I have long hair. My which I mean Really Long Hair. Seriously, down past my bum, encroaching on my knees, long hair. I haven’t had short hair in at least twenty years.
Over the years I have often been approached by strangers who want to talk to me about my hair. I am constantly asked questions, from the frequent and mundane, “Isn’t it hard to take care of.” (Heck no. It’s just wash, brush and go. I never have to worry about styling it, or about bad hair days.) “Doesn’t it give you headaches? Having all that hair weighing your scalp down?” (Um. No, I guess I’m just used to it.), to the infrequent and bizarre, “Will you cut it off and sell it to me?” (Sorry, but no.) “Does it get in the way when you go to the bathroom? Does it get in the toilet?” (Um. Gross. No. I swipe it around to the front before I sit down, thanks.) “Don’t you ever get drunk and get your hair confused with the toilet paper?” (What? NO!)
I assumed once the first babe was born I would end up having to cut my hair. Newborns and long hair seemed like a bad mix, yet somehow I never did cut it. Instead I developed a perpetual ponytail, and carried on.
When I was in London a few weeks back, I took off to hide in the hotel lounge for a bit while my husband was sleeping in. When I stepped into the lounge it was empty except for a lone cleaning lady, busy tidying up the place. Without any preamble she asked me “Does it get stuck in your underwear?”
Janitor: “Your long hair, does it get stuck in your underwear?”
Me: “Oh, um.. no, that’s never been a problem.”
Janitor: “Oh, because I used to have long hair like yours, and it was always getting stuck in my underwear.”
Me: “It’s er.. never been a problem for me.”
Janitor: “Does your husband ever roll over and end up on top of your hair?”
Janitor: “He doesn’t lay on top of it and trap you while your sleeping?”
Me: “Err…No, that’s never happened.”
Janitor: “Oh… it used to happen to me all the time.” (Pause) “I cut it off…. I don’t really regret it, but my kids do. They are always bugging me to grow my hair again.”
Me: “Yeah, my kids are little and they are obsessed with my hair.”
Janitor: “Mine too! When I cut it off I gave my kid the braid. She seemed to like that.”
And she wished me a good day and pushed her cart out the door.
The rest of the conversation was a bit bizarre, but I could so relate to that final statement. I have definitely considered cutting my hair off and handing it over to my children. G-Girl is utterly obsessed with my hair. To heck with mommy kisses, the only thing that will comfort her when she is sad or hurt is a “hair hug”. This entails pulling my ponytail around to the side or front and burying herself in it while pressing up against me. She has never really attached herself to a pacifier, blanket, or favourite stuffed animal so I guess that is her “lovey”. When she was a wee thing she would grab onto a hank of my hair and hold it while nursing. Compared to the other ways she liked to occupy her fingers, like say testing the tensile strength of my eyeballs or seeing if she could pull my lower lip right off, it seemed relatively harmless.
As she’s gotten older it’s become rather a bother. I have had to institute a “no hair hugs in restaurants” policy, and I often find myself wistfully asking, “Wouldn’t you like a mommy hug? How about I just hug you with my arms?” to which she always replies “No! Hair hug!” I feel sometimes like the kid loves my hair, rather then me. That if I cut it off and handed it to her she would be self sufficient.
Now with babe #2 I have gone out of my way in trying to see that she doesn’t also develop a hair fetish. I redirect her little hands to hold my shirt or tug on a nursing necklace while breastfeeding. It seemed like it was working at first… but then she wants to do whatever big sister does, and what big sister does is hair hugs.
I have to admit that when Rocket throws herself at me and hyperventilates with glee while rubbing her face in my ponytail and giggling, it’s heart-meltingly cute. The problem here is, the girls have actually started to fight over my hair. They both want to hug it at the same time. If one girls sees the other taking a cuddle, the left out daughter goes berserk and attempts to squeeze in there. I can’t get down on the floor to play with them without it ending in a tug-a-war over my ponytail, and I am always on the losing end.
At first I thought this was a relatively bizarre problem, but now I know I’m not the only one out there because a quick Google search tuns up dozens of articles with titles like How Do I Get My 14 Month Old to Use a Lovey and Not My Hair. My husband is much more disturbed by it all them I am. I’m actually not that worried about breaking her (or I guess I should say them) of the habit. I know she’ll grow out of it eventually, and I secretly like that for right now I’m her source of comfort. I do however wish I could find a way to stop the two of them from fighting over my hair. I find myself wondering if one day I will be forced into putting my hair into two braids, cutting it off and handing a chunk over to each of them… say when they leave the house and head off to university.