All about hair

by Louise

My family has become a little hair obsessed. I found a local barber shop that does a great job of DS’s hair. DS is now quite happy with his hair and is actually using a brush and looking in the mirror before he heads out. DD and I spent time looking at updos for dance. I had to practice using YouTube and I ended up with a mini salon. Combs, hair pins, hair spray, donut (for updo). I hope I have mastered how to do her hair and the updo doesn’t fall down as she dances. DH is trying out hair color and sometimes the color comes out more red than black. Then in a panic he rushes to a professional for a color fix. I am wondering whether to get a haircut and shake up my hair style.

Totebaggers what hairy tales or advice do you have. Any products that you like ? Discuss!

188 thoughts on “All about hair

  1. Fred – My boys told DH “Even if you were a superhero, you’d still be bald, Dad.” Ouch!

  2. One of my boys decided to cut his hair right before Christmas. Just lopped off a few pieces that were bothering him. Luckily he has crazy thick hair and didn’t go too far so it wasn’t all that noticeable. I remember doing the same thing at his age. And so does DH. Is that a 2nd -3rd grade stage most kids go through?

  3. Hair has been an almost 40 year source of terribleness for me. I have tons of hair. It is a big project every day. One of my greatest joys is that none of kids inherited my hair. They all got my husband’s which is nice, thick but not crazy and straight. I am happy to see that Darwin is winning.

  4. ATM – My 3rd-grade DD cut her own hair in early December to get rid of some long bangs that were in her eyes, AFTER I had told her that she would have to leave them alone if she wanted to grow out the bangs. So I took her in for a haircut to even things out, only to learn that they could not cut her hair that day because she had LICE! I them spent 3 hours doing the nit-comb treatment, and H was able to get her hair cut a few days later before the holiday band concert. I THINK she might have learned her lesson about keeping it brushed too, because I had to cut a few chunks out when I couldn’t get the comb through.

  5. Ugh… I had a bored 4 year old take off some huge pieces on Christmas Eve. It was kind of hilarious, and we had it pixiefied at the local cheap hair place a few days later (where the lady yelled at both my daughter and me). Then she cut the bangs shorter a few days later – I think she kind of enjoyed the fuss the first haircut brought her. So, now she is less cute pixie and more mangy chihuahua.

  6. ATM – I remember cutting bangs in 7th grade and then trying to hide it from my mother by using a lot of hair product to slick my hair back. I think I managed to hide it for a few weeks before I was discovered (and why I thought I would get in trouble at that age is beyond me). My sisters both woke up early when they were 5 and 3 and cut their hair, all of our towels and a lot of our stuffed animals. I remember my mother crying about my youngest sister’s hair (she had beautiful long curly hair) and she had chopped it to her shoulders with one strand of long curl remaining in the back. My mom took her to get a bob (the only thing to do) and when she went to nursery school that Monday none of the other kids recognized her. So far no self hair cuts for my kids and crossing my fingers that it stays that way.

    My oldest has terrible hair (it’s dry and fine with several cowlicks). I’ve tried dozens of products trying to find a solution and my MIL sent her some Wen for Kids conditioner which I used for the first time the other night and it actually looks half decent now. I may splurge and buy the shampoo for her. My younger two have beautiful thick soft hair (which my oldest will someday be mad about I’m sure).

  7. DD and I are disagreeing a little on her hair. She has a few friends who are on the goth/emo edge (as standard suburban kids go, that is) who have done dramatic cuts and/or jazzy colors, and she wants to do something off-beat, like a dramatically-styled cut, or a funky dye. But then she bails and says she wants a boring dark red, and I tell her hair always grows back and color doesn’t count unless it’s electric blue (or some other appropriately neon color). So we’re negotiating something, probably for her birthday present in May.

    DS is also starting to be interested in gels and stuff. Though his interest appears to focus on figuring out how to make the “bedhead” look last all day.

    Me, I am thrilled to be in low-maintenance mode. Long hair + sufficient grey to provide texture = add gel, let it dry, brush it out. Plus going to see my guy about every two months, and visiting Ms. Clairol every 4-5 months when the color fades and the grey gets too prominent.

    DH is starting to join the Fred brigade, but slowly. He calls it a “fivehead.” He is happy to go to the Korean barbershop down the street every month or two and call it good.

  8. SWVA Mom – October 2012 is forever remembered as Lice month in our house. Both boys got it twice! I feel your pain.

    Atlanta – when I was in second grade I put my very long, curly hair in a ponytail and cut off the ponytail. Instant bob. My mom was NOT pleased. In third grade, I got a perm. My teacher did not recognize me. My mom recently posted those photos (which I did not know still existed) to Facebook. /s/ Thanks Mom! /s/ In college, after a break-up I decided to go blond. 4 boxes of Clairol’s later, after determining that peach was not my color, I used henna and went red. That was bout the time of my brother’s wedding. Again, Mom was not pleased.

    I have tried all sorts of hair cuts – super short (people at work thought I was coming out), super long and everything in between. I have crazy thick but fine hair with a slight curl to it so it frizzes easily. Hair struggles are just part of my everyday.

    Fun topic Louise!

  9. I should take DS for a haircut now, as in this very minute, but I’m putting it off.

    He has straight thick black hair, and serious sensory issues. For three years I cut it while he slept, because when I tried to take him to a salon he lost it. It didn’t matter how nice the person was, if there were videos or lollipops, if he got to sit in a chair shaped like Lightning McQueen or a boat. He just lost it. He says the cut hair itches and gets in his mouth.

    At the end of the summer I decided that this was one of the things he had to learn to tolerate, and brought him to Supercuts where they held him down and buzzed it while he screamed.

    They got a big tip. He’s still mad about it.

    Now it’s long again, so I started cutting it myself the other day and he was not happy or cooperative.

    I have to take him back to the salon. Half the hair on the back of his neck is short and half is still a mullet.

    If I could go get a root canal instead, I would.

  10. Laura – Last year DH asked to get clippers and that I cut his hair. Setting 1 all over. Super easy. He’s been balding since I met him and decided super short was the way to go. We have had a few mishaps when I forgot to switch the setting (sorry, hon), but DH is a good sport. It’s just hair.

  11. Dh cuts his hair and my son’s hair and does a great job. I sent DH to my hair stylist before Christmas last year for a real hair cut and neither of us liked it as much as when he does it himself. DH has amazing hair and luckily my younger two have his hair. My oldest has a worse version of mine. I’m so low maintenance with hair, I get it cut every quarter and usually go to work with wet hair (which I only wash every two or three days). My hair is currently longer than it’s ever been so the waviness actually works. I may try the Wen stuff my MIL bought my oldest. I’ve been using natural shampoos for the past year and have not been happy. I tried to use Morrocco Method (which is like mud shampoo) but I just couldn’t take my hair looking greasy for more than a few weeks (supposedly a detox period). Luckily that stuff really works for DH’s hair because it was expensive and so he uses all of the shampoos I bought.

  12. One of my great surprises about having boys was how often they have to get their hair cut. Both of them have great hair, but I have to take them about every 6 weeks or they look really shaggy. I have very low maintenance hair so this has been a surprise for me.

    I hated my hair growing up. HATED it. So much angst about the fact that I couldn’t do anything with it. Blonde, baby fine, stick straight. But it’s so easy now, I’m not greying, it looks cute any where from chin length to shoulder length so I can go a while between cuts – generally at least 12 weeks. In the winter I have a few highlights put in, but in the summer the sun bleaches it out easily.

  13. SKY – My son went through something very similar and of course he takes after me and has a ton of hair. We found a guy that would come to our home to cut hair. A thousand times better than the scenes at the barber/kids haircut place/salons we had tried before. Maybe there’s a similar service near you?

  14. At around 4, my oldest decided her long curly hair was bothering her and cut off bangs and some in the back. Then, at around 5, my youngest took the clipping shears we used for the fair animals and gave himself a reverse mohawk. So far, the middlest hasn’t done anything wild with her hair, but she’s 14, so i have hope.

    DH is mostly gray and in desperate need of a haircut. He is mostly gray with a mostly full head of curly hair. I hate the guy he goes to and have been begging for him to go somewhere else.

    My daughters haven’t tried hair color yet. Apparently I have told too many stories about being in color and people trying all manner of colors. One of my SILs ended up with maroon hair, I had a streak of green. Apparently funky hair colors are what the oldsters did.

  15. My boys cut each other’s hair when they were younger, too. They were pretending they were detectives and they needed the hair for DNA analysis. The barber got a chuckle out of that. DH is bald and has been since his late teens. Oldest DS is following in his foot steps. At his request, we started Rogaine after consults with the pediatrician and the dermatologist, but it’s been at least a year, year and half and he’s still losing his hair. I think he’s just accepted it now. Not sure if or when youngest DS will have that problem. They both have (had) really thick, dark hair. DD has beautiful blond, thick straight hair that she trims a couple of times a year. She doesn’t style it or straighten it, just goes to bed with it wet from the shower. DH and the boys have been going to the same barbershop since boys were infants. Oldest DS refuses to go anywhere else. For years, he would not sit in the barber chair by himself – he insisted on sitting on DH’s lap.

    I’ve been thinking about my hair, too, specifically how much I’m spending every 5 weeks. I’m very happy with it and I get a lot of compliments but it’s not cheap. And now I have a small gray patch grows faster than the rest of my hair. UGH!

  16. Sky – ditto on the haircut issue. My kid would not tolerate a haircut from ages 2-3, but now, as an almost-four year old, it is starting to get better. I will lose my Totebag Cred here, but access to my iPhone during the cut + promises of lunch at McDonald’s after if he cooperated pretty much handled it.

    I wonder how many half-cookies and dessert tomatoes it takes to make up for this strategy? :)

  17. I just got my hair cut yesterday. It’s become a more expensive experience because I have to color it every 4 or 5 months. I’m just starting to get a few grays so it is a new experience for me. I’ve never had a color treatments before. I did have some crazy perms in the 80s when big hair was the style. DD thinks my college graduation photo is hysterical.

    I inherited hair through my dad and this is a bad thing. His mother and several of my great aunts have male pattern baldness. Luckily, my older female cousins warned me and I use Rogaine. It doesn’t work for other types of female hair loss, but it works if it is definitely an inherited type of male pattern. I feel fortunate that I caught it so early so it’s not an issue for me now.

    I think DD has inherited hair from DH. That would be great because it’s thick and he still has a lot of hair. He’s just starting to go more gray so I think it makes him look older. I’m just sharing that fact with all of you.

    DD has long hair and this was nasty during the lice phase. Those lice ladies are smart because they charge for their time instead of just by treatment.

  18. Greeneyes – we tried lollipops, videos and a game at the toy/kid’s salon (!), all to no avail for one of mine. We resort to “incentives” all the time – not sure I have an Totebag cred left.

    Sky – this is just a stage and it will get better.

  19. @Sky: if it’s the itchiness that bugs him, can you go ATM’s route: put it in a ponytail, then cut off the ponytail? Instant Prince Valiant! :-)

    @ATM: DH can’t quite do the clippers, because he needs it a little longer on top than underneath; he has this awesome thick hair with just a little bit of a wave in it, and he needs enough length for that to show (luckily, the kids inherited his instead of mine).

    Speaking of hair, early-marriage mistake: DH has this little cowlick in front that makes an awesome little curl; with his puppy-dog brown eyes, it’s just knee-melting (think John Belushi in the tunnel begging Carrie Fisher not to shoot him). When we were just married, I made the mistake of calling it “cute” (instead of, say, “devastatingly handsome”). So for the past 20 years, the instant he sees the curl begin to reappear, he concludes that his hair is too long and goes directly to the barber. Sigh.

  20. Fun! My hair gets shorter every time I get it cut. I like long hair in concept but not on me because it makes my face look too thin. Covering the gray is exhausting but I am not willing to concede yet so I get highlights every 6 weeks. Older DD has great hair, wavy and thick. Gets cut 2-3 times a year. Younger DD, bless her, has my fine stick-straight hair. She likes it long but wears a ponytail every day. We recently dyed it bright blue from about halfway down. I think it looks dreadful but she loves it. Her older sister was appalled. I reminded her of her blue hair the other day when she told me (referring to her 11 year old classmates) that wearing leggings is “unprofessional.” DH recently started going to a new place and I really like the job they do. He goes every 3-4 weeks.

  21. I was not allowed to have long hair when I was young, and I remember putting my about chin-length hair in pigtails, and cutting off all of the leftover that wouldn’t fit in the hair bands! I hid it for a while but my mom eventually discovered the missing hair and took me to a guy to fix it – I think he was French and he freaked out when he saw the back of my head – I can still remember his shock and horror – Sacre bleu, etc. Why did they have to make such a big deal?

    I was known to cut off Barbie doll’s hair as well – I think it all stems from not being able to have long hair.

    Now my hair is thinning and I am freaking out!!

  22. Lauren, is it correct that Rogaine only works if your hair is thinning along the part? Mine is a little thinner all over, and especially right at the front corner.

  23. Senior year of high school, this girl I was close with and really liked told me that my stringy/fine/thin hair looked much better in the short, combed straight forward, little bit of gel, then slightly tousled look. I’ve been doing some form of that ever since, but I’ve since switched to a very dry, non-greasy “wax” from American Crew and use the tiniest bit. It thickens and texturizes it.

    However, in the past couple of weeks, I’ve switched to a rough part and combing to the side. (Combing with my fingers of course; I never use a comb or brush). I like it because it can be longer this way without looking like I’m hungover. I’m able to extend haircut intervals from about 2.5 to 4 weeks.

  24. From the “circle of life” files: I had baby fine hair, when this was the “in” look: Many, many hours with curling irons and product, all resulting in abject failure.

    DD has hair that sort of naturally goes like this (though not quite as “big”/wild): But now the style is this:

    So she is constantly hating her hair, and I am growling because I would have *killed* to have her hair, and she totally didn’t get it. I finally had the idea to have her google this as the icon of female hair when I was her age:

    Now she gets it. She laughs hysterically, but at least she gets it.

  25. I am so thankful that DD prefers her hair short and isn’t involved in dance, because there is no way on this planet I could produce any kind of updo!!

  26. So funny – just last night, DSD, who cut her own hair last week, took the scissors to DD’s hair. They were both delighted w/ the results. Today at work, my hair is in a messy bun, tied with the clear elastics that DD uses for horse manes at shows. We are clearly not on the picky end of the continuum.

  27. My DD is infamous for the fact that when she was 3, she gave herself what was essentially a buzzcut with a pair of blunt preschool scissors. None of us could ever figure out how she managed that. I called the lady who was cutting our hair back then, and she kind of laughed and said “oh, all little girls cut their hair at one point or another – I am used to fixing the damage”. But when I brought DD in, the haircutter’s eyes got really big, and then she said “that is the worst case I have ever seen”.

    Since then DD has kept her hair in a pixie cut

  28. How is it that some of you are going 4 to 5 months between color? Even when I was younger, I had to redo it every 5 weeks or so, else it would just become blah and icky. Now, with my hair graying, I have to do it every 3 weeks, 4 max, because gray roots just look terrible. I have started to notice too, how many women out there have very noticeable gray roots.

  29. I don’t care what kids do to their hair – color it, buzz it, whatevs. It grows back. So far, none of them has tested this out in any permanent way, though the Young Ladies have done plenty of Jell-O powder home coloring treatments, and after DSD donated 12 in to Locks of Love, I treated her to an hombre coloring. DS got a block M shaved into the back of his one summer when he was about 10 but that’s as crazy as he’s gone. DSD sometimes steps it up and uses box treatments from Walgreen. Her hair is dark and thisk and gorgeous an me she almost can’t go wrong. DD has what my sister refers to as “Peter Frampton hair” (blond and thin and stringy) so she can definitely go wrong, and the Jell-O takes forever to come out of her hair.

  30. DH had long hair (to his shoulders) in college but cut it off before I met him – the kids find pictures of him back then so hilarious. It worked for him because he has beautiful hair, but I hate long hair on men. I broke up with my high school boyfriend towards the end of junior year of college when he was growing his hair out (which looked terrible, he had wavy coarse hair and boy did I hate it) and right after we broke up he buzzed it and looked cute again (so irritating).

  31. LfB – my hair is just like your daughter’s (or, just like that picture). I have hated it every day of my life except when I had a Brazilian blowout and it looked much closer to the picture below. Sadly, Brazilian blowouts will kill you, so I stopped getting them.

  32. All in my family have lots of hair. Mine used to be straight but over the years developed some curl. When I was a teen I wanted curly hair and had my hair lightly permed twice. I have been highlighting my hair since my mid twenties, so I have lost all my Totebag points there. I have stayed with my stylist since I moved down here and I trust her with my hair color. I don’t think DD will do anything radical with her hair, given that she is in dance.
    My DS was born with a full head of hair. It was very unusual and he had to have his first haircut before he was a year old. I really like the barber’s shop for his hair. They are not fancy at all but do a much better job of boy’s and men’s hair than the kid salon or Supercut type places.

  33. I bit the bullet and took him – empty kids’ salon + very patient stylist = he was upset but no tears or screaming. She did have to buzz it because we couldn’t trust him not to move, but the half-mullet is gone!

    He is happily playing with his rubber duckie prize and eating McNuggets (Totebag points deduction, I know).

    Lauren, would love to meet up. CoC has my contact info.

  34. ssk – my sister had some thinning hair a few years ago and I think she started adding chia seeds to smoothies and food and she said it really helped. I think her hair loss was hormonal though (maybe from being on the pill too long).

  35. Atlanta – I have just the opposite taste. I really do not care for buzzcuts on men (or women or boys or dogs or cats). I especially detest it when bald guys shave their heads. They all look friggin’ the same to me. I cannot tell one shaved head dude from another. Give me hair on my men!

  36. “I especially detest it when bald guys shave their heads.”

    What would you have them do?

  37. My oldest takes after my side of the family in hair. He has this gorgeous, wavy, thick hair – masses and masses of it. He loves it too. He loves getting haircuts, he loves fussing with it. He has had the same hairdo since he was 6. It is longish, parted in the middle, no bangs. He chose that haircut – before then, he had the classic little boy haircut. He wanted a new haircut for first grade, so I showed him some photos of different boy haircuts, and he saw the one he still sports and said, “that’s it”. And he has never changed.

    My middle kid was cursed with his father’s hair – thin, limp, dirty blonde. He wants my oldest’s hair so badly. He tries to grow his hair longish, but it looks so bad, all scraggly. So haircuts have become a real battle.

  38. Milo, I prefer the combover. Guys all get bald in different ways, so if they keep with it, I can at least tell them apart.

  39. As kids, all of us were fascinated when people had not a hair out of place. That looked suspicious to us and we would take bets on whether any of us had the courage to go and give the hair a tug to see whether it was fake. One of my teachers had hair like this and my friends were always in the should we tug it or not mode. We now laugh about this when we get together.

  40. I have been getting highlights for about 15 years and used to go 3-4 months, longer in the summer when I was able to get some natural sun highlights. However, now that I’m getting more gray, I need to go about every 2 months. I have it all one length, no bangs, ranging from just above to just below my shoulders. Shorter makes me look chubby in the face and longer just gets stringy. I had one perm as a teenager when that was the in look, but it looked terrible on me. Before that, maybe age 11-12, I had a very short cut – will never do that again. I occasionally toy with the idea of cutting bangs, but then I remember how hard it was to grow that out. (My hairdresser says to buy some clip-in bangs if I want to try out the style.) I have never colored my hair without a professional. I love how my hair looks when I go to the trouble to curl it, but it takes too much product for the curl to hold so that is very rare. My current favorite product is Perfect Hair Day (PhD) 5 in 1 Styling Treatment by Living Proof. I discovered it in a sample from Sephora and just recently splurged for a whole bottle. It doesn’t take much just to keep my hair from getting frizzy & fly-away, so I think it will last a long time.

    One thing I cannot do is go out in public without washing my hair. I just feel dirty and greasy all day if I don’t wash my hair in the morning, especially if I have done any sort of exercise. Dry shampoo does not help. If I’m taking a shower, I’m washing my hair.

  41. “How is it that some of you are going 4 to 5 months between color”

    I use a demi-permanent, so it fades instead of creating roots (I *detest* the big white root line, but I am way too lazy to worry about timely touch-ups). It’s supposed to fade after @6 weeks, but it seems to stick around longer on me, don’t know why.

    I also just don’t dye some of the grey. I’m gonna be 50 soon, and normal 50-year-olds have some grey hair; I just don’t like how *much* (too much grey + vampire skin = washed out). Plus I’ve had a Cruella de Ville streak since long before I met Ms. Clairol, and it would seem weird to dye it.

    But in any event, the result is a softer demarcation between “fresh” color and “old” color — I start out with “mostly brown with a little grey,” and then over a few months fade to “eh, more grey than brown.” And then I get annoyed at what I look like and do it again.

  42. When I was in college and grad school, I usually dyed my hair fire engine red, deep burgundy or purple. I had spiked, punk-rocker hair, not uber short. At one point, I decided to go totally Siouxsie Sioux and dyed my hair black. It looked great, but I had to wear full makeup all the time because I am very pale. That was such a pain that I went back to a red shade. I have a meal plan photo ID from that period that I keep in my wallet to remind myself of an earlier life

    The hairdo, as sported on the original Siouxsie

  43. “Milo, I prefer the combover. Guys all get bald in different ways, so if they keep with it, I can at least tell them apart.”

    I agree that there’s no reason to shave it with a straight razor (“Q-ball it”); in a way, that’s also kind of like pretending that you’re not physiologically bald. But a combover looks terrible. Also, for the sideburns, or whatever you have on top, it should be cropped very short.

    My Dad has the bald spot and significant thinning on the front. It looks much, much better when everything is trimmed short than when he waits too long between haircuts.

  44. Atlanta – thanks for the tip! I think mine may be hormonal too, as I have pretty much gone through “the change” (what a weird expression!).

  45. Laura – your daughter’s hair sounds amazing!

    Risley – I agree, I don’t really care what they do with their hair. My daughter wanted it a bright purple but I said no just because to get the color she wanted she would have to bleach her hair white and then apply the color over and then guess who is on the hook for keeping up with those roots and color touch ups?! There is nothing sadder than those orange/purple headed kids who’s color is washing out but they haven’t fixed it. I let her cut it short and dye it a dark plum. When she wants to pay $100 every six weeks to do the roots and color she can have it!

    Cat, I too have a lot of hair. Think Maria Shriver level of hair but blonde and mid back length and frizzy, frizzy, frizzy. Mostly keep it up in a bun. The best thing I ever did was buy this hair dryer. It is a little pricey but my hairdresser was able to get it for me at a discount and I can honestly say life changing. I can dry my hair in 15 minutes and it is beautiful and sleek and straight. People ask me if I went to the dry bar. Truly cannot say enough good things about it!

  46. My little brother was cursed to go bald early. All the men on both sides of the family had started balding in their late teens. So when he was in high school, which happened to be during the grunge era, plus he was always the Birkenstock-wearing, Phish/Dead-head, outdoorsy type anyway, he grew a long ponytail. My parents did not complain, figuring he should enjoy it while he had it. Now he keeps it trimmed close to his head and wears hats to cover the bald top.

  47. Ack! Louise! Lady Di wings!

    Do you remember the legions of girls with the Farah wings variant?

  48. Those amazing late 70’s do’s were because of advances in hair technologies. Yes, I now have a blowdryer and I can make wings in my hair!

  49. Think Maria Shriver level of hair

    The Kennedy’s must have some super powerful hair gene. It must have come down from Rose, who had a thick mane of hair will into her 100s. It certainly wasn’t from Joe:

  50. Sky, do you think maybe a Flowbee might work better for your DS? My cousin used to use one for his DS and gave it positive reviews, even though his DW liked to make jokes about it.

  51. I have hair like Lark – blond, baby fine, stick straight. I found that if I have long layers, it looks thicker. I also dye my hair 2-3x per year. My hairs has been browning since I was ~13, and in college I decided to highlight it to keep it a golden tone. I’ve stuck with that ever since. Because I highlight, I can go longer between dye jobs, and my hair naturally lightens in the summer. So, I have that trendy hombre look without trying (seriously, my hair is about 3 different colors right now). I’ve been going gray for 10 years and it’s wirey witchy hair. Great…

    DH has thick dark hair. He was once a blondie. He’s also going bald on top, but the sides remain thick. So he gets clippered on the sides and scissors on top to keep it all even. He likes to say that whatever hair he’s losing is going to DS.

    DS has translucent hair (Ivy can attest). It’s gotten a little thicker since Ivy met him, but not much. For a while, all his hair was on top, with little wisps on the back, now the back seems to be filling in. I’m pretty confident DS will be a blond hair blue eyed punk until about 8 years old… then his hair will darken and he’ll be the dark haired blue eyed combo that’s devastatingly handsome (and probably look just like DH).

    I never did anything crazy with my hair, except a loose perm (more wave than curl) in 9th grade. Holy crap, why did my mom let me do that!?

  52. I am able to go for a while without color because I just started to go gray. It’s so few that my hair guy calls it a manicure for hair. He just colors those strands. The number increased since I started to notice gray, but I could still get away with no color. I wonder if that’s inherited because both of my parents are still not very gray.

    SSK, I’m not sure, but mine was the part and in the back. You can have someone look at the back of your head because you might not even know. I was about 35 when I started to use product and my derm confirmed for me. It doesn’t work for everyone and you really have to use it everyday but you could try. You can get generic at Costco or CVS and it’s much cheaper.

  53. “I’m pretty confident DS will be a blond hair blue eyed punk until about 8 years old… then his hair will darken and he’ll be the dark haired blue eyed combo that’s devastatingly handsome”


  54. I shave my head weekly. DS has a mohawk that I maintain for him. Occasionally he has DW dye the strip. DD wants long hair but is not good about brushing, so we had to chop it off a few months ago because it was a massive know. It’s growing back and she’s better about brushing. It still has some red left over from the last time DW dyed it. DW just gets a basic cut every couple of months.

  55. In the home country, there were not a lot of man made hair products BUT everyone experimented with home made hair products (now called natural). So I have used henna, natural oils and raw egg (that was not good, the egg scrambled in my hair with hot water).

  56. My husband has amazing hair. It’s got the texture and fullness of JFK Jr.’s hair. But what does he do with it? He keeps it buzz-cut length, because he says that’s more comfortable, especially when he exercises (he exercises a lot). It is such a waste!

    My DD has pale blonde hair. She says she wants to color it when she grows up, since all her best friends have brown hair. That would be a waste, too — her current color is the kind of blonde that many women spend all kinds of money to achieve. Maybe she’ll end up changing her mind.

    I have naturally curvy-to-wavy hair. I went through a phase when I wanted straight hair, but now I like my waves. However, I have waged a lifelong battle with extreme frizz. A couple of years ago, I started getting every-other-month keratin treatments at the salon, which has helped. It’s some sort of formula that is supposed to be much better health-wise than the full-on Brazilian or Japanese treatments.

    I started getting gray hairs when I was 24, so I have been coloring my hair half my life. I do it myself, from a kit from the drugstore, once a month. I get a shade that is a couple of shades lighter than my natural shade (which is medium brown), and it comes out OK.

  57. I stopped coloring my hair when the degree of gray required 2 plus hours at the salon every four weeks and every three weeks would have been better. DH encouraged me (we were not yet married). I was also at the respected expert stage of professional life so employment was not affected, but only 52 years old IIRC. The hair was silver, not mousey, so women thought I looked great, but the change in my treatment by men and by the average person was radical and sudden. It was a blow to my vanity.

    I know that my previously wild and thick hair (Janis Joplin) has thinned and the view from above likely reveals a pink scalp. I use Aveda hair thickening regimen. Winter is tough because I need the natural curl in more humid weather to give my cut some body and interest. My daughters go to the curly hair specialists. My granddaughters have wispy straight hair.

  58. “his interest appears to focus on figuring out how to make the “bedhead” look last all day.”

    Your DS would envy my DS; he’s got this down. He showers just before bed, then just runs his fingers through his hair, and goes to sleep with his hair still wet.

    He likes this look, even when he’s wearing a suit or tux. It does save him time getting ready for school in the morning.

    Remembering back to when he was about 7 and didn’t care what his hair looked like, I remember going to a class once and DW was telling him to brush his tousled hair, but he couldn’t be bothered. When we got to the class, I noticed that nearly all of the other boys in the class had similarly tousled, just out of bed looks.

  59. Rio and I have discussed before how we are hair twins. I don’t love my hair, but I do receive compliments all the time about how thick it is. Someone recently told me that you’ll never hear someone say, “I love how thin your hair is”, so I’m working on trying to appreciate what I have to work with. When I get it cut my gal thins so much of it off that she tells me she has clients who would cry if they saw how much of it is left on the salon floor. I’m intrigued with the hairdryer Moxie posted. I’m always changing out the products I use, bu never thought about changing the hairdryer. I started graying after I had DD#1, so I dye my hair every 8 weeks. Both my children are blessed with my thick hair. Brushing their hair is a daily struggle, but I refuse to force a short cut on them (when I was little I was forced to have a mushroom cut for years).

    I’m not loyal to hairstylists. I typically will ask to see one of the cheaper stylists. I hate when they get promotions and increase their rates. I feel like I should be grandfathered in at the lower rate. Once their price reaches a certain point, I bail on them, and find a cheaper one.

  60. “tousled, just out of bed looks”

    I have a 20-something kid who still maintains that look. Oy vey. I would like to take both my kids to hair stylists to get their hair styled. They like to go their own way, which IMO does not impress employers.

    I would love to find a way to get more body in my hairstyle; lord knows I keep trying different products.

  61. Louise, excellent timing on this subject. It reminded me that I need a haircut, so I called my ‘stylist’ and found out he had a cancellation at lunchtime today.

    My hair is probably the biggest clue in my appearance to my age. It’s grayed a lot (DW and I were recently looking at some family photos from a trip about 6 years ago, and it jumped out at me how much less gray I was), and I now have approximately a 4.4 head, which is accentuated by my combing my hair back.

    A former boss used to say he had no sympathy for any guy who complained about graying, since that meant he had hair.

  62. Lemon, I hate to sound like a shill for the hairdryer but really it is magic. I’ve tried all the anti frizz gels and treatements etc.. This dryer and some Moroccan oil is all I use now. After watching and watching my stylist dry my hair it occurred to me that the difference wasn’t the brush or the technique but the dryer – ask you stylist and see if they’ll get one for you cheaper at the supply shop!

  63. “They like to go their own way, which IMO does not impress employers. ”

    Perhaps one thing that might get DS to comb, and maybe even gel, his hair would be to make a positive impression with anyone associated with admissions in the colleges he’s interested in attending.

  64. ” I would love to find a way to get more body in my hairstyle; lord knows I keep trying different products.”

    How about a humidifier?

    DW hated what the low humidity in heated spaces did to her hair; it made it limp and frizzy. But now that we’re here and she doesn’t have that problem, she gets it straightened so it hangs limply, rather than its more natural state of being full of body.

  65. CoC, it isn’t that I *like* combovers, it is just that they aren’t as bad as the genericness of a shaved head.

  66. how many women out there have very noticeable gray roots.

    I had a meeting every weeks for years with a women with gray roots. She would have her hair colored and then the next week you’d notice the roots. Week 1 – no grey roots. Week 2 – a little gray, Week 3, yet more gray, etc. Until she’d get it colored again. It was the first thing I noticed when I sat down across from her. It was especially jarring when she’d miss her appointment and the roots would blow past their usual 1/4″ stage.

  67. Meme, I don’t know if you have a similar style now, but I liked your hair. I thought it was a great cut/style on you.

    Moxie, thanks for the blowdryer tip. I am going to put it on my Amazon wish list because my blowdryer from drybar is not great. I can use any blowdryer this time of year when it is so dry, but I need a new dryer when it starts to get humid in the spring/summer. The warm weather on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day 2015 will never be forgotten in my family photos because it was so humid that week. My hair was reacting as if it was in DC in August.

  68. Do those women with gray roots think we don’t notice, or do they just not care?

    Humidity either saps any body out of my hair and makes it hang even more limply, or it brings out the frizzies.

  69. BTW, the main reason I don’t dye my hair is that I would be the one with inch-long gray roots. I have to force myself to make time to go the hairstylist, and I wait much too long between cuts.

  70. One thing DW likes about living here is that she doesn’t have to deal with the effects of massive seasonal humidity swings on her hair.

  71. Mooshi, I’ve seen a lot of guys do the variant of that with the ponytail hanging down. Unfortunately, those ponytails are usually quite scraggly and, IMO, not a good look. I agree that it looks much better as a topknot.

  72. I do lowlights, so even when I’ve just been to the salon have some gray in the mix, but it’s never a sharp line of demarcation between gray and not-gray at the roots.

    My daughter’s blue streak in her hair has faded almost entirely away so she’s been asking me to help her re-dye it with the spare dye the original stylist gave her.

  73. I spend an hour every four weeks getting my gray covered. I’ve been gradually lightening my color with the goal that I will stop coloring and let the gray take over by the time I’m 60. The lighter color makes the roots less obvious.
    Like Meme, I am not looking forwRd to the reactions of others once I go completely gray.

  74. My hair is dry, thick, and curly/frizzy. I get it relaxed at a salon every 6 months, but dye it at home. I use regular shampoo, but put a few drops of olive oil in my conditioner. It really helps if you have dry hair.

    DH has wonderful hair–straight, and not too thick or too thin. DS1 has too-thick hair (like me), but it’s straight and runs oily. DS2 has thinner hair, but it’s curly. Not the best combination, but he just keeps it very short.

  75. The bad news? Market is down again today.

    The good news? Powerball is up to $700 million.

  76. I let my hair go entirely gray a few years ago, and as Mémé says, women like it and men suddenly act like I’m their grandma. Oh well. DH likes it, and that’s important to me. I was always letting the roots show and I didn’t realize how bad it looked til I saw a photo. Then I just gave up.

  77. Why? What’s the rush?

    And how much is that? If you take the lump sum, you might be looking at $250M after taxes. Wouldn’t you be spending 10% of that on a plane? That’d be like the NFL rookie getting a Range Rover.

  78. I like to fly, but I don’t like private jets. I am a wimp. It seems like there are more accidents vs. the commercial airlines.

  79. I have extremely thin, straight hair. I wear it above my ears, longish in the back and have bangs, because thin hair just falls as it may (and I refuse to use “product”). Although thin, happily, all the hair I had, I seem to still have. It has gone about 50% gray, but nobody (including me) seems to notice because I had very light brown/blondish hair and it seems to be the same color.

    My beard, however, comes in quite a bit darker and whiter in places. My face looks like a brown-haired zebra.

    Among other things, I could not care less.

  80. Last night, I was watching a show on HGTV about lottery winners looking for their new house. This older, male couple in NY/NJ had won a prize of $1,000 per day for the rest of your life. They looked at two older, really nice estate’y homes on big lots for about $1.6M, but ultimately decided they were too big, too expensive. One was the next-door neighbor to Thomas Edison’s estate.

    They ultimately bought a new construction that had presumably replaced a teardown in a middle-class suburban neighborhood 1.5 miles from where they currently lived. They upgraded from their very well maintained rambler that was maybe 1600 sf to a new box-shaped new house around 3,000 sf.

    They’re certainly practical.

  81. Lauren, Christmas was the worst! Its usually a great hair day for me, but not this year!

    Meme – I don’t ever intend to have age appropriate hair. I’m pretty relaxed on everything else, but oh do I love my hair!

    I will be purchasing one Powerball ticket. If I don’t get one my chances are zero, if I do it is statistical zero but I get to imagine. I like the idea of becoming a philanthropist.

  82. PTM,

    Lincoln is unveiling the production version of the Continental at the Detroit Auto Show next week.

  83. A few months ago, both DH and I were trying to style DS’s hair to our satisfaction. We would both wield different brushes, ask DS to stand still while we dried his hair. It was a friendly hairy tussle. DS was amused by both his parents playing tug of war with his hair. I realized that both of us were trying to hang on to our little but now big boy literally by his hair.

  84. We didn’t even buy a Powerball ticket for last night because DH said it was too much $. He says he’d rather win a lower profile jackpot so he’ll play when it’s $10 million again.

  85. DH cuts his hair short almost buzz which I think looks very good on him! Of my time on my appearance, I spend most of it on my hair! Before it was dry, frizzy, wavy and so thick it was hard to style, now it’s still dry, frizzy wavy, 50% grey, thinning, and still hard to style. I also have a big odd shaped head so that also poses styling problems.

    I do weekly oil and conditioning to keep it in decent shape. I also need to wash it every other day.

    My current problem is that hair grows really fast and I have to do roots every coule of weeks. I have naturally very dark to black hair and the 50% grey roots show right away. I am thinking of going blonde so that the roots won’t stand out so much. A good professional hair dryer along with a good round mix bristle brush makes for a good blow dry.

  86. Rhett, will you lend me your private jet to get to the Detroit Auto Show next week?

  87. PTM,

    I’ll even have them build a parade car version for when you’re the mayor of The Villages.

    A modern version of this:

  88. Rhett, ignoring it’s history, you have to admit, that is a beautiful car!

  89. I have thick curly hair and had one great decade, in the 80s, when my hair’s natural behavior was in fashion (In high school in the 70s, I was Hermione Granger in the world of Marcia Brady). I’ve had it short, long, fried it with a flat iron, and spent the better part of my 30s in a ponytail. I recently made a drastic change and went with a pixie cut, which DH loves and so do I. But I pulled out a picture of my family when I was 5 years old and said oh my, I have that same haircut now!

  90. Apparently, MC millionaires also buy a lot of high-end timeshares, only they don’t realize it because they call them “destination clubs.”

  91. “Lincoln is unveiling the production version of the Continental at the Detroit Auto Show next week.”

    I think we should all agree that if any one of us wins the $700MM, the first thing we do is buy one for PTM.

  92. Milo, is this book you’re reading / listening to a “What Not to Do” type?

  93. No, not at all!

    It’s Middle Class Millionaire by Prince and Schiff.

    At times, they come across a little like the guys on 4am infomercials about achieving your dreams through real estate investments with no money down other than a $500 fee for the seminar.

    Other times, it’s so repetitive, it’s like a college student who finished his 10-page paper in six pages and has been trying to fill space.

  94. Maybe consider leaving it unfinished. To paraphrase my grandfather, it’s bad enough you had to pay for it, you shouldn’t have to read it too.

  95. Thanks, LfB. The Continental along with a shiny pair of Marco Rubio Beatles Boots. ($145 at Florshiem.)

  96. I was a teenager in the 70s and I still think all men should have hair like David Cassidy circa 1973.

  97. “Maybe consider leaving it unfinished. To paraphrase my grandfather, it’s bad enough you had to pay for it, you shouldn’t have to read it too.”

    Its replacement has not yet arrived in the mail.

  98. I started going gray in high school and it stayed a small patch till my early 30’s. I started dying it (Clairol medium brown, monthly, at the gray spot) at 35. I’m interested in the genetics of when you go gray. One great grandmother (grandfather’s mother) never went gray and died in her 90’s. My paternal grandmother (different X chromosome) was gray at 35. My aunt (who got the great grandmother’s X chromosome) isn’t very gray yet at 75, nor are her daughters, who are in their 50’s. My female cousin (definitely got paternal grandmother’s X chromosome, since her Dad is my Dad’s brother) said she, too, had to start dying her hair in her late 30’s, like me.

    Anyway, we enjoy discussing which gene we got at family reunions, because we either go gray in our 30’s or never.

  99. PTM,

    The boots! I hadn’t realized Rubio was so short. He looks like Howard Wollowitz with his lifts.

  100. If one of us wins, we should fly the other totebaggers to Detroit. The auto show would be a good spot for a totebag meet up since it involves one of our favorite topics, and Detroit is mid country (sort of).

  101. Lauren,

    I wonder how totebag lottery winners fare?

    There was a story a while back when a partner in a big Boston money management firm won the lottery. I never heard anything about it after so I assume nothing exciting happened.

  102. I guess it depends on how much money the totebagger wins in the lottery. We all know on the Totebag that a million is the new middle class. I made sure that I participated in all of the group lottery ticket purchases when I sat on the trading desk because I didn’t want to be one person that was stuck in the office when the rest of my team was sitting on a beach.

  103. WCE – FIL has a good amount of hair for his age, but it’s as white as Santa Claus’, and has been ever since I met him, when he was not quite 50. Before I learned details, I just assumed he was considerably older. Now BIL has a lot of gray in his mid-30’s.

    In an incredible coincidence, #3 performed a self-haircut today. It looks ridiculous when it’s combed forward, but it’s cute when brushed to the side. Oh well. When #1 did this, DW called me at work in tears. This time she’s much more blasé.

  104. WCE, my mom is not gray at 88. She has never dyed her hair. DH’s mom was completely gray at 24. I’m not gray yet, but DH has been since his early 40s. It will be interesting to watch it play out in our kids. In other news, two of our sons’ hair turned from stick straight to very curly when they hit puberty. It was a very strange, but I guess genetic?

  105. “This time she’s much more blasé.”

    Welcome to the parents of the 3rd kid club!

  106. I started developing a stray gray hair here and there a handful of years ago, but it really seems to have accelerated in the last year or so. I’m not sure if it’s just the fact that I’m moving closer to mid-30s, the hormone changes during and after pregnancy, or both. My sister, who is only 18 months younger than me, does not have any gray.

    My hair is thin and fine and very mousey, so I’ve been getting partial highlights for at least 10 years, every 6 to 12 weeks or so–I get them as close to my natural color as possible, just in a warmer tone, so it minimizes the obviousness of the roots as it grows out. But I also have accepted that I am never going to have amazing hair, and am mostly just going for moderately socially acceptable. Pretty sure Baby June has inherited my hair type as she is still basically bald.

    My husband started balding in high school and was cutting his hair super short by the time we met. He started shaving his head completely (with a razor) shortly after we got married and hasn’t looked back. Personally, I prefer it to a comb-over. :)

  107. June, when I met my DH we were in college and he was already going bald. I like to joke that I knew what I was getting when I married him. I have several friends who are now having to come to terms with their husband’s thinning hair.

  108. HM, I don’t know what the cutoffs will be, but I’m pretty sure that NMSF includes the top 0.5% of high school seniors in each state, not the top 1% that take the test. In the Midwestern states, it used to be that a smaller and more competitive subset of students took the PSAT than on the coasts, but the cutoff scores were tiered similarly.

  109. I’ve got long, stick- straight hair, and while it’s very fine, I have a lot of it. My current “style”, if I want it to look nice, involves showering at night and quickly running through it with a straightener in the morning. When I am at home with the kids, it is in a ponytail 90% of the time.

    I’he been highlighting it since my mid-20s to hide some gray around my part. In a strange twist, my mother and I started going gray at the same time (and she is 30 years older than me!).

  110. I was a towhead well into my 20s. I approximate that now with highlights, though I’ve been experimenting with that at home. Since I am light getting lighter, I think it is a pretty simple process, and the roots aren’t obvious. I have become convinced that no woman over thirty has great natural blonde hair.

    DH has dark hair, and the children appear to have ended up with a mousy mix. They at least will be able to do with it whatever they want – my hair was always so precious that I couldn’t color it, cut it etc. By the time I was old enough to make those choices, blue hair would have had consequences, so, I’ve never got to play with color the way I would have liked. Ah, the tragedy.

  111. Ada, I don’t think that grey hair is on the X chromosome- that’s just the only one where, for some people, we know who has which, in the “talk about it at family reunion” sense. When one’s hair turns gray is likely to be affected by multiple SNP’s.

  112. According to, about 16,000 of 1.5M test takers, about 1.07%, ” the highest scoring entrants in each state,” that become NMSF.

    HM, your DS is fortunate to have had a chance to take it as a soph. When I was in HS, we just had one shot. I’ve talked to parents of recent NMSF who did not do well as sophs, which was a wakeup call to study for the test when it counted.

  113. Finn, it’s true that NMSF are the highest scoring entrants in each state. But states like Iowa, home of the ACT, have more than 1% of PSAT test takers get NMSF status. I’m pretty sure that the number of NMSF in each state is related to the number of seniors, not the number of PSAT test takers.

  114. “I’ve talked to parents of recent NMSF who did not do well as sophs, which was a wakeup call to study for the test when it counted.”

    Interesting. That’s contrary to advice I would follow. If a kid usually scores in the top 5% of standardized tests, including the NMSF he takes as a sophomore, it’s worth prepping for the real NMSF test to help gain a few points to make the cut-off. Test prep doesn’t usually make a difference in lifting poor or mediocre test-takers to the NMSF level. There are exceptions, of course.

    I’d be curious to learn more about Lauren’s case mentioned upthread. How much improvement did $5,000 worth of tutoring produce? On average, test prep produces about 30 pts total SAT improvement.according to reports I’ve seen.

    BTW, many if not most prep companies assess new customers with a simulated SAT/ACT test, not the real thing. This allows them to claim improvement that is questionable. IOW, their simulated test may be harder than an actual SAT.

  115. Of course, I should realize that “did not do well as sophs” in Finn’s comment may mean the student only scored in the top 5% and not in the top 1%. :)

  116. @CoC — we were joking with DS about this yesterday — his first set of state test scores came back (PARCC?). He pegged it in reading, but “only” got 833 (out of 850) in math. So I went into faux-tiger-parent mode. Then I realized he was actually *upset* about not doing as well in math, so I had to stop joking and reassure him that he did great (and that the test isn’t graded and doesn’t matter anyway, etc,). Yeah, this is the kid I do not worry about. . . .

  117. @WCE — in our family, it’s my dad’s side. We all have that Black Irish coloring, with the dark hair, pale skin, and bright blue eyes (though, alas, those also fade — but my baby pics were awesome!). I think the eyes and skin tone come from my grandfather, but the hair is direct from Granny, who was completely grey by 35. My dad went grey more slowly, and I’m somewhere in between the two of them. Meanwhile, my mom is honey blond and still has less grey than I do (did I mention she’s taller and skinnier, too?).

    It’s funny, I always thought I was prematurely grey, because I never saw any women my age with any grey. It was only about 5 years ago that I realized, duh, most women dye it. I’m still definitely on the earlier end (first grey hair in college), but don’t think I’m quite as far out of the norm as I thought I was. :-)

  118. I wonder if there are studies about whether kids that have been in private schools struggle more with the format of standardized tests because they don’t take as many during the 13 years in school. A kid from a public school starts to sit for long standardized tests in 3rd grade, and then moves on to subject matter tests in high school.

    CoC – I can ask my friend about the percentage of increase. I am not sure why she went this route, but I personally thought it was a waste of money. I know this kid, and she is in 3 APs, very bright and she probably could have just sat through a group test prep class in the summer. This mom was trying to increase her confidence, and I think she spent the money on a private tutor because it was grandma’s and she can afford it. The reason that I think it isn’t worth the extra $ is that this kid is not going to apply to any of the top 30 schools. The reality is that coming out of a district like mine, in this part of the country – she can’t get in even with great grades. She needs amazing grades and scores, so that’s why I think it was a waste of money and time. She is going to end up applying to the same 8 colleges that she would have applied to without the private SAT tutoring.

  119. “Of course, I should realize that “did not do well as sophs” in Finn’s comment may mean the student only scored in the top 5% and not in the top 1%. :)”
    That’s what I was thinking Finn meant.
    To lose all of my already tenuous Totebag cred, we didn’t know scores were out until I looked at this thread this morning, and have just spent 15 minutes unsuccessfully trying to access DS’s scores online. He has gone to school unaware of whether or not he is a failure for life.

  120. Anecdata here, but my youngest who was a very late academic bloomer did not make the high MA NMSF cutoff in 1999 by a fair amount on the PSAT taken in junior year, mostly on the verbal side. Math was acceptably high. (I was only vaguely aware at that time that colleges recruited with money based on NMSF – I only knew that the National Merit Scholar award for the tippy top scorers or the corporate winners was fairly small potatoes, so we used PSAT only for its ancient purpose – to get a handle on where the SAT’s might come out) I called a friend who is a test tutor to ask him to take him on, and he said, just buy him a book. If he’s motivated he’ll do it himself. I purchased a selection of books, he picked one, made up flash cards himself and we drilled for a while on vocab and analogies. He raised his verbal score 120 points, his math went up a bit too without any formal drill. He never had issues with test taking, which is the usual focus of test prep. He just lacked knowledge. His grades were still choppy overall for high school even though he finished strong, but the final scores and the way he got there (as well as being captain of the science team even though he was not elite college bound like his sisters) helped him to recast his self image as smart as well as popular and affected his expectations for his whole life.

  121. I just realized we totally forgot to check DS’s PSAT scores last night! He was so busy – he has a boatload of assignments that all seem to be due on Monday.

  122. I confess to feeling very much at sea when all this test taking is mentioned on the Totebag. It is a learning experience for me because I have not taken these tests myself. I wonder how hard they can be.
    I also feel worried because I am parent in charge and DH doesn’t handle the academics.
    The good thing is that the school staff at my kids school has thus far been very good at answering my questions and they have a good reputation for college prep.

  123. Just had a haircut last night – I am slowly morphing from Claire Underwood into a short bob. :) I had worried that it is thinning but my hairdresser says I am just paranoid – I have v fine hair but it is reasonably thick (knock on wood). My mom and grandma both had/have really thin hair so I am hoping to hang on to more of mine as I get older. I don’t dye it yet – too much effort and I only have one grey hair that I can see so far. I anticipate going blonder with highlights to cover grey (I have medium brown right now) before going all grey.

    DH comes across blond but his hair is actually brown (he was blond as a child). His hair just starting thinning/greying (he is 40) but much slower than his heritage and his brother, luckily.

    #1 child has my hair – blond/bald as baby and now sandy colored. #2 is slightly lighter and thicker, and #3 has had china doll hair, quite blonde, VERY cute. I am sad now bc #3’s hair is darkening up and I anticipate that she will have brown hair by the time she is 8-10, and then I kick myself for worrying about her hair color.

  124. Louise, the local library will have a zillion PSAT and SAT prep books, and there’s stuff online (though I like the books, personally) and you can flip through those to get a sense of what they’re like.

  125. My husband is getting very gray but with really thick nice hair, it looks nice on him. I’ve had one or two grays so far but nothing major. Our kids have all ended up with the same mousy brown hair color.

    Before DH met me he apparently told his mother that he would never even date a girl with brown eyes (his are green) and much to his disappointment, our kids all have brown eyes. He told me I pi**ed in his gene pool.:)

  126. “I confess to feeling very much at sea ”

    This is an interesting expression and implication.

  127. I just returned from an all-school meeting. We talk on this site about crazy parents whose kids are special snowflakes and all the extreme helicopter parenting, and of course you read about them media articles, etc., but I don’t know, I always had this vague impression it was more of a caricature more than a real thing. Or there might be some people like that here and there but it wasn’t really an overwhelming culture. And I guess I also thought that maybe even if it was a thing like 5 years ago, there’s been so much coverage of the negative implications of it that the pendulum is starting to swing back.

    Oh my gosh. I am stunned. I couldn’t believe some of the things coming out of parents mouths today. How is this possible? Do these people even hear themselves? And the other parents around them nodding, as if they were speaking the Gospel Truth.

    I feel like I need to go take a shower.

  128. @Lark — No fair — you must give details! Examples!

    I do have one mom friend who reminds me that stereotypes can be based in reality (e.g., worrying because they were “only” working one year ahead in math — in first grade; following behind/under her perfectly capable 8-yr-old on the rubber-matted playground to catch any falls; etc.). Is funny.

  129. “My genetics skills are really rusty, but why do you think grey hair is on the X chromosome?”

    I don’t know about gray hair but I always heard baldness comes from the X chromosome

  130. Lark – Examples, please, definitely.

    At the neighborhood Santa Claus visit, DW was talking to this other Mom of an only-child daughter, a preschooler, who was relating her very deep fears about the public school. For what it’s worth, the elem. school is very highly rated. Anyway, this woman was saying how she tried to schedule an interview with the principal and whoever would be assigned as her DD’s K teacher to get a feel for their educational philosophies to determine if the school would be a good fit. She was horrified that the principal basically told her that we don’t do that, and took this as an indication that the school was not up to standards.

  131. It was a general, all-school meeting about academics and schedule for next year. There are going to be some major changes to class schedules and academic offerings, and this was a meeting to present that. It affects all grades and school divisions (lower/middle/upper), so it was meant to be a bird’s eye view of the changes, and the reasons behind them. Along with the academic changes, school will get out later on some, but not all days.

    Examples of questions and I swear to God I am not making them up:
    -My daughter takes riding lessons. Have you called the area barns to coordinate the school times with their lesson offerings? [Why yes, because the school’s priority should be the riding schedule of horse obsessed middle schoolers.]
    -Do all colleges factor in grades from art and drama in calculating GPAs? [Um, what? I think this parent was in the wrong meeting.]
    -We live 20 minutes away. But depending on when we leave for school, it can take us 30 minutes some days. Did you study traffic patterns in the morning to see how this would affect our commute?

    I would say 50% of the questions focused on big picture, asking for clarity on overall goals, how things would be measured & evaluated, what impact would be on certain offerings, etc.. And 50% were super family specific, so focused just on nuances of THAT family’s out-of-school schedule and how the changes might affect them in obscure ways. I was very surprised at the breakdown.

  132. Lark, it must be regional ’cause I have the opposite sense. People talk about admissions and Mr WCE mentions two children of the dozenish people in his group went to West Point and Harvard the same year. Tell your friends to rent a PO box on an Indian reservation for college admissions purposes during senior year.

  133. “Did you study traffic patterns in the morning to see how this would affect our commute?”

    From my one time attending the meeting of the pool bondholders, I decided that many of these types of questions are really just loosely disguised forms of bitching. At the very least, they already know the answer.

  134. @ WCE you mean you have the sense there is a lot of helicopter parenting? Or it not?

    I honestly thought it was one of those “trends” the NYTimes covers but isn’t really a thing in smaller and more rural places. But apparently even in our laid back, small community, it is alive and well.

  135. The other priceless moment was when a parent commented on how hard it is to drop off a middle schooler and a lower schooler in the mornings, because it’s hard to get in and out of both lines timely. People all around her nodded emphatically, and there were comments on how you have to “drive around” and it’s inconvenient.

    Lower school and middle school drop off are 50 feet apart. I am not kidding. Yes, it would be really hard to do both because of traffic flow, but for the love of all that is good and holy, WHY WOULD YOU. Let both kids out at once. In the same place. At one time. They can get out of the car, and go in different directions. I would never, ever in a million years consider 2 drop offs, and yet apparently it is a Thing. A Thing that causes angst and inconvenience to the dropping of parent, and still continues to be a Thing. And because I don’t do morning drop off, I had no idea.

  136. Concerning prepping for the SAT. Here is what we are doing. DD has downloaded an app that each day gives her an SAT vocabulary word and a math problem. She also has a prep book, but to my knowledge has not opened it. Washington & Lee students (average SAT score 1415) volunteer to meet one on one with high school juniors and seniors to help them prep for the test. DD has signed up for that as well. I have not even looked at her PSAT scores yet, but she told me that she is happy with them. She is more concerned with the AP Chemistry test that she will taking in the spring. Can anyone give me any insight to that? It is the teacher’s first year teaching the class and all the kids are worried that they are not learning what they need to.

  137. Sheep–over on College Confidential, the kids recommend the Princeton Review prep book for AP Chem. with some recommending Barron’s.
    I’d go to Barnes and Noble some day and spend some time flipping through them/-that should give her a feel for what she should be learning and which book she likes better.
    The College Board website also has a lot of material, but that can be overwhelming.

  138. Lark, I don’t feel like my colleagues helicopter parent. I think that they wound up sitting on my floor because they are naturally good at filling in bubbles, and they have children who are naturally good at filling in bubbles, too. Some people have adopted children, and to my knowledge, none of the adopted children are good at filling in bubbles. My statistician/German literature friend whose son was the high scorer for the area (possibly the state) had around a 2.0 GPA because he didn’t want to do homework. Her attitude is, “It often takes a while for boys to wake up,” and he got a job as a cook on the historic tall sailing ships in the Pacific NW. Mr WCE sailed one night on it and said that the son did not actually know how to cook yet, so apparently “culinary skill” wasn’t part of the hiring criteria.

  139. Benefits Lawyer-Thanks. She looked at the prep books at B&N recently, but wasn’t sure which one was the best. Based on your recommendation, I am going to order her the Princeton Review.

  140. “Have you called the area barns to coordinate the school times with their lesson offerings?”


    “Lower school and middle school drop off are 50 feet apart.”

    And we wonder where people like MMM come from — talk about the Haxian “wow.”

    Then again, are we sure CPS isn’t sitting on the corner watching for those unsupervised kids whose unfeeling negligent parents leave them on their own for 50′?

  141. Sheep – This is probably a dumb question, and CoC should also correct me if I’m wrong, but if she doesn’t feel confident about the AP Chem exam, why bother taking it?

  142. Milo, I had to take AP exam if I took course in my HS. That was many years ago, but I’m almost positive the policy is the same in my district now.

    Either drop out of AP into a regular science class by end of first quarter, or take AP class and sit for exam.

  143. At my kids’ school, the AP exams serve as the final exam classes for those classes.

    The exams are usually in early May, which I don’t understand. I’d prefer them to be in late May, giving the kids an extra few weeks of classes. As it is, kids who load up on AP classes are mostly done with school a few weeks early.

  144. Sheep, DS took AP Chem last year. I got him a copy of the Barron’s prep book that was a couple years old for a dollar at the school’s carnival, and he spent some time with that during spring break, and did well on the test.

    He, and many of the kids in that class, also took the SAT subject test the same month, which made a lot of sense to me. Given that your DD is taking it now suggests to me that she is likely to be considering colleges that require subject tests, she should consider that also.

  145. Oops, that last sentence came out a bit garbled.

    Given that your DD is now taking AP Chem suggests to me that she is likely to be considering colleges that require subject tests. Given that, she should consider taking the SAT subject test for chemistry this May.

  146. Lark– I’m late, but that is insane. We have the same conversations here about drop offs at elementary and middle schools, but those schools are 1.5 to 3 miles apart!

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