Friday, November 5, 2010

Would you like to have your hair done?

Another delightful first meeting with a preschooler.

It was "choice time," which is as close as I get to the "free play" period of my 3s classroom of years past...I was observing a teacher in a PreK classroom, seated at a table near the block corner, taking observation notes on my clipboard. All of a sudden, I feel someone running fingers through my hair, and a little girl asks:

Would you like to have your hair done?

Well, I am having a bad hair day.” (me)

OK, let’s do it. Do you want it straight or curly?”

I’d like it straight, I think. “ (me)

I think you should have it curly,” she insists.

Oh, okay; I trust your opinion since you are the hairdresser.” (me)

She begins to twist my hair, saying, “Once my mom did it curly and it hurt so bad. I moved while she was doing it.”

Oh, my, that must have hurt.” (me)

Yes,” she says, simply, concentrating. She begins to sing and hum while she works, “Sha-sha, sha;” then, “Okay, you have to lean back, it’s hot water, be careful and I’ll dry it.” And I sink down in my chair and throw back my head, pretending along with her. She laughs with delight, and adds, “Okay, it’s finished. Do you have a rubberband?”

I check my pockets, “No, I’m sorry, I don’t have one.”

She is amused that I looked in my pockets. “When I keep twisting it, it might stay by itself,” she reassures me. “I want you to show your Mom this and your friends! I’m fixing some straight and some are fat. Straight like a statue. Everybody, look at her hair, it’s so pretty!” She calls out to no one in particular; she is fully immersed in her dramatic role. “Ooopsie, stop moving your head! Okay, I have to do this part now. I want you to stop moving, okay? And it’s going to hurt…it’s not fake hair, it is real hair. Stop moving.”

I’m really trying not to move,” I apologize.

She makes a squirting noise. “It don’t hurt.” (Squirt, again) “It’s grease, it don’t hurt. It smells good. Don’t you think it smells good?”

Oh, yes, I do!,” I play along.

“Do you want to have some potatoes when I’m finished with you here? I’m cooking some.”

Oh, wow, I’d love some.” (me)

How’s it look to ya?” and she jumps in front of me and gives me a big smile. “That’s what I did to make your hair curly!”

Thank you, I know I need to pay you. I’m going to give you a big tip, because you did beautiful work," and I pretend to count out invisible dollars into her hand.

She smiles at me, and goes to play at the playdough table with friends.

About an hour later (I have long since finger-brushed my hair back into its original state), I am on the playground with the class, and she comes up to me, still in her dramatic role, and scolds me: “Why did you mess your hair up? Why did you go outside?!” She shakes her finger at me and runs off.

Really funny!

How fortuitous that I had my clipboard at the ready, to capture her words. How delightful it was to see a child be fully immersed like this, creating an entire story as she played.

I feel so privileged to have been present.


  1. Wow, very realistic. Glad she didn't "tap" you upside your head with the brush for not sitting still! Lol

  2. Our interaction was all of ten minutes long...I continue to be amazed by how quickly children let you into their world, their thinking. I also thought about how much fun it would be to set up a hair salon/barbershop in that classroom, if it were my class...there is a lot of learning to be had in such run with the interests of the children....