Whenever he's sick, he minds the whole combing-brushing-unsnarling routine a lot more, plus he tosses and turns in bed that much more, and his hair becomes a total rats' nest. Really. To the point where there have been a few days that I wish he'd wear a hat, to save his mother the embarrassment. And that's in Berkeley.
A few weeks ago, in the middle of Interminable Illness #12, I mentioned to his daycare provider Roxana that I should probably just go ahead and cut his hair. I motioned to my blond halo-headed little boy, who is generally considered to be a girl at first glance (even in Berkeley). "Don't cut it!" she surprised me by saying. "He's got such beautiful hair" (see, independent confirmation). She offered to try her hand at brushing it out, and I, not being an overly-proud mama, happily accepted.
That afternoon, when I came to pick him up, the kids were playing in the back yard. I checked Elan's cubbie and found a note from Roxana that began I hope you are not upset. My heart sped up for a second, but then she went on to explain that she had brushed out Elan's hair, put in special conditioner and then made trenzas (braids), a word which, for me, always conjures up the image of cornrows. I headed to the back yard, eager to see her handiwork.
The funniest thing is that even though I had just read this note, I still did not recognize my son from behind. I saw a toddler playing on the far side of the yard and thought, "That little girl has the same vest as Elan." Then I thought: "And the same sweater."
Only then did I look a little closer and realized it was Elan.
And doesn't he make a precious little girl?