For those of you following along at home, you know finding a subject for these columns can be a bit of a challenge.
I’ve written about my cats, my kids, the weather, even a missive about Mothers’ Day and combat boots.
Well, this week finds me once again at a bit of a loss for a topic. I mean, I could delight you with the most recent chapter of my ongoing existential crisis, but … let’s save that for a book that will be published after certain people die.
Instead, let us revisit a topic that proved quite popular the last time around — my parenting woes. Yep, we’re gonna’ talk about my kid’s hair.
To recap — my youngest has wild, crazy, curly hair he insists on twirling into disgusting head sculptures of disgusting. It’s an unconscious thing he does when he’s reading, watching a movie, and so on. It isn’t malicious but dang if it doesn’t feel like it most days.
True to Mom form, I’ve been relentlessly reminding him to brush his hair. Since the one he’s been using was deemed substandard and thus his hair would simply stay a snarled mess, I decided to do an end run — we went shopping.
After way too long in the hair care aisle at Walgreens, we left with a brush and a comb, detangling spray and something I totally did not expect — a box of hair dye.
Not just any hair dye, but purple hair dye. Midnight Amethyst to be very specific. I had pointed out the dyes in a moment of ridiculousness, meant more to annoy my teen than be taken as a serious suggestion. Careful what you wish for people.
So after a very serious discussion of the merits of various colors with his older brother, it was decided that purple was the way to go.
I did verify the new shade wouldn’t violate any school dress codes, for those of you who think I’m a complete anarchist. It does not.
In preparation for the big event, I read the directions which noted the dye needed to be applied to dry hair.
Because his hair is so thick, I suggested he take a shower Saturday night so it would be ready on Sunday. I more than half expected that to be the fatal flaw in the plan and the box would gather dust for the next several years.
Nope. That was fine. He even took a shower without me reminding him again. Let that sink in. I. Didn’t. Have. To. Nag. Him. It was unsettling to say the least.
So bright and early, after lunch on Sunday, we set about turning my kid’s hair a very unnatural shade. I found the oldest towel I had to protect his holey T-shirt (which as an aside is a whole other column) and pulled on the “gloves” provided in the box.
Those of you who have done at-home dye jobs know why I use the quotes around the word gloves. They are flat, cartoon caricatures stuck to the printed instructions with the dye.
The thumb is too short, the pinkie too long and the rest are a rough approximation of the remaining fingers.
The directions also note you should use a coating of petroleum jelly on the ears, hairline and neck to prevent staining. I don’t own petroleum jelly. The last time I distinctly remember having that goop on hand was when I lived at home in the ’80s. That is also another column for another time.
Gloves donned and my kid’s skin exposed, I set to work. It wasn’t what I’d call hard — grab a section of hair, saturate with dye, rub in and so forth.
I was cautioned several times not to let the dye come in contact with the scalp, which seemed a bit much to ask for. I mean, they do know what the hair is attached to, right?
Anyway, after sitting still and surprisingly patient for an hour, we were ready to rinse and reveal. There was so, so much purple in the tub. So much so that I thought there’d be none left on his hair.
However, technology triumphed and as his hair dried, the color became more and more apparent. It was a glorious thing that literally glowed in the sun.
He’s purple, fabulous and fluffy — for the next 30 days at least.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.