A letter to my daughter’s nursery about her appearance
This letter is way overdue. I’m sure there have been many times in the months since my daughter started attending your nursery that you thought, “How could this girl’s parents possibly let her out of the house like this?”
So let me explain.
First: the hair.
I have never brushed my daughter’s hair.
You knew that, of course. My daughter turns up at nursery with a wild mess of curls only somewhat held back with mismatched clips. These are not doll-like ringlets; they’re windblown waves. A few pieces always curl adorably, while others are almost straight. It’s very clear that no one has attempted to properly manage them.
And here’s why.
The number one rule of curly hair is NEVER BRUSH CURLY HAIR. The curls vanish and you’re left with a frizzy, fluffy mess. When my daughter gets out of the bath, I’ll run a comb through her hair to get the tangles out, but that’s it.
I don’t brush my hair either, though you may have noticed that mine is (slightly) less disheveled than hers. That’s because I tame mine with styling products, which I’m not about to do to my kid – not only because I have to be careful about what products I put on her dry scalp, but also because SHE’S THREE. She has a lifetime of trying to tame her curls ahead of her; she deserves a few years of letting them do their thing.
Second: the clothes.
You’ve probably noticed that my child sometimes comes to nursery in questionable attire – her shirt and leggings wildly mismatched, wearing a sundress when it’s cold and raining, sporting a pair of wellies when it’s scorching. Once she went out wearing two dresses, one on top of the other. You may be wondering, “Did this kid dress herself today?”
Yes. She did.
In my three years as a parent, I have learned to choose my battles wisely. It’s rarely worth arguing with a small child over what they want to wear. That’s why I let her leave the house in pretty much whatever she chooses, no matter how ridiculous it looks. When you’re a kid, you don’t have control over very much in your life. Adults are always telling you what you can and can’t do, when to go to bed, what you’re going to eat and where you’re going to go. Letting kids be in charge of something – even something as small as whether what colour shirt they wear that day – means a lot to them.
Finally: the shoes.
You wouldn’t know it just by looking at them – or smelling them – but my daughter has only had these sandals for about six weeks. Even after a deep clean, they’re still pretty rotten.
I could buy her another pair of sandals, but once she finds a pair of shoes that she likes, she’ll wear them every day until they’re stinking and nearly black with dirt. I know they look gross, but she likes what she likes – and what she likes are shoes that look and smell like they’ve been through a war zone during a heatwave.
I have to admit that part of me is proud of how filthy her shoes are. These are the shoes of a kid who plays hard, jumps in puddles, runs up hills and climbs all over playgrounds. I’d rather have her be active and skanky-footed than sitting quietly in a pair of spotless white trainers.
So yes, my child is wild-haired and oddly-attired, but you have to admire her strong will and incredible cuteness. Because she is cute – even when she looks like she got ready for nusery in the dark during a hurricane.