Dear Natalie: Week 23

Dear Natalie,

Over the last few weeks we’ve been talking an awful lot about your sleep (or lack thereof), so I thought we’d take a break from all that and discuss something a little more fun: your hair.

You have the best hair. Period, end of story.

You’ve always had a bit of a cowlick since you were born (courtesy of your dad, I’m pretty sure), but over the past few months it’s evolved into a glorious crest, a veritable tiara of hair.

It does not lie flat. Ever. Your dad thinks that if we were more diligent about smoothing it down after your baths, it would look “normal.” I disagree and not-so-secretly hope that it stays like this for a while. It’s kind of your signature look at this point. This sort of thing would be embarrassing for a tween and outright humiliating for a too-cool-for-school teenager, but you are totally working it.

One of the many things that’s exciting for me about having a baby girl is the prospect of doing your hair when you’re a bit older. Right now it’s too fine to be contained by any kind of elastic or ribbon, but soon enough we can style it in a Cindy Lou Who ponytail.

I spent hours and hours when I was younger poring over the classic Klutz book Hair: A Book of Braiding and Styles. (Three decorative scrunchies included! Does anyone even wear scrunchies anymore? Do you know what a scrunchie is?) I painstakingly practiced all of the braids in the book on myself, over and over again, until I had progressed from a sloppy French braid that meandered back and forth across my head to two tight, perfectly parted and plaited French rope braids.

(This is the braid that will have people stopping you on the street to ask how you did it! the book proclaimed. That never happened, but I still was intensely proud of my mad hair braiding skills.)

Your aunt Leslie’s style of choice when she was quite young was ponytails sprouting from random places on her head. Side ponytails! Asymmetrical ponytails! Bangs ponytails!

One sister with a French braid and the biggest, most obnoxious fluffy bow you’ve ever seen in your life, the other with a spout of hair sticking straight out from her forehead, unicorn-style. We were super stylin’.

Looking back now, I’m both amazed and grateful that your Grammy let us out of the house like that. Your aunt and I were both allowed near-total freedom when it came to our own outfits and hairstyles, which made for some hilarious photos and for the opportunity for us to grow into our own sense of style.

(Mine: questionable. Your aunt’s: impeccable. I’m not sure what happened there.)

I can’t promise not to go overboard with ponytails and pigtails and twists and braids and all manner of fun, super-girly hairdos with you. In fact, I guarantee that I will.

But I do promise to step back and let you do it yourself. Even when the results are messy and imperfect and not quite school-photo worthy.

I clearly remember the pride that I felt in doing my own hair and seeing it mirrored back to me in my mom’s smile every time I ran to her, thrilled to show off my new ‘do. I can’t wait to see you grow into your own style, experiment, and learn your own new looks.

Even if that look is a unicorn ponytail.

Love always,


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