Oh, I’ve tried. I’ve tried gathering June’s hair into a nascent pony tail, tying it with a cute little bow, but her 18-month old strands are as soft and delicate as corn floss. Hair falls limp from my fingers like threads of silk. A pony tail at this age is simply not possible.
But then I go to pick her up at her babysitter’s house and June is sporting not one, but two perfectly sculpted Crown Ponies — or Crown Pigtails, if you will, each one tied with a pretty pink or purple bow.
All that’s missing from this dreamy girl visual is a Strawberry Shortcake party dress, a tea pot and maybe some plastic scones.
“How the–?” I ask.
Her babysitter — a.k.a “Ma Maw” – has some experience with little kids. She is able to effortlessly gather a fistful of June’s hair into a tiny rubber band and top it with a ribbon in like 22 seconds flat, while ironing Pa Paw’s shirts with her free hand. And more astonishing is that JUNE DOESN’T MOVE A MUSCLE while Ma Maw does this. June sits silently on the counter, eyes wide and tight lipped, frozen not with fear (I hope) but with expectation; it’s like she knows Ma Maw is making her look so purty.
So Ma Maw is no longer just my babysitter — she’s my personal hair dresser as well. It’s gotten to the point where if June and I have an event, such as going over to the neighbors’ house for dinner, I’ll gesture to my own hair and say something like, “Can you do that thing with her hair again? The crown pony? It’s just so pretty.”
Today, crown pony. Tomorrow, corn rows.