I love Rubber-bands!
Not the ordinary rubber ones that are used to tie polythene bags or wads of bills and come in dirty red, green and yellow colors. But the bright attractive ones that my daughter uses on her hair. The ones with little dolls, rabbits, pups, cherries, bows and balls of impossibly pretty colors on them.
M, my daughter is 7 years old and is now a veteran rubber-band user. I still remember her first pair. Tiny blue rubber-bands with little plastic shoes on them. She got them as a gift from a friend (a mom of two lovely daughters and presumably a rubber-band lover herself). From there began our journey into the world of rubber-bands. Before Maya, I had never thought of rubber-bands as accessories but functional things that served a purpose. The design element was totally lost on me. The practical socialist in me, couldn’t fathom the purposefulness of having cherries/ kittens on rubber-bands.
However, as M grew, I began to regard Rubber bands with more respect. I realized that the little pink ones with strawberries hanging on them could make M sit still for five whole minutes while I combed her tussled hair. The red ones with polka dot bows in M’s eager hands allowed me 30 more minutes in the shopping mall looking for that perfect gift for a friend. The yellow ones with big smileys on them allowed me to shampoo her hair. And the purple one with unidentifiable birds on them were a good bribe for “smelly” oiling sessions!
Last year, for some strange reason my husband decided that M needed a haircut. I was horrified when I saw my little girl without her two ponytails ! I should be pleased he said, saves so much time in the morning. And he was right. It did save time.
Why then was I so disappointed? Because those five minutes that I spent untangling her curls, and collecting them into ponytails was “our time”. I cribbed, she cringed. I ordered her to be still, she complained her neck hurt. I pretended to be angry, she fidgeted. To an onlooker it seemed like a chore. But to us, it was an intimate act that only the two of us were a part of.
As she grew, she slowly began to do things for herself. Brushing her teeth, bathing, toweling herself dry. But making her hair was my job. Every morning we decided how she would wear them today? One pony or two? A little fountain on the top like the “Rasna ” girl? or a side sweep when she felt stylish. Two little side ones for those “baby” days and a really low single pony for the ‘grown up ones’.
There is so much I learned about M and the girl she was growing up to be in these hair making sessions. “Mumma, can you make them like Palak today”, told me she had a new friend. Or “like the new Maths teacher please, she is very nice”. “Mom don’t make the fountain now it looks babyish”. Or the time she came back with a ponytail schedule, that she and her friends had made together.
It read Monday – Two ponies, Tuesday – one pony, Wednesday – half pony…. and so forth. The schedule was adhered to religiously for two weeks and then one Tuesday it was simply trashed. “I don’t want to make one pony today!” Made me realize something was not quite right. My gentle prodding produced tears in her baby eyes, and out tumbled the story of the previous day’s fight.
For many days I allowed the box of rubber-bands to continue to occupy its prime place near the dressing table and then one day with a heavy heart I stored them away. Packed them into a little decrepit box and put them away in an unknown corner on the top shelf. Difficult to reach and impossible to see. So, when after months of living the ‘non rubber-band life’ M and me realized that her hair were once again fit for being pony – tailed ( uhhh.. just about!) we were overjoyed!
The rubber bands were retrieved, each one admired and put back, in the tray on the main shelf, for all to see. And though the pony tails are really small and need about a dozen pins to just hold them up. M and me are proud of them. They have brought back to us, our favorite accessories –
The Rubber- bands