I’m on the bus this morning, sitting by a mom and her little girl. She’s brushing her daughter’s hair, ever so carefully. She holds a clump in her hand, then with her other hand timidly tries to brush out each individual tangle. It’s the most inefficient hair brushing technique I have ever seen. What you need to do is yank the brush through the whole clump of hair in one fell swoop, repeat maybe 3-5 times, and the tangles will disappear quickly. It’s how people have been brushing hair for centuries. Painful? Yeah. But not as painful as say cutting off a finger or breaking a leg. This type of pain is bearable and forgettable.
But this mom didn’t want to hurt her little girl in any way. So instead, she was going to take up 30 or 45 minutes of her own precious time, brushing each individual hair so the process produced no discomfort. I felt bad for her. What a waste of time. And I felt bad for her kid, who I (maybe unfairly) assumed is being raised to be overly pampered and will turn into a self-absorbed little wench because of it.
Kids are a lot more resilient than they tell us they are. So many little girls have suffered under the tough-as-nails and swift hair brushing of their mothers and have lived to forget about it. Little girls have also been told they can’t watch TV too late, can’t have those glittery jelly shoes or can’t buy that candy, and most have also turned out just fine.
While I was secretly being overly critical of this mom for not brushing her kid’s hair the way I thought she should, the girl goes “Ow mommy you’re hurting me.” I wanted to scream “LIAR! LIAR! YOU LIE LITTLE GIRL. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT’S LIKE TO HAVE YOUR HAIR BRUSHED THE REAL WAY.” But I didn’t.