She has decided of late that I should braid her hair in the mornings. “Without elastics at the top,” she specifies. “Like Laura.”
“I don’t know how Ma did this every morning,” I said one day as I grappled with those slippery bits of hair attached to a wiggling child. “She had all those chickens to take care of.”
“And the cows. And the horses.”
The part down the back is the hardest. It never lines up with the part in the front, and I can’t seem to get two equal bunches of hair. The learning curve on Laura hair is steep.
“If Julia had two ribbons and braided her hair, she could be Mary,” Lilah commented the other day. Julia has blond hair and blue eyes.
These are what the elementary school teachers call “text-to-self connections.” It’s what we used to call “reading.” I’m not sure why a seven-year-old needs to know that he’s connecting the text to himself, rather than just doing it, but the Common Core has instructed our teachers to instruct our children in this way, and if the Common Core says so, then it must be essential for eventual college and career readiness.
Lilah, at five, hasn’t yet been told to identify her text-to-self connections, which means she’s still enjoying them.
I came into her room this morning armed with my elastics, comb, and brush. Laura hair requires a lot of equipment. It was five minutes before we had to be out the door and Benjamin hadn’t yet even brushed his teeth let alone contemplated changing out of his pink flannel PJs, so I was hollering out instructions to the boys as she sauntered over to the edge of the bed. Lilah was wearing jeans for the first time in a year and a new-to-her loose blouse in psychedelic green with boisterous circles dotting it that we found yesterday in the hand-me-down bins.
“Come on over here, hippie chick,” I said.
“I’m not a hippie chick. I’m Katy.”
“Katy? Who’s Katy?” I began the awkward and doomed process of running a comb down the back hair.
“Katy and the Big Snow!” she declared, pointing to the book she had been reading.
“You’re a snow plow?”
“Katy doesn’t just plow snow. She also moves dirt. She moves both; just like me.”
That’s my daughter: the snow-plowing, dirt-moving, prairie-dwelling, text-to-self-connecting hippy chick.