For months now, we’ve been fighting alongside our daughter Zoe, six, in her Battle Against Her Hair Wave. Every desperate plea of “I want it like Clara ‘ff ‘Doctor Who’!” has had my wife slapping me with looks like this is all my fault. Sugar water, hair tongs, steam iron: still that curly steel girder’s imposed itself across her forehead, a coiled spring, symbolising the futility of all human endeavour. We hid the scissors, in case we ever broke.
This week, everything’s changed. Zoe’s teacher, Miss Donoghue, has – Zoe told us in a whisper – ‘allopishy’, and has started wearing a headscarf to school. Zoe knows this isn’t the same as Mrs Shambhani’s headscarf, and frankly, it frightens her. She won’t let us near her hair. She sleeps with her hands folded over her head, which we’re hoping is only a phase. The wave forces its way through her fingers, triumphantly.