It’s 5:30 a.m. Mama enters the ring. She stretches the pink ponytail holder at her wrist, loosening it up.
Jordan plays in her crib, not bothering to look up. Wild dark and knotted curls cover her face and neck like a beekeeper’s mask might.
“Here’s the deal, Kiddo,” says Mama. “This ponytail holder is going in that hair. That’s the way it is.”
Jordan gurgles under her breath a message only Mama can understand. “I don’t think so, Mama. My hair is wild and free. It’s unique just like me. And I like it down.”
“Big talk for a little girl,” Mama counters. “But, you can’t see two inches in front of your face to play or defend yourself from the other kids. Most importantly, everyone knows all Moms are judged by their children’s appearance. I have 90 pounds on you. This. Is. Happening…”
“Oh, Mother. Let’s not kid ourselves,” Jordan sets down her toy cellphone and peers up at Mama from underneath her mane. “Your weight advantage is no match for my Floppy Fish maneuver. That’s right. I’ll flail, I may even scream. My unpredictable thrashing will make me seem twice my weight. And we both know you’ll spend as much energy trying to protect me from myself as you will on the task at hand.”
“Enough talk!” Mama steps forward. “Maybe you didn’t smell the kale, spinach and other Superfood on my breath. Yep, I’ve had my green juice this morning which is not only shedding your baby weight, but arming me with enough nutrition to be on my tip top game this morning. Pull out your pad and pencil, Sister. Mama’s ‘bout to show you how it’s done!”
Jordan sighs and pulls herself up to her feet. She steps with the right foot, then the left. Leaning against the bars, she looks like a tiny sumo wrestler. “Alright, Mama. I see trying to reason with you is a futile exercise. I’m ready. Let’s do this…”