Ubiquitous Hairband Folly

November 30, 2016 by Rieshy

The set up:
I'm sitting in church between my 9 year old son and my 17 year old daughter.  Sitting is hard for me, especially when it involves shoes and chairs. I'm trying to model appropriate behavior even though my 17 yo is shifting around next to me.  I desperately want to pull my legs up and criss cross apple sauce to relieve the ache in my knees.

My 9 yo is paying attention to the service.

Then I notice my 17 yo has a hairband in her right hand.  She's smoothly manipulating it with just her right hand so that a knot appears.  Knotted, unknotted.  Knotted, unknotted.  How is she doing that- and does she know the cherry stem trick?  Stiff knees forgotten I watch fascinated.  My 17 yo notices me watching and whispers, "Do you want to try?" A part of me knows to say, "No."  But there was an edge of challenge to her whisper.

Mutely, I hold out my hand and she slips the hairband over my fingers.
My 9 yo is paying attention to the service.

I tried to roll the band this way, then that.  I used my thumb to twist it- it was like a miniature game of Chinese hopscotch from my childhood- except harder.  The service retreated. Thoughts of Baltimore playgrounds flashed through my head.  I would figure this out! I wonder to myself if the name Chinese Hopscotch is even used anymore or if it is now considered culturally inappropriate. I could feel my daughter smirking beside me.  I add my pinky to the mix and twist the band in the other direction. We are a competitive lot and I was losing.

Then TWANG.  I managed to launch the hairband through the air so hard that it hit a woman's head in  the pew in front of me with enough force, and the correct angle, to bounce off her head, skim to the left where it bounced off her bald husband's head only to miss their child's head and finally land in the aisle.

It was as if they had both been bitten.  Amazing how high startled people can jump while remaining sitting.

My 17 yo starts shaking with suppressed laughter.
My 9 yo is paying attention to the service.

The husband looks at his wife with confusion and no small part irritation and reaches across his child to fetch the errant band to hand it back to his wife.  I see her mouth, "NO, it's not mine."  He drops it as if it were a loaded diaper.  I can't blame him; hairbands of unknown origin are not something I would pick up either.  They both look around.

Dignity, always dignity.  My daughter and I stare straight ahead.
My 9 yo is paying attention to the service.

The couple in front of us shift back in their seats. I become acutely aware of the row behind us.  They know something's up and unfortunately the row behind me contains more of my children and their spouses... People I've spent a lot of years trying to model appropriate behavior to.

I feel the sobs of laughter rising.  Tears come to my eyes with the effort of holding in snorts.  As a diversion I smack my 17 yo on the leg in that timeless hand-language of blame-assignment hoping everyone will assume she is the culprit.  Yes, I publicly blamed my daughter for something I had done.

17 yo shakes harder with not-so suppressed glee.  Not only has she won the hairband competition but she knows that I've tried to blame her thus creating a double win based on public cowardice.  If I had audibly snorted it would have been a triple play.

But here's the catch, after being hand-language blamed if she were to whisper, "Mom, you did that," as the teenager, she will look even more guilty.  She will look childish and a bit foolish.  She will be the disruptive pouting teenager.  She falls right into my trap, "Mom," she hissed.

Mwahahaha.  So there, girl-child of mine.
Dignity, always dignity.  I won after all.

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