Monday, November 13, 2006

(Mostly) Happily Replaced by a Decapitated Barbie

My little Pigtail Sprite, 2, and her sleep-enhancing fistful of doll hairs.

"Women! What can you say? Who made 'em? God must have been a &*$#@! genius. The hair ... They say the hair is everything, you know. Have you ever buried your nose in a mountain of curls ... just wanted to go to sleep forever?" -- Lt. Col. Frank Slade (Al Pacino), in the movie Scent of a Woman.

My overly kid pawed hair follicles can finally rest easy. Maybe even relax deeply, as if lavishly VO5 hot oil conditioned for hours on end. Thank God I won't have to shave my head bald after all.

(Hey! No, I do not have head lice.)

Break out the champagne. It's official: My hair is (almost) no longer required by anyone but me, its rightful owner, thankfully since as far back as I can remember. Starting tonight, my 2-year-old daughter's all but replaced my mane, her fluffy, longtime human security blanket, with a decapitated Barbie ... of all people ... um ... things.

Actually, the synthetic mop topped, eerily symmetrical, fossil fuel derived head is technically known as the Barbie Princess Rapunzel hairstyling head. But tonight, for my deep snoozing Pigtail Sprite, it might as well be mommy's warm, midlength, almost blonde hair.

My hair. The hair Pigtail Sprite begs on the brink of breakdown to press between her tiny fingers before naptime and bedtime. The hair that she smells and nuzzles with her smooth face whenever we squeeze one another and kiss. The hair that comforts her when she's fallen out the back of an RV upside down and onto her still delicate baby head (that's one hell of a story turbulently detailed in another post I'm too lazy to link to).

Damn my damn hair! Weasel hair! Bane of my existence hair! The hair that I've come this close to Sinead O'Connor scalp shaving ever since my second son ignited his obsession with it.

When Moody Cheeks McGee could no longer nod off on his own as a newborn (don't you hate when the newborn self-sleep-ability bliss suddenly comes to a screeching cry halt?). In trying to manipulate Cheeks back to sleep I willingly, lovingly, desperately, stupidly introduced him to the soothing sensations of tactile-follicle gratification. Thus began his addiction to my hair. No one else's. Especially not his daddy's, since he's mostly bald (sexy bald to me, babe) and short buzzed.

Without more than one promiscuously fuscia lipsticked decapitated Barbie to go around the house, I wonder, when will Cheeks' hair high finally frizz out? He's almost four years old now and still reaches a whole other eyes rolling in bliss dimension when weaving his sticky fingers in and out of my dry, split-end tipped locks.

He ruthlessly sneak hair-attacks me, hair snare entangling me when I'm lazing about, curled up like a shrimp on the couch or reading Augusten Burroughs' latest offering while sipping eggnog spiked lattes. Yeah, he accosts my hair during those moments. Those soulful solitude moments that all moms must, must, must have to recharge their permanent autopilot batteries.

I suppose Cheeks needs me, more specifically my hair, as much as I need heavy doses of soul-saving mama breaks. Who am I to deprive him of what he needs? On the other hand, who am I to enable his poor sleep habits?

Sometimes Cheeks is polite enough to ask nicely: "C'n I touch your hair now, mommy, pa-lease?" And his roving hair buried fingers still drive me knots (okay, that was cheesy bad but I couldn't resist)! Often to the point of my sheer repulsion.

I've long struggled to find a comparable feeling and all I can come up with is waking to the chilling sensation of a venomous tarantula slowly creeping across my tender scalp, not that I've ever actually felt such a horrific thing or would ever want to. Don't get me wrong ... I love Cheeks. I love Cheeks' affection. I just want my hair back.

One hair-dependent child down (the right now Barbie head palpating Pigtail Sprite). One to go.

Letting Cheeks adulterate my hair, and practically own my hair, reached the tipping point when we bought our home almost two years ago. At the time our children were ages three, one and two months. Insert how-the-f-do-you-do-it? reaction face here. Yeah, I know. I lived it.

I was barely hanging on to being awake, and far from into letting any of my children hang onto my perma-bed head hair like a greasy, baby food splattered life line. But I offered my hair to them like a white truce flag in order to survive from one harried day to the next. To get them asleep so that I could sleep. But sleep was not to be with my eldest son expecting so much attention and stimulation while his baby sibs slept (long enough to stop pulling at his hair too).

Things were such a three-extremely-young-kid blur at the time that I can't even remember what I did or where I was for Thanksgiving just days before the move into our new home. What I do remember crystal clear, though, is laying on my side like a bloated cow and nursing then two-month-old Pigtail Sprite on one side of my sapped postpartum body and allowing Cheeks to extreme-crochet my hair at a furious pace on the other side of my defeated frame until he finally conked out for his nap (and ever so generously left the back of my head looking like a Wild West tumbleweed).

Our mad hatter hair-sleep cycle went on like this for months, with me sprawled out on my duvet, one child sucking on my flopped out always-engorged breast and one child twiddling my hair like Paul Mitchell peaking on baby acid. Oh, yes, don't forget to add in a third child ricocheting like a pinball about the perimeter of the bed, incessantly asking when I'd be "all done with the babies" and ready to give him 100 percent of my attention. Poor kid. I think he's still waiting ...

In retrospect I think Cheeks' binky (pacifier) should have been enough to pacify him. I weakly played into his drama, as well as into my heavy guilt over weaning him so suddenly after finding out I was pregnant with his sister. (I also half-believe my older children (boys) think in the recesses of their exponentially growing minds that they were once the first apples of mummy's eyes, all before the youngest sibling, a girl, came along and "stole" what was theirs in the first place. If they understood what a complaining crank I am, none of them would vie so hard for my attention.)

Once I resorted to giving Cheeks a foot-long mullet wig that was velcro'd into a hat we got as part of a promotional give-away at a local minor league hockey game. That went over about as well as when his last binky vanished in the night for good.

Even though I relish how affection my children are, I still can't stand them touching my hair. Stroking it. Clawing it. Clumping it. Twisting and twirling it. Even sticking it in their greedy mouths and trying to chew it, suck it. And maybe even chase their milk with it.

Tonight, when I read a random Toot N' Puddle bedtime book to Cheeks, he reached over as if it were a reflex and slid his entire upturned palm beneath my neck to feel the hair that ironically I'm sprouting more and more of while purposely growing it out long for a change. I winced a bit, but mom guilt kicked in faster than mainlined morphine. I let out a sliver of a smile in his direction and leaned in closer to him for easy hair access. He's still my baby after all.

There's no replacement for mom in Cheek's case. And he won't let me forget it; At least three to four times a night he wakes up demanding me (and sometimes my damned coveted hair) at the top of his very capable lungs. I've got a new plan him tonight, though. And it just might have something to do with sneaking that handy hairy Barbie head from my daughter's clutches and trying to pass it off as me.

What's that you say? I should be flattered? Naw. I'd rather flat iron my kids for flattening my 'do!

(I'm literally falling asleep writing this. Forgive my errors. I'll fix them after a good, hopefully hair grubbing free rest.)


At 4:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you mean. Brute Force, my oldest, still touches my stomach to fall asleep-a holdover from the days when he nursed. I don't mind as long as we have some parameters (no touching my belly button-no inside the pants waistband). I've heard the hair thing from a lot of moms.

At 9:06 AM, Blogger Little Miss said...

Ah, the security lovies...

well, I introduced each one of my babies to the Barefoot Dreams satin blankets the instant they were born. From an early age they learned to turn their tiny heads into the silkiness of the blanket and fall asleep.

They all still have their blankets (two for each kid), and I have my hair all to myself.

after reading your post...I'm even more grateful for "silkies"!

At 10:16 AM, Blogger Devra said...

Oh man, that post weaning mommy guilt is a killer, isn't it? Who woulda thunk that weaning would be such a powerful domino tumbling over onto what comes next in line?!

But it sounds to me like you are coming up with ways to legalize and regulate the hair grubbing so you can minimize the guilt, enhance your life and enjoy yourself without the extra hair adornmement! (or in this case, adorer!)

At 11:23 AM, Anonymous you da mom! said...

i was thinking of getting a cut, but now i'm not gonna!

At 2:22 PM, Blogger mad muthas said...

i'm squinting at your little pic and i can tell you, quite categorically, that you hair looks rather lovely to me! if you had stupid curly/frizzy hair like me you'd know the real meaning of suffering ...
have you ever fallen asleep with your head on the keyboard? most amusing!

At 4:03 PM, Blogger jen said...

i think it's quite possible that you are the funniest women i have ever read.

At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Momish said...

You have no idea what bad hair is, sister!!! And, neither does my daughter! She too is a mommy hair freak. I just don't get it! Good luck!

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