Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mohawks and Mad Grandmas

Let me preface this post by saying I have permission to share the story.

My friend, Linda, is one of the most open-minded people I know. She has an eclectic group of friends, including mountain climbers, Pentecostal preachers, and Broadway actors. (She once had a walk-on role in Rent.) She is just as likely to invite me to a drag queen show as she is to a Band of Brothers marathon on the History Channel. Acceptance of others is at the core of her belief system.

Linda's daughter and grandson live with her. Since Linda's daughter split up with her son's father, they share custody. It's complicated because the father moved back to New Jersey, and she still lives here. Everyone is amicable, and they shuttle the boy back and forth at regular intervals. The other set of grandparents are Jewish, and they want their grandson to learn Hebrew. Linda loved the idea and decided she would learn with him. With the help of boy's father, she set up a chart of basic English to Hebrew words. She's excited to learn, and subsequently, even I know one or two Hebrew words.

All was well. We are the World. Kum-ba-ya and all that.

Then they messed with the baby's hair.

During his last visit to New Jersey, Linda's grandson got a haircut. It wasn't his first haircut. He's two now. No big deal, right? Wrong. For some bizarre reason, the other grandma thought a mohawk would be cute. She didn't ask either of the baby's parents. She just went and did it...a for-real, shaved on both sides, spiked tall in the middle mohawk. On a two year old.

Oh. My. God. Linda had a cow. For a week at school, she ranted about that poor baby's hair. She sent me pictures on email. She laid awake at night fretting about it. When her grandson returned to Kentucky, they discovered his hair was shaved so close on the sides he would be bald if they shaved off the middle. So they've kept it combed down until the sides grow out, but Linda says he looks like baby Hitler with that one strip of hair combed straight forward.

I discovered the limit to my friend's acceptance lies on her grandson's head. She's still teaching the Hebrew words, but she's added one phrase that wasn't previously there.

Allah Akbar.

When she told me this, my eyes got wide and I almost fell out of my chair. "NO! You didn't!"

Linda waved her hand dismissively. "The baby's father and grandpa will think it's hilarious."

"Are you sure?"

"They've both got a great sense of humor."

"Okay..." I was dubious. "What about grandma?"

Linda got an evil glint in her eye I've never seen before. "Oh she won't like it at all."

Don't mess with the grandbaby's hair.

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