The girls knew for weeks this day was coming and reluctantly they lined up like I was going shave off their pretty locks instead of just try and brush them.
Our morning routine changes now because dad will be the one getting them out the door and ready for school. And while I'd love to see the girls brush their hair before bed and then apply a tremendous amount of gel to freeze their hair in place, it's time dad learned how to use a hair brush.
So we planned it all along that today would be Daddy Salon Day, a practice time for me to hone my skills in a controlled situation and under direct and extensive motherly supervision. The kids jockeyed for a position of avoidance; the older one argued younger kids should go first. At one point, it was used as a punishment that whichever child didn't behave would go first.
Needless to say, the older one went first. She sat down as a cold fear took hold, sweaty palms, confusion- both me and her. I had her intentionally mess up her hair so I could start with a clean slate. I calmly attacked her head like I had seen mom do so many times before, trying with a surgeon's precision to brush her hair straight and down. I tried to find the part in her hair.
The wife stepped in and showed me how to tilt her hair back, to find the natural part in her hair, to use that as a guide for where to brush. We then practiced putting in barrettes while still keeping her hair brushed and her bangs in check. Apparently she likes flowing hair with bangs and a cute barrette. The barrette ended up more on the top of her head than on the front or side so I did it again and again for good measure. We finally got it to a spot where the daughter wasn't crying or embarrassed when she looked in the mirror.
And then kid number two sheepishly stepped into the salon. She too messed up her hair on purpose. And then I started to brush. I brushed that brown hair down and back and gently tried to put every hair in place. She goes natural and doesn't like the barrettes so this was an easy one or so I thought. She had some sort of static cling thing happening and the hair kind of stood up and did its own thing. I learned about Moroccan oil to get the hair to sit down, not too little, but not too much. I did what I had learned and tilted #2's head back, and looked for the natural part, and started to brush again.
When I was finished the older daughter laughed. But we all knew it really wasn't that bad and no one felt the need to find a hat or enter the witness relocation program. In fact, it looked like the kids were semi-well-groomed little girls who must at least have someone who loves them even a little each day.
It was a minor dad victory. And now we've broken the ice.
Better yet, they are forever, each and every morning, at least for the foreseeable future, at my mercy when it comes to brushing their hair and getting their butts out the door. Let the brushing begin.