Friday, March 19, 2010

Self Soothing For The Inept

When Anna was little she needed to have a good fistful of my hair in order to sleep.

I used to lie there thinking how bad must I have been in a previous life to have ended up at such a pass. Of course, you could call in to question our parenting which had allowed the situation to develop in such a way.

In the middle of the night, to seek comfort, she would grope and scrabble her tiny toddler hand at the nape of my neck. Making sure she had only the finest and most painful of hairs, she would then wrap her sticky fingers around them and pull.

I would long for a child with an attachment to a teddy bear, a blanket, another human being....anything that would free me of the nighttime torture. We even considered using a wig as a placebo. That's when you know you're past the point of sanity;

'Err, what the fuck's that matted hairy object in your child's hand'
'Oh, it's her comfort toupee. You know, like a blankie, but so, so much weirder'.


Even now if she's poorly or overtired she will cry 'I need your hair'. I am worried she will end up a hair fetishist, or even worse, attracted to men like Fabio.

I never in a million years imagined things could get worse.

Enter Lucy. You would have thought we would have taught her to self-soothe. Perhaps learned a little parenting discipline. But no, my girls are genetically programmed to seek physical solace from others. This does not bode well for their teenage years.

Lucy shows no interest whatsoever in my hair. She likes flesh. Sensitive flesh. My underarm looks like I have a poorly concealed heroin habit. She pinches, she uses her tiny light fingernails to form a perfect razor-edged vice then she gives you a good hard squeeze. If she's not doing that, she's burrowing her fingers as far up your nose as possible, pinching your under-eye skin, neck, or nipple. Why do I tolerate it? Perhaps path of least resistance parenting will make a fool out of us all. Only five minutes of this behaviour and she drops off guaranteed. It may be 4 minutes and 59 seconds too long, but it's foolproof. The only saving grace is that she doesn't limit this behavior to me. She is quite happy to cuddle up to any victim and go through the same pre-nap, pre-sleep abuse. My friend who takes care of her during the week is equally thrilled with her habit - I think her exact words were:


My goal is to make you feel like a better parent - and I've succeeded haven't I?


My Mercurial Nature said...

I tried to fob off blankies, teddy bears, and all manners of other soothing items on my no avail. Your post made me laugh & nod along! Thanks!

seadragon said...

Too funny. How does this stuff even occur to them??

Anonymous said...

I have a 3yo son that also needs my hair. I thought of the wig thing too, and even went so far as to buy a very fuzzy stuffed animal. No luck. He still will tell me he wants to hold it "just for a minute mommy" and that "it looks so stylish today". Thanks for letting me know that he's not as big of a freak as I was starting to think he was.

Anonymous said...

You sound just like me. My daughter, now 9, needed my hair too. One horrible night I even tried snipping off a little piece (down by the neck where I hope it didn't show) and giving it to her, but she wouldn't go for it. It didn't have the required resistance as she yanked it away from my scalp, I guess.

Then my son, now 7, came along and I kept him away from my hair, but he was a flesh toucher. He loved to stroke the soft skin of my belly and inner arms and he would always go for my belly button - not allowed, but it didn't stop him from trying. I was always having to keep a hand over it to keep him away.

Now, kid #3 is a fabric fetishist. I thought this was better, at first. He loved to wrap and twist his hand up in my t-shirt: wrap, unwrap, wrap, unwrap. But then he discovered the joys of the waistband elastic of my underwear. Twist, yank, twist, yank. It drives me craaaaazy.

Kid #1 is done with my hair now, but still twists her own. Kid #2 doesn't go for my flesh much, but is still a very touchy/feely guy. So I'm just trying to wait it out with kid #3. Good luck with your little ones, I know just how you feel.

Amy said...

hi! going back to your napa valley half posting, I have a registration for the napa valley trail half marathon this weekend that work is going to keep me from using and a weekend house in sonoma that's going to be vacant and available - both are yours if you want it. If you're interested, respond to this and we can sort out the details.

p.s., I'm not a psycho, just a big fan of your sense of humor and outlook. cheers!


AliBlahBlah said...

Amy - thanks so much for the offer, I swear that comment made my day! We are all sick as dogs right now with colds so my goal for next weekend is to be able to run around the block not a half marathon. Although I am pretty tempted to ditch all my sicko family and hide out in Sonoma for a weekend......

Sorry to hear your work messed up your plans. It looks like an awesome race.

Muddling Along Mummy said...

You've succeeded, my littlest needs a boob within an inch of her nose to fall asleep most of the time. She's just discovered her fingers so I'm hoping that perhaps sometime soon she won't need that ... perhaps

bramble said...

My youngest is a boob-grabber. He has to grab the most sensitive outer layer of skin in his little demon claws, squeezed several times and stick his face in it. Could be that he is just male. After all, all the males in the house seem to have this boob-grabbing proclivity at times. But the little ones bring a whole, new, terrifying meaning to the term "fun bags."

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh, i have tears running down my cheeks.. "comfort toupee" oh, i'm in giggle fits again!! you are just too silly for words..

Anonymous said...

My 3 year old boy still wakes me in the middle of the night asking 'hair, mommy, hair'
I got it cut yesterday, and saved the extra 8" for him, but it's no substitute. He's still really upset about my haircut. Now he just has to get that much closer to me to get his handful!
Glad to hear I'm not the only one out there.

Hyphen Mama said...

Am. Dying. Laughing.

Holy cow! You crack me up.

Wynnie was a thumb sucker and Mack sucks his left middle and ring fingers. I could NOT be more pleased at this very minute!

K├Ąthe said...

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Cristen said...

you are hilarious!

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