Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The Box 'o Tricks (or should I say "Trichs"?) seems to be showing the most promise in the way of things we've tried to curb Annabelle's hair-twirling/pulling. I actually haven't seen her sucking her fingers or messing with her hair for a couple of weeks now, although I don't think she's completely stopped. I've seen telltale corkscrews twisted into her hair a few times, but not daily like before. It's hard to say if her hair is growing out - I don't think enough time has passed yet for it to really be noticeable. I did trim her hair again tonight after her bath to even it out, but I didn't have to trim much, and the shorter part might have been from before this "behavioral therapy" we're trying.
I feel like I should clarify, too, that she's never pulled to the point of creating bald patches. When she pulls, she apparently doesn't pull the hair out at the root, it's more like she breaks it off farther away from her scalp, so that the area she tends to mess with is usually noticeably shorter than the other side. This also leads me to believe that whatever pulling she does is not purposeful pulling, but more likely the end result of overly-vigorous twirling.
Anyway. I've restocked the Box a couple of times. It's been a matter of trial and error finding things that are tactilely pleasing enough to her to keep her hands out of her mouth and hair. The Kooshie ball that looked like a pig that she liked so much only lasted a couple of days before it got a hole in it and was a Kooshie ball no more. She never really developed any interest in the pom-poms or the chenille stems, which kind of surprised me. The Silly Putty was tossed pretty quickly when it ended up smooshed into the carpet (no surprise there - I guess I asked for that one). I replaced the pig with a squishy rubber turtle filled with sand, and she really, really likes that. I also got a bright pink bath pouf, and she likes that as well. Once in a while she asks for one of the brightly colored feathers from the box, but mostly it's the turtle or the pouf.
I don't get on her case about her hair anymore, which has been surprisingly easy, probably because I really haven't seen her sucking and/or twirling. She doesn't suck or pull at school (which her teacher has confirmed), undoubtedly because she's plenty busy at school (and the girl thrives on structure). It's when she's got down time that she starts in with the fingers in her mouth and hair (which has me feeling somewhat anxious about summer break, which is fast approaching). So now she takes one of her things from the Box to bed with her, and in the car, and when she's watching TV. It really seems to be helping. I'm trying to be realistic and not look at this as a permanent cure, but I feel optimistic about it right now. More so than I ever have.