Today is the last day of school, and that means my children have survived an entire year of learnin’ courtesy of the great state of Georgia, and the more things change, the more they stay the same.
For example, I was still scrambling around this morning putting together teacher gifts, just like every year.
And I was hacking up a watermelon for a class party, last night, while complaining about it. That didn’t used to happen until June, back up north, but BELIEVE ME, it happened.
And I promised my daughter pink hair (new, true) and completely failed to deliver (not new) just the way I am always a GIANT SUCKING DISAPPOINTMENT to my daughter. Oh, wait. Strictly speaking, I suppose my INABILITY TO DO ANYTHING RIGHT is not limited to the end of the school year.
Would you like to take a turn flogging me? My arm is getting tired.
Look, the hair thing WASN’T MY FAULT. I did my research, man. I asked people who know about these things. I knew exactly which product to buy, and I had been assured that it was available at Sally Beauty. So I went to Sally and wandered around and when I couldn’t find it, I strode right up to the counter and said “I can’t seem to find your Special Effects hair dye. Can you help me, please?”
And the lovely little salesgirl who may have been all of sixteen looked at me like I had four heads—all of them covered in boring colors of hair, natch—and told me that they don’t carry Special Effects.
I let her sell me something else which she VIGOROUSLY ASSURED ME would cover brown hair, and went home grumpy.
Let’s pause a moment here to recognize the fact that I could’ve EASILY ordered the hair dye online, but that I had not done so because my daughter’s behavior has been less than stellar, lately, and the hair dying privilege had been in question for a number of weeks. So I hadn’t ordered it because it was unclear if any dying was going to be happening.
(Well, I knew dying would be happening, but I strongly suspect I was the one going to DIE, rather than her being the one to be DYED. Just sayin’.)
So I took this BRIGHT PINK BOTTLE of hair dye, and when the children arrived home—toting just Nightingale, and not her little brother, but since the mom never called me back I had been unable to schedule an alternate playmate for Monkey (which irritates me greatly but the mom was later very apologetic about forgetting to call so I’m trying to let it go)—I thought I was all set to make the magic happen.
Instead, I made the girls suffer through the indignity of being coated in pink sludge, and when we rinsed it out, well, it ALL rinsed out. You might say that Nightingale has a couple of pink streaks and Chickadee has something of a pink sheen, but that’s IT. Barely noticeable. Total waste of time, money, and energy.
In the meantime, Monkey was helpfully narrating the entire process (“I dunno, Mama, but I don’t think it’s working very well at all. Are you sure you did it right?”) and the girls were becoming more and more peeved, and once it was clear that the whole thing was a bust, everyone ran off to play. Not so bad, right?
Nightingale and Chickadee went to the pond for a while and caught critters. Shortly before Nightingale’s mom was to arrive for pick-up (thankfully, I’d avoided the sleepover!), I went to the pond to fetch them. And then the attitude started up, from both girls. I gritted my teeth and tried to remind myself that AFTER ALL, I was the reason their Big Plan had been foiled, and I should be patient.
I lured them back home by promising that we could go out on the deck and look for Bob. That worked.
[Digression: Bob is a gecko. Bob is OUR gecko—he appears to live on (or near) our deck. We first noticed Bob because he was challenging us to a fight for dominance by bobbing his head up and down and showing us his mighty intimidating neck fan. Seeing as how Bob is only four inches long, we elected not to get into a pissing match with him, but nevertheless it’s become standard procedure to greet him on the deck with a booming, “Bob! Hello! You are looking VERY FEROCIOUS today! Show me your big neck, you mighty creature, you!” Poor Bob had a tangle with a cat or a bird or something, too—he’s missing part of his tail. That’s how we know it’s him. And also possibly why he feels the need to communicate “I’M BIG AND SCARY!” every time we see him.]
Anyway, we got back up the house and Bob was nowhere to be found, the little shit. That meant I had NO DISTRACTION for the girls until Nightingale’s mom came, which meant that they suddenly decided they wanted to go swimming. And I had to explain that 60 seconds before pick-up is not a good time to start swimming. And the girls became very agitated about it all, and Nightingale threatened to jump into the pool with her clothes on, and I called her bluff and she didn’t do it. But she then picked up a beetle and threw it in my face in a fit of pique.
See, now, I know the hair thing was disappointing. But that was a little much.
So when Nightingale’s mom arrived (with the little brother in tow, who immediately ran off with Monkey), it probably would’ve been nice of me and the kind thing to do to invite them all to stay for dinner, but I didn’t. For one thing, I wasn’t sure we had enough food for three extra people. For another, I didn’t much enjoy the beetle to the head maneuver. The children ran around like crazy people and finally our guests departed.
This morning, Chickadee came downstairs in the same outfit she wore on Monday. “Hey, what are you doing?” I said, catching her elbow. “I haven’t done laundry yet. Did you take that out of the hamper? It’s DIRTY.”
“It’s PINK,” she said, glaring at me. “Unlike my HAIR. And I’m just gonna get dirty today, anyway.”
She had a point. And besides, she was wearing clean underwear. I hope.
Yup, today marks the end of a new era. Next year, we’ll be old pros at all of this. And I’ll buy the right hair dye.