Sometimes you just gotta get out of the house

Thursday, after lazing about the house all morning, that after lazing about the house the entire day prior (post present-opening), the Fox Force Five decided we needed to get out of the house. And because the ground is sloshy from melting snow--hampering our desire for a walk and squishing our thoughts (no matter how remote) for a trip to the park--we went shopping.

Shopping seems egregious when done the day after receiving lots of presents on Christmas, and when done four days after celebrating Christmas with the first set of grandparents, and when done two days before another round of Christmas with the second set of grandparents, but sometimes you just gotta get out of the house.

So we loaded up and headed to Wichita, because we’ve seen the Augusta stores too many times in too few days.

But we did not leave the house before Little Missy primped and then primped some more. While getting myself ready she poked her head in the bathroom for a hair brush, used it, and then returned it. Later, as Hubby and I sat in the kitchen and waited for the furnace repairman to finish up on our very old and very rickety heater, Little Missy came and grabbed a brush out of the kitchen with a roll of her eyes. “I’ve brushed my hair, like… twelve times.” And then she was off to the mirror by our front door, where she stood staring at herself as she brushed her hair again, presumably for the thirteenth time.

Hubby and I looked at each other, wondering what in the world was going on. She is the child who is in second grade and still fights me on brushing her hair before we leave the house. Then to twelve, thirteen times in one afternoon? Where'd that desire for glossy hair come from?

Last weekend, as we readied to leave for the first family Christmas, she pouted when I reminded her to brush her hair, so Hubby and I had a talk with her (again!) about how this is something we do every single day and that will not change. So get used to it.

Then mere days later, she’s watching herself brush her hair, as well as putting on lipgloss and earrings. And I wonder, is this a permanent change? Will her hostility toward hair brushing return, stronger than before?

Because while she’s good about cleanliness without my prompting, the final step of brushing her hair is always one step too far for her nerves to take. I like her taking care of herself without my goading, but the fine line of spending too much time in front of the mirror is dangerously close, especially for a second grader.

And if she'd bought anything other than the book and Legos she came away with that day, if she'd taken a second glance at anything beauty-related, I would have taken away her brush and not reminded her again about tangled hair. Someone has to keep an eye on that line.

Erin Fox is a busy wife and mother of three. She is a weekly columnist for the Times- Gazette.