How in holy hey hey hey do you make a bun?
This is the question I posed to my sister, Emily.
Three weeks out from my daughter’s first dance recital and I was panicking.
They never teach you this stuff at mom school. By stuff I mean hair. By mom school I mean it doesn’t exist.
By hair I mean I can’t ‘do’ hair. I can sort of do my own. I don’t braid. I do purchase an unforgivable number of headbands for my little headband-loving miss, who wears headbands to bed at night.
I can’t do Laila’s hair…well. It’s a tragedy. She has awesome hair! I should be looping fishbone braids around her head by now! Except I can hardly make a bun. Thus why I called my sister, a ballerina for many years, for advice. We had a dance recital to attend!
This is the advice she gave for a toddler bun:
1. Your child shall have wet hair
2. You shall gel the #$%^ out of it.
3. Pull into high pony tail that is 10 times tighter than you think it should be.
(I must add, make sure child is occupied with cookies, video game, cartoon, something interesting so she doesn’t flail and scream).
4. Twist hair, secure all around base with bobby pins in a kind of cross hatch way if that makes sense.
Fork in the road for bun:
Later, I was advised by my friend Khina, to divide pony tail hair into sections, twist and pin one section at a time. She learned this from You Tube after Googling “How to make a bun on a toddler.”
5. Go to at minimum three stores looking for hairnets the morning of the recital. Start sweating as you envision fly-aways. Find hairnets at Walgreens. Hug cashier, speed home with glint in eye. Say out loud, “You killed my daughter’s bun. Prepare to die.” Put hairnet over bun. Twist it around a few times.
6. And lastly, you shall Aquanet the #$%^ out of that !#@%. Hey Ozone layer, #$%^ you.
7. Wine and/or yoga retreat.
Bun and done!
I made two just awful, shameful buns before my third turned out. That’s OK! One was for the pictures taken at Laila’s studio – the back was the travesty, but you couldn’t see it. For her ballet dress rehearsal, the back of her hair fell down. Slo-mo deep voice NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Finally, on my third bun attempt, for her performance, the bun worked.
But oh my goodness, the make-up! No one ever told me how to put stage make-up on a 4-year-old. I got to the dress rehearsal and another mom had a make-up tackle box. She had an actual tackle box, one used for fishing, but instead full of make-up for a girl who looked 5. THANKFULLY. Because I had to borrow Q-tips.
While I lacked a stage make-up tackle box, I had years of musical theater experience of my own from which to draw knowledge. I’m talking pancake foundation. I’m talking spirit gum. Pile it on. You may notice your child is starting to look like a French whore. That’s good. More blush, more blush. Max Factor. YEAH. You are my canvas, darling! Now sit still.
“MOM this is BORING! I’m BORED.”
“Ok, baby. Almost done. Almost done. Look at the ceiling. Nonononononononono don’t smoosh your eyes closed. Nonononono open open.”
Laila squished her face and ruined her eye make-up 10,000 times.
It was…like putting make-up on a 4-year-old.
The recital and performance occupied my entire weekend. It was wonderful and horrifying.
Once I got her ready and sat in the audience with my pal for the dress rehearsal, it felt like the first time I had relaxed all week. All month. And I felt like my Mom, which I liked. I realized how much work she put into all of our childhood rando artistic pursuits. And then how nice it was to sit back and watch. I just got it. Oh how I love it when I connect with my not alive mother.
Then, the morning of Laila’s performance, I turned into nightmare stage mother, barking random tasks at husband while sweating the bun, the make-up, the costume. Oh how I love it when I connect with my not alive mother.
And again, we got there, I sat down in the audience, and, total relaxation. This was just goofy. The ups and downs. THE DRAMA. I loved it…
My pal Khina’s daughter, Holland, is in Laila’s dance class. They were the tulips of Amsterdam, appropriately, since Holland is indeed named Holland.
Somehow they ended up stage center together. Laila sort of followed the taller, older and more with-it girl next to her. Holland came alive! She was doing the dance, her own thing, the dance. She fed off of the audience energy. It was possibly the cutest thing I ever did see. Holland owned the auditorium. Laila was just along for the ride.
And then it was over.
We all went out for pizza. And wine. I’m contemplating hip hop or soccer for next year.
Here is some drama from the day: