A Brush With Monday


Monday morning is never easy in my house. Especially at this time of year and especially with a seven year old. Now I know what you’re thinking — summer’s easier — theoretically at least. School’s out, no need to be at the end of the driveway at 7:55 a.m. sharp for the bus. The camp schedule is relaxed. Get her there at quarter to nine… fine. Get her there at ten o’eight…great.

Dressing Sophie is also a breeze at this time of year. Packed away are tights, blouses, boots, umbrellas, jackets, sweaters, slips, turtlenecks, scarves and mittens. Just pull on a sundress, a pair of flip flops or other insensible shoes…wait, a few squirts of sunscreen…and we’re off.

But summer Mondays are not all fun and games. That’s because summer is prime time for hangovers. Not mine, mind you, but hers. And, no, we’re not talking booze, we’re talking Hair Hangovers here — those leftover good times from Saturday and Sunday that inevitably find their gooky way into my daughter’s hair come Monday morning.

And does she have a lot of it. Thick, wavy Breck girl hair (for those of you old enough to remember such things). It’s teenage hair. A thick brunette mane with blond streaks that most women I know would kill for. A friend called it Jennifer Anniston hair once. I get that.

But getting her to cooperate when I (try to) brush her hair is a challenge even in the best of times (and best of times is right after half a bottle of conditioner has been dumped on her head). The protests start before the brush is even off the dresser. When she was younger I was able to distract her with a book or a toy. No more. These days, she just eyes me suspiciously out of the corner of her eye when I make a move for the brush, then dives under the covers of her bed — which further tangles the nest.

Hangover Hair. Beware. It is summer’s dark menace and it lurks deep in the long, thick locks of my daughter.

For the uninitiated, classic Hangover Hair always starts the same way — with the promise of good weekend weather. And no, Friday night baths combined with strategically placed hair bands can not stop it.

Come Saturday morning after sandcastles, tunnel building, hole digging and head-dunking in the salty surf, a day at the beach quickly devolves into a day in the beach when Sophie decides it’s time to show off her head standing skills. She rights herself, her head glistening with well embedded grains of sand when her dad announces it’s time to hit the snack bar… and you know where the Good Humor’s going to end up and which family member is going to quickly lose hers when it does.

The weekend proceeds with a series of windy boat rides, bug spray and sun screen applications, fishing trips, gooey beach fire roasted marshmallows and every other food product all leaving their mark. By Monday, it’s a mess.

I’ll admit, this week was particularly bad. Weekend guests with a son of their own meant extra ice cream, a super long outing on the boat (on a very windy day), lots of “sand-stands” and somersaults and several meals apparently eaten through the top of my daughter’s head.

The hair hangover lingered on Monday, on in to Tuesday and even stretched well into Wednesday. As the sole washer of the mane, I had fallen down on my job…or rather, just not gotten around to it. So first thing Thursday morning, with the hangover still held together loosely at the end by a cloth scrunchy — I would never have used a real hair band at this fragile stage …too cruel — we headed to Southampton for a haircut. Sue, the hairstylist, didn’t even manage to work all the knots out at the bottom. She just chopped it off. After half an hour, a smiling mother and daughter left the salon, the sad remnants of the hair hangover laying forlornly, like carrion, at the base of the barber’s chair. The dark menace now behind us, summer is suddenly looking up again.

Do you think Jennifer Anniston’s mother ever had to deal with this?