“Maggie, if you’re going to grow your hair out, you need to keep it brushed,” Mom said.
“It hurts when you brush it,” Maggie said. “I’ll brush it.”
“You’re only brushing the top layer of hair,” Mom said. She reached for the brush. “Let me do it. It’s all knotted up underneath.”
Maggie hugged the brush to her chest and turned sideways so that her shoulder shielded the brush. “No. I can do it,” Maggie said.
“Maggie, if you don’t keep your hair neat and tidy, things will nest in it,” Mom said. She reached out again.
Maggie pulled her shoulder in closer and hunched over the brush. “No. I can do it. Let me do it,” she said.
Mom dropped her hand and sighed. “If the knots get too tight, we may have to cut your hair.”
“It’s my hair and I want it long,” Maggie said. “I want princess hair.”
“Then let me brush it for you,” Mom said.
“No,” Maggie said.
“I’ll let you try for now, but I’m going to brush through your hair before your bath tonight. If you do a good job of brushing it now, there won’t be any knots for the brush to catch on later,” Mom said.
“Okay,” Maggie said. But she didn’t brush her hair. She hid the hairbrush under her bed and went outside to play. She crawled under bushes and rolled somersaults across the grass. She stuck leaves and flowers into the knots of her hair and pretended to be a queen.
When it was time for dinner, she hid under the table and grabbed at her mom’s ankles when she walked past. She stuck her silverware into her hair. “Look, no hands,” she said.
“Please sit down and put your silverware at your place,” Mom said. “It’s time to eat.”
“Use your fork,” her dad said. “Spaghetti isn’t finger food. Go get something to wipe your hands.”
“I’m fine,” Maggie said. She wiped her hands on her hair.
“Next time use a paper towel, Maggie,” Dad said.
After dinner, Maggie rolled herself into a blanket. “It’s time for a bath,” Mom said. “Where’s the brush?”
“I can’t talk now,” Maggie said. “I’m in a cocoon. I guess I’ll have to wait to take a bath until I’m ready to hatch out. Maybe next week.”
“Humans don’t need cocoons,” Mom said.
“Then I’m a burrito,” Maggie said. “Burritos don’t have hair.”
“Come on out,” Mom said. “I have an extra brush in the bathroom.” She grabbed the edge of the blanket and gently rolled Maggie out of the blanket.
“That’s cheating,” Maggie said. She stomped into the bathroom. She tried to close the door, but Mom caught it and held it open.
“Maggie, that’s enough,” she said. “I’ll get the brush and you can sit in front of the couch. I’ll brush your hair while you watch a show.”
“Forest Fairy Princess Bunnies?” Maggie asked.
“Sure,” Mom said.
Maggie sat in front of the couch and her mom started her favorite cartoon. Her mom started to brush out her hair. It hurt a little. “Ouch,” she said. “Mom, what kinds of things would nest in my hair if I didn’t brush it?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Mom said. “Birds, small animals, fairies, nightmares, poisonous mushrooms, that sort of thing.”
“That would be nice,” Maggie said. “Ouch. Stop brushing my hair. I want the fairies to live there.”
“They’d be awfully heavy. They’d want to move their furniture in too. You wouldn’t be able to lift your head up,” Mom said. She kept brushing. She sprayed something on Maggie’s hair and the brush slid through the hair a little easier.
“I wouldn’t mind. I’d keep the furniture and put it in my dollhouse,” Maggie said.
“The fairies wouldn’t want to live in the dollhouse,” Mom said. “They’d move all the furniture back out.”
“Where do they live now?” Maggie asked.
“Probably with the bunnies,” Mom said.
“Would the bunnies miss them if they left to live in my hair?” Maggie asked.
“I think so,” Mom said.
“Oh,” Maggie said. “Are you almost done?”
“Yes, almost,” Mom said.
“Almost almost,” Mom said.
“It’s going to take a long time, isn’t it?” Maggie said.
“Yes,” Mom said. And it did.