I took my baby girl for a haircut today. Not at her usual salon, but at one of those “children’s” salons. She sat in a big pink Barbie jeep and watched Peter Pan while the deal went down. Usually, we go to a high end, downtown salon, where there is a stylist who just happens to be a genius with small squirmy children. She charges ten bucks. She gives my baby a mannequin’s head to play with, the baby is distracted, and everybody emerges relatively unscathed.
The jeep and the movie were cool. Not so the stylist. The woman starts out by spraying water directly at my girl, then acting surprised when the kid screams. After trimming some, this woman slops some sparkle gel onto baby’s hair. Never asked if that was OK. Just did it. Then she asked what I was “using” on baby girl’s hair. Umm, she’s a baby. Baby shampoo. “Well, she needs conditioner. You didn’t notice?” Lady, I can barely get through a shampooing during a bath without this kid jumping out. Conditioner? You’re fucking nuts. She finishes the whole thing off with a sheen of glitter hairspray, again unsolicited. I tipped nothing, and seethed my way home. I spent the rest of the day wiping glitter off my face, the couch, my son….
As I was giving my baby girl her bath (no conditioner. Yeah, that’s right. Call the split end police. I don’t care), I realized that she is 17 months old today. And that day was a Friday, too. If you want adulation, adoration, or even acknowledgment, don’t have a baby late on a Friday afternoon. I sat in my hospital room, clutching my fat, pink bundle of girl, feeling like a warrior princess who’d come out the other side of the battle, victorious. And no one gave a shit. No one was home. My husband tried to call everyone. Anyone. The only person who answered was his grandma in Saskatchewan. She was confused, but honored, that she was the first call. We didn’t have the heart to tell her she was only getting the call because she was essentially a shut-in.
Ah, what a difference 17 months makes. Baby girl sleeps now. She didn’t for her first 12 ½ months. I’m still not sure how one of us didn’t die. Seriously. She spent the first 8 or 9 months in a state of perpetual frustration. She was a big, big baby. The stuff she wanted to do couldn’t be supported by her musculature. Plus, she had to watch a big brother do all the cool stuff. He was, of course, sympathetic. (I’m lying.) Now, she is crazy happy. Running, climbing, smiling. And talking.
Her favorite, go-to word? Mommy. Not just once. Several times in a row. Mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy. With the cadence and tone of a car alarm going off in an empty parking lot. My husband doesn’t understand why I find this so unbearable. He is a plumber. I asked him how he would feel if every piece of pipe he laid said his name all day long. I still don’t think he got it.