algebra a heck of a lot more confusing.
Alas, she’s smarter than that.
“Mom. Please. It’s not going to damage my brain. That’s just ridiculous.”
FINE, Caroline. The truth is that it’s tacky. You’ll look like Beyonce.
“Beyonce’s not tacky. And she’s a good singer.”
You’ll look like Lady Gaga.
“I don’t know who that is because you turn her songs off when they come on, but she’s a good singer, too.”
For the love of God, we’re not debating the singing merits of various artists. You’re not getting a hair extension. What's next? A pierced tongue at ten?
“You are the meanest mother in the world.”
No reaction from me (I’m very mature).
“You never let me do anything I want to do.”
Nope, I didn’t blink an eye.
“You don’t care about me.”
Talk to the hand, Caroline.
“CAROLINE. Go to your room, NOW.”
That kid totally knows how to push my buttons.