But one thing still kinda gets to me.
Why do people feel it their right to touch my daughter's hair?? I don't get it. I'm not talking about friends or family here - people who know and care about my children. I'm talking about perfect strangers. It really, really bugs me. And it bugs Lizzie, too.
Just yesterday it happened again. Lizzie and I were dropping the boys off at their morning basketball camp and were watching them from the sidelines for a few moments as they shot some hoops. Lizzie was leaning on my legs and I had an arm dropped around her shoulders. We were cheering the boys on.
Then, from my right, a woman I'd never met came right up to us and said that she loved Lizzie's hair. No 'hello,' no anything to introduce herself. While she was talking she reached out and touched Lizzie's hair.
No, she didn't really touch it...she manhandled it. I'd just laboured over putting twists into her hair (and yes, it is still a labour - of love - for me) and they were still looking good. But the woman not only pulled and stroked a number of twists, she bent over Lizzie's head and picked one of the twists up from where it was hanging over her forehead and started to untwist the twist while saying that she was curious about how it was done. I stared open-mouthed.
I finally got over my tongue-tied self enough to say something like "oh, you know what? I just put those in and really don't want them untwisted - it takes me quite a while to get that done."
Her response: "oh, okay."
But she kept stroking Lizzie's head for the few seconds that it took me to further get my wits together and pick Lizzie up.
A few minutes later, after Lizzie and I had said good-bye to the boys and made our escape to the parking lot, I looked at Lizzie's hair and saw that the twist the woman had been handling was entirely undone and flying freely in the wind; another twist, right beside the first one, was partially untwisted. I felt outraged.
While we were buckling into the van, Lizzie said to me "Mommy, I don't like when people touch my hair."
I know that about her already. I wouldn't like it either. I've have taught my kids that they need to receive permission before touching someone's hair; but frankly, my kids don't have an issue about touching other people's hair because what kind of person just goes up to a stranger and handles their hair!!??
In response to Lizzie I said, "I don't like it either that she touched your hair. It's ok to be a bit mad about that."
Lizzie: "I want to tell her to please not touch my hair. But that would be not very nice."
Me: "You know what? It is totally ok with me if you want to say that to someone. I've asked people before to please not touch your hair. I think it's rude that someone would touch your hair without asking you first, and I think what you just suggested saying was actually quite polite."
But I'm annoyed with myself. I should have said more. I wanted to but felt embarrassed for some reason - why, I don't really know because it wasn't my behaviour that was embarrassing. I need to think of a good 'line' that's firm but not too rude, because I just know this is going to happen again.
P.S. An addendum...
It's Friday morning now, and Lizzie and I just dropped the boys off for their last morning of basketball camp. The same hair-fondling woman was there again and greeted me as if I was an old friend - waved from a distance and shouted good morning to me. Huh? I almost turned around to see if there was someone behind me that she could possibly be greeting instead of me. But then she started to walk over to us and I knew there was no mistaking that she'd been greeting me. I picked Lizzie up and turned my body slightly so that she wouldn't be able to touch Lizzie's hair without invading my space, too. I wondered at her presumption of such a fond greeting. Does she think that the experience of touching my daughter's hair and messing with her twists creates some kind of instantaneous bond between us? If so, that sure didn't work for me. Whatever. Coward that I am, I didn't linger - all I did was say hi before saying that I had to go; I slid out the door and practically ran for the car. That worked for me.