Things I didn't expect about parenthood, #713: I am now spending more time and money on my four-year-old daughter's hair care than on my own.

Here's the deal: she has my husband's hair.

Well, not exactly. His is coarse and super-curly (think Jonah Hill, or Jeff Goldblum, or pretty much every other Jewish guy you can name).

When he was little, he rocked the 'fro, but now that he works for the Man, he keeps his hair clipped so short that you can't tell it's curly and can barely tell it's hair.

Clearly, this was not an option for the girl.

For Year one of her life, she was bald, and life was good.

For Years Two and Three, she had superfine, honey-colored curls that grew in one direction only: up.

Rather than have her go through toddlerhood looking like Eraserhead, we kept her hair short, which worked out fine, except that she was refused to tolerate barrettes or bows and, thus, was routinely mistaken for a boy. Even while wearing pink. Even while wearing pink dresses. Even while wearing pink dresses with the word "PRINCESS" emblazoned across the chest in gold glitter.

Go figure.

So, for Year Four, we've been trying to grow it, hoping the curls would drop.

Results have been mixed...and seasonal.

At the beach, whether it's the humidity or the salt air or the proximity to people who say "wicked" with no irony whatsoever, her hair behaves itself. With very little prompting, her curls form themselves into sassy, shiny, Shirley Temple ringlets.

It is supercute.

It is, sadly, not happening in the city.

Here, instead of curls, we get kinks...and frizz, and knots, and tangles, and split ends, that twist themselves into odd, wormlike protrusions that stick out from her scalp at strange angles.

I have tried leave-in conditioner. I have tried kiddie detangler. I have deployed the entire John Frieda Frizz-Ease line (serum, spray, gel, finishing creme, et al) with little noticeable effect.

"We have to do something," my husband said. "She looks like Coolio." (I actually think she looks kind of like Anne Lamott).

So this morning, on the recommendation of one of my curly-haired friends, I went over here bought the Curly Girl how-to book, plus "no-poo" shampoo, conditioner, gel and something called "Mist-er Right," which bills itself as an "herbal cleansing tonic and hair freshener," and is claims to be useful for reviving curls post-workout, post-beach, or post-smoking. Gah!

The grand total? Well, let's just say it's more than I spent on hair products for the first dozens years of my life.

This stuff better work.

Jen