Parenthood is a constant learning curve. With each milestone achieved comes a thousand and fifty-one mind-numbing lessons on how it could have gone smoother.
Once again, I had stumbled blindly into the vast pit of things I still don’t understand about parenting.
It was picture day at Sophie’s school. The night before, I dreamed luminously of my darling daughter in an adorable sweater dress with an adorable smile from ear to ear. Buoyant and, of course, adorable ringlets flowing down from her adorably tiny scalp. She was going to look — you guessed it — adorable.
I wasn’t worried at all about the day. I had endured picture days before with Lars and it had always gone swimmingly. I actually felt like one of those perfect champion mothers who love all things parenting. … Well, when it came to picture day at least, I was a freaken Pinterest Mama.
Upon waking that morning, Sophie wanted her hair done immediately.
But I knew better. Sophie’s school doesn’t begin until 1 in the afternoon so her hair I would start by 11 and she sure wouldn’t be putting said sweater dress on until after lunch. M’lady can be a wee bit boorish when it comes to consuming her beloved KD.
I had it all figured out.
So when 11 o’clock rolled around, I whipped out the flat iron and began to curl the girl’s tresses. I was quick like the Flash, speedily twirling the iron through her locks, creating a plethora of beautiful curls flowing down her tiny neck. The prophesied adorableness was coming to fruition, and I could not have been more contented.
As I finished, she looked up at me, then into the mirror, then back at me and said in the sweetest of voices, “Thank you Mama, I love it!”
She then ran off to the living room to show her big bro. As Sophie flitted away, a fleeting thought about how I never had to worry about Lars’s short cut hair on picture days buzzed through my mind.
I disregarded it, though, because someone as awesome as me when it came to picture days shouldn’t worry about such things.
I was in the midst of creating a tweet about how picture-day-amaze-balls I am when I heard Lars let out a deafening scream.
I ran to the living room just in time to hear Lars say, “NO SOPH! MOM IS GOING TO BE SO ANGRY!!”
There was Sophie ferociously worming headfirst into a huge pile of cushions and blankets. It was as though I could see the static electricity snapping around her cranium as whispers of ‘all for nothing’ and ‘you suck at picture day’ zipped through the air.
“NOOOOOOO! What are you doing!?” I screamed so loud that I could feel the sour looks of judgment that I’m sure were coming from the passersby outside of my home.
Sophie popped her head out of her makeshift mountain, looked at me innocently and smiled.
It was the same smile that we had been practising earlier that morning. That very smile demolished any ounce of cockiness about picture day I had left.
I looked at the clock. We had T-minus 45 minutes until the school day began. I didn’t know whether this was a good thing or bad. More time for me to fix the hair but also more time for her to mess it up again. We were at an impasse. A hair stalemate if you will — I knew I had to make my move despite what the consequence would be.
I re-curled. The two of us in the bathroom would have been a sight to see.
Me bawling for all of my hard work put to waste and her bawling because she realized she must sit in the bathroom for another 15 minutes while I recomplete the task.
Plus, I’d like to think she was feeling just a teensy weensy bit remorseful over what had happened.
The latter I’m sure was completely made up of my own delusions, though.
I threw her sweater dress on and out the door to school we went.
As we waited outside her classroom for the teachers to ready themselves for the day, I noticed Sophie had a bit of a runny nose. Before I could even rummage through my purse to find a tissue it happened. Sophie had single-handedly taught me the most important lesson about parenting I will probably ever learn.
As Sophie Anne rubbed a huge sodden snot booger onto her dress and somehow into her hair as well, I realized that when it came to parenting, arrogance never pays.
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.