We're so frazzled we're pulling our hair out! For me, that's just a figure of speech, but for Maya, who comforts herself by sucking her thumb and twirling her hair, it's all too literal.
As you can see in the pictures below, she has twisted off half of her hair. The worst of the damage was done in just the last couple of weeks, though it's been thin on that side for a month or more (brought on by preschool?). And before that it was thin on the other side.
Let's emphasize that she is a remarkable kid. She's extremely articulate for a three year old, really strong, and incredibly creative. She's full of joy, sweetness, and, um, a clever spunk that is constantly entertaining. In light of all of that, this is a tiny problem.
I just don't know what to do about it. According to several mommy bulletin boards on the web, there are other many parents dealing with kids who suck their thumbs and twirl their hair... off.
The options seem to be:
1. Cut her hair really short, so that she has nothing to twirl. By the time it grows back, she'll be over it. (her curls, where she has them, are so cute though!).
2. Make her stop sucking her thumb. (really? it's her only real comfort/attachment issue, and she only does it when sleepy.)
3. Keep her hair pulled up and wait for her to grow out of it (she rips ponytails and clips out all the time, only contributing to the problem!).
4. Get her to twirl some thing else, a stuffed animal tail, doll's hair, or frayed blanket edge.
This last one seems easy enough. I've tried getting her to bond with an old corn-silk cabbage patch doll I had, but that went no where fast. Today she snuggled with a fuzzy puppy she got for her birthday, which worked better.
Joe is wiling to just let her grow out of it, but that seems a little too hands off, given that she's going bald.
It is heartbreaking, though. I have gently let her know that she should stop pulling out her hair, but she just looks up at me with those big eyes and says, "but I really like to do it, and my hair is still pretty."
And when she sees a man with thinning hair, she sometimes asks, "did he twist his hair off too, mama."
Gulp. I don't want to give her a complex!
So I'll just offer her fuzzy toys and blankets when she watches TV, rides in the car, and right before bed (the only two times she pulls on it). I'll keep her hair back as much as possible... and I'll try not to make it an issue that she gets concerned about.
Gems worth Re-Reading
About Growing Baby Doing Good Together Elliot Rose Family Rituals Fie Flora and Fauna For the Love of Learning Greenish In My Opinion Just for Laughs Just for Me Making Tinkles Maya Mindfulness Mmm... So Tastey NaNoWriMo News of the Day Noveling Photo Friday Sewing Sisterly Love Sweet Dreams The Chicken Ladies the end Tonsils We like to Move It Move It Wonderment