“Do you know who that one person is?”

We are having a bit of a tussle about hair-brushing. I brush Mookie’s hair almost every morning, and while it is a pleasant ritual much of the time, I would like it to be something I do now and then to be close, not something I do because she can’t or won’t do it herself. This morning, I handed her the brush when we got in the car, because we hadn’t had time before then. She showed no signs of brushing. So I gave her my Appearance is Communication speech, the first of many, I’m sure. I said that what we wear and do with our hair expresses something. The man who wore old jeans and an untucked shirt to his mother’s memorial service (I may never get over this) seemed to be saying that it was not a very serious and special day, the way you would expect of the day someone says goodbye to his mother forever. When you don’t brush your hair for school, it seems like you’re saying that school and the people there and the things you do there are not very important to you. This all went over about as well as you would expect.

Mookie: What I’m saying when I don’t brush my hair is “Hi! Want to play?”

Mama (after getting laughter under control): Well, it’s true that hair and clothing aren’t very precise communication. Some people might take it just that way. Other people will take it as a sign that you don’t care about school.

Mookie: You know how many people will take it that way? (holds up one finger, looking all the world like an experienced litigator) One! And do you know who that one person is? You.

Seven years old or 37? You decide.

I decided I might get further with the pragmatic argument: if you have long hair and you don’t brush the knots out at least once a day, you will end up with huge knots that don’t come out no matter what, and you will have to cut your hair off above the knots. She saw some logic in this, but insisted, “It’s just one day!” Yeah, well, kid, if you don’t do the brushing this one day, and then you don’t do it the day after because it’s even harder, then before many days have passed, the hair is going to grow a rat’s nest of a knot. I told her that to keep long hair, she needs to show me she can brush her own hair, and that means that when I run my fingers through it, I don’t hit any knots. She did not achieve that level of prowess this morning. We’ll keep trying. Anyone know any romantic movies that show the heroine giving her hair a hundred strokes with the brush?

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