Monday, November 29, 2010

Hair: The Long and the Short of It

It's recently hit me how much time and emotion are invested in hair in our house. Seriously.

There is Annabelle, of course, with her unofficially diagnosed trichotillomania. Which breaks my heart. And which I thought we had so well under control, and which lately we clearly do not have under control. Her hair had grown out so nicely from last spring through the summer until school started, and since then she's been on a twirling/twisting/pulling frenzy that no amount of reasoning, ignoring, or fidget-toys seems to be helping. It recently got to the point where one whole side was so noticeably shorter than the other that she looked positively lopsided. I consulted with a girlfriend who also has a daughter with a penchant for pulling and asked her, "Should I trim her hair to even it out? Or should I just leave it since she doesn't seem to care?" I was advised to leave it, and I did for a while, but I couldn't take it any longer and this weekend I trimmed it. (And I'm still asking myself, is it fair or right to impose my vanity on my six-year-old daughter? And I still haven't come up with an answer.) The truth is, Annabelle is a beautiful little girl - I'm not just saying that - and she looks adorable with a little pixie cut. It's not the short hair that bothers me, it's the reason it's short, and it's people asking her why her hair is short while her sisters' both have long hair, and watching how she kind of folds up in shame when the question is posed to her.

Then there is Joey. He's been letting his hair grow for almost a year now. And really, I swear he has the most gorgeous, to-die-for hair . . . wavy and thick with natural golden highlights . . . I'm telling you, he has the kind of hair that women pay big bucks to simulate. Anyway, and I really like the long hair on him. But quirky little Joey . . . I started thinking this was becoming some sort of Howard Hughes thing with him, that if we didn't make him go in for at least a little trim, he might go the rest of his life without allowing scissors to touch his hair. So with the aid of some good old fashioned bribery, we got him to agree to go in for a little trim this weekend. It's still long, and it still looks great, and now it's cleaned up and hopefully we've broken whatever hair-head-trip he was on.

Kevin also grew his hair out over the summer, and I have to say it looked awful. He's got straight, fine hair like me, and it just hung in his face. But it was almost like he was competing on some level with Joey - we were letting Joey grow his hair out, and Joey gets all this attention for his gorgeous hair (from family and strangers alike), so it seemed like Kevin wanted a piece of that too. Which is a little sad, that Kevin at 13 feels like he needs to compete with his 8-year-old brother for whatever reason. Anyway, we pushed and pushed for Kevin to get his hair cut when school started back up, and he did, and was very upset about it. And since then, we've made him get his hair cut a couple more times, and it's always with a fight. He looks so handsome with short hair, but I'm not sure I feel like anyone has won. I guess he's at that age when self-expression is rearing its head, and we have to let out the reins some, right?

Lilah's hair is down to her butt. Like Joey, she has the most wonderful, gorgeous hair. Curly, thick, honey-colored, cascading down her back. Hair that I'd kill for. She announced to me yesterday after her bath that she wants me to cut her hair, that she wants it like Daisy's (which is a little longer than shoulder-length). She started crying and begging me to cut it. I have no doubt that she hates how I have to comb and tug through it after washing it to detangle it (and no amount of conditioner seems to do the trick). But I can hardly bear the thought of cutting those tresses! Plus, she's so fickle these days that I just know I'd cut it and she'd be shrieking that she wanted her hair back. So it stays for now, but I know at some point . . .

Finn's pretty easy. I just stick him in the kitchen sink about once a month and take Daddy's electric trimmer to his head and give him a faux hawk. The only downside is that Michael doesn't like the faux hawk. Well, you know the saying - you can't please everyone.

I think Daisy is the only one who is happy with her hair the way it is, and whose hair everyone else seems to have no complaints about either.


diane rene said...

totally funny that you post about this today. I have been meaning to ask you how Annabelle was doing with her pulling.
Falyse's hair was looking great over summer. it is about shoulder length now ... but since school started up, the pulling has gotten worse!
I thought she was doing it mostly because she was bored ... the thumb sucking and pulling go hand in hand. but she is busier than ever and even though she may have less TIME to pull and twist, she seems to be doing it with a vengeance because these knots are horrendous!

Life After Grad School said...

Regarding Kevin and his hair- I think my aunt had it right- her kids could do anything they wanted with their hair as long as it was washed 3 times a week or daily if they were playing sports. Her reasoning was that hair can always be shaved off, or dyed and it will grow back. She figured that if she let them experiment with their hair, she could keep the piercings and tatoos to a minimum. I think she figured correctly. My cousins (male and female) had some truly weird hair styles and hair colors- but they all got over it by the time they turned 20.