Christina M. Currie: Making the cut, making the grade

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Christina M. Currie

Christina M. Currie's Touch of Spice column appears Fridays in the Craig Daily Press. E-mail her at director@craig-chamber.com

— How in the world is it already time for school to start? Summer just started. I'm not ready to be a responsible parent again - the keeper of lunch money, the finder of gym shoes, the Nazi of homework, the chaperone of field trips.

Not that I'm claiming to have been very good at any of those things to begin with, but the start of the school year also means an onslaught of guilt for not being very good at those things.

It's kind of like the New Year for me. It's the time when I resolve, yet again, to make a fresh start at the goal of perfect parenthood. To always remember when it's my day to bring snacks. To have a cold lunch packed as opposed to shifting through the change jar to gather $2 worth of dimes, nickels and pennies. To always have clean socks ready.

I thought I made a pretty good start. I was nearly a week ahead of the curve when it came to school supplies, and I managed to find nearly everything required for a kindergarten and a second-grade student (although why they need a metric ruler is beyond me).

The best part of the pre-school preparations was haircuts. In an effort to relieve some of the a.m. craziness, I thought short, simple hairstyles would be both cute and efficient. So, I made an appointment for both my girls to get professionally clipped, which is an upgrade from sitting in mom's lap while she experiments with the scissors and watches television at the same time.

Seven-year-old Katie hit the chair first, and despite the fact that she railed against short, unprincess-like hair, she couldn't resist asking for the same wedge cut that garnered so many compliments the last time.

I had a clear (and adorable) vision what I wanted for 5-year-old Nikki. So did she. She thumbed through a styling magazine, saw an ad picturing a black-haired Asian woman with a short bob and razor straight bangs and said "I want that."

There was no talking her out of it. She wouldn't even look at a single other option. When it was her turn in the chair, she settled in with the book on her lap and said "that."

I shrugged. It wasn't my favorite, but it's not my hair. Kids get to make few enough of their own decisions.

So, the stylist, after glancing my direction for confirmation, asked Nikki again, "That's what you want?"

Nikki said, "Yes, and that color."

OK, I believe in empowering children, but not to the point where I was going to allow, to pay for, anything that would turn my 5-year-old's blond curls jet black.

I checked to make sure that Nikki made her choice based on the style, not just the color and then let the stylist take over.

She asked if Nikki wanted her hair shampooed.

"Does shampoo come with that haircut?" Nikki asked.

Nikki's locks were washed, cut, blow dried and straightened (a few more steps than I was hoping for) just like the picture.

She was in love. She smoothed her hair down, checked it from every angle and then walked up to the mirror holding the magazine under her chin to check that her hair, color withstanding, was EXACTLY like the picture.

I couldn't even get her to change her shirt that night because she was afraid it would mess up her hair.

I couldn't get her to sweep her bangs back because "that's not how it goes," she said, brushing them back into place.

I've been anal about haircuts before, but my daughter topped anything I could imagine.

So, as school starts, we have supplies, cute new hairdos and a newfound feeling of independence and control.

I think we're ready.

How long does the average New Year's resolution last?

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