The confession

I didn’t mean for it to happen. I really didn’t. But there is only so much patience a woman can muster when combing and braiding this fabulously fabulous hair:

And usually, I got this. Twists, zulu knots, braids…I’m good. But Ruby requested small braids, which is another story.

Doing Ruby’s hair is not a rinse-and-brush-and-run-out-the-door kind of event. It’s more of a pick-your-three-favorite-movies-and-grab-a-pillow-for-your-tushy kind of event. The girl has got a lot of hair. And no front teeth. And one egg. She’s such a goofball.

Anyway, if you take all of the hair in the universe and put it on one person’s head, that is about half as much hair pictured. It is thick and enviable and very, very difficult to comb through. Did I mention that my child is tender-headed? Mmmm-hmmm.

The tears, they fly from her face horizontally with every single tug of the comb, if I’m not careful. So I go very slowly, calling on a level of patience I didn’t know I was had. Miracles never cease. And things were going alright this past Saturday; after two hours, I had the back bottom half of her head combed out and had completed nine little box braids. I have no photos of my work, however, because this is where Monster’s, Inc. ended and Dora the Whora began.

Readers, I challenge you to do something that requires concentration, dexterity, and fine motor skills for an extended period of time, all to the soundtrack of “SOY DORA! LET’S GO TO THE ISLAND OF LOST TOYS! VAMANOS! LET’S FIND MY LOST BEAR! VAMANOS! SOY DORA!”

Fuck you, Dora, was all I could think as I tried to carve exact parts in Ruby’s scalp. It wasn’t long before my child began softly crying, and what began as a soothing conversation went south:

HER: Ow! Mama! You’re hurting me… (tears flowing now)

ME: I’m sorry, baby, I didn’t mean to, but you have a really bad tangle over here.

HER: OW! Mama! Ow!Ow!Ow! (sobbing, shaking, snotting) You don’t understand!

ME: Honey, I do understand. I do and I’m tryi…

HER: You don’t understand! You are not listening to me! (Tears dripping from her jawline.)

ME: I am listening, I do hear you. I’m trying not to hurt you. You know this. I really am. I’m doing the best that I ca…

HER: You! Don’t! Under! Stand!

ME: You know what, Ruby?!? (Throwing the comb down on the coffee table) I do understand! I do! But you know what you don’t understand?

HER: (Looking at me with fear)


HER: Maaaaaaaaammmmmmaaaaaaaa! You said a bad word! You owe me a quarter!

ME: Fine, here’s another one. I hate Dora! There, that’s fifty-cents.

HER: Mama…!

ME: It’s true. I said it. I hate her. IhateDoraIhateDoraIhateDora! There. There’s a dollar-fifty.

HER: But Mama, I love Dora! That’s mean!

Sam: (Just walked in from a bike ride) Uh…Ruby, how about you put on Finding Nemo?

Yes, I crossed an uncrossable line and I knew it. I was not Mother of the Year in that moment. I was, in fact, the Suckiest Mother of the Year.

I put myself on a time-out and later explained that it’s okay for her to love Dora and for me to not love Dora. And I explained a whole bunch of other stuff about shortcomings and suckiness and blah blah blah. I also took Ruby to someone else to finish her braids. I don’t know if that woman hates Dora, too. But she’s an expert braider, and it still took her three more hours and a river of tears before the ‘do was complete.