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Bear has hair.  Not just wispy little bits of hair that you would expect to find on a thirteen month-old, but long, ringlets of hair that she can pull into her mouth from either side and from the top of her head.    When I had an ultrasound at 37 weeks to determine if I was having a giant baby (I was), we could see clumps of hair floating around her upside-down head.

For the most part, Bear wears her hair like it’s her crowning glory.  She plays with it.  She pulls on it.  She runs her fingers through it before she falls asleep.  And, it does bring her quite a bit of attention.  Strangers will walk up to us in stores to comment on her hair (and the fact that she is pretty darn cute besides). 

But, it does cause us some difficulty.  With the exception of her curls, her hair is very much like my own:  thick, light reddish-brown, and unruly.  Other children at daycare pull on it, because they haven’t learned not to yet.  I occasionally experience jealous comments from other moms with very cute but bald babies, and Bear has to suffer through my clumsy attempts every morning to pull her hair into a pony tail on the top of her head.  Then, she has to suffer again through my attempts to take it down every night.  She also is easy fodder for bored daycare workers looking for a “doll” to play with, like the day she came home with six pony tails sprouting in different directions all over her head.  She looked like one of those creepy doll heads from my childhood that enabled little girls to practice make-up and hairstyles on something other than their dogs and little brothers.  Try explaining to a one year-old why you are ripping out hair after tangled hair in an attempt to remove six rubber bands from her head?

Aside from our daily torturous hairstyling sessions, Bear gets her hair washed every other day or so.  I have tried every method that I can think of to wash her hair without it ending in screaming and tears (hers and mine).  I’ve held her shoulders and head and slowly lowered her into the water.  This results in her flailing about and of course, crying.  I’ve tried using the specially-made bucket with a lip, but she now cowers at the sight of it.  When using it, she flings her head forward after I have dumped the water causing a lot of water to pour back down her face and into her eyes, obviously achieving the opposite effect than what was intended.  I’ve even made attempts at distraction and entertainment by maniacally singing made-up songs in hopes that she will stop wailing and look at me like I’m crazy.  Unfortunately, nothing seems to result in an effortless shampoo.

I have seen pictures and videos of a young me running around with huge tangles and ratted clumps on the back of my head.  It was not that my mother didn’t take care of me.  She tried mightily, I have no doubt.  But, I am realizing that just as Bear has inherited my light reddish-brown hair, she also has inherited my will (and tender head).  I went through a period where I refused to allow anyone to brush my hair, because it hurt.  At the time, I had no way of appreciating my mother’s efforts to make me look presentable, but as I attempt to maintain my little daughter’s hair, I am quickly learning that it is no small feat.  Someday, when she looks at pictures of herself and asks, “Mom, why did you let me run around with the hair of a wild woman?”  I will respond, “Just wait…”


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