Sophia was born with no hair. Her thin, pale brown childhood locks grow slower than molasses. She longs for long hair and constantly tries to figure out how to make it grow. She had a complex brushing routine in an attempt to become Rapunzel. It was so nice that she wanted to brush her own hair.
Then, last week, I heard a bloodcurdling scream.
Sophia: Mom! Come here! Help!
I ran to her room, afraid something terrible had happened. I found her sitting on her bed, staring at a brush.
Me: Sophia, is everything okay?
She looked up. There were tears on her cheeks.
Sophia: Mom, look at my brush. It is taking my hair away.
I looked at the brush and observed the few shiny strands that so upset her.
Me: Sophia, the hair that comes out when you brush is leaving the good hair to grow longer. That hair in the brush will not grow anymore. Don’t worry, it is normal.
Sophia: Normal? To lose hair? Uh uh. That is not okay. I do not want to lose any hair. That is ridiculous. (Yes, she likes this word.)
Me: Ridiculous is a bit dramatic sweetie. What is your plan? I don’t want you to cry over your beautiful hair.
Sophia. It’s simple. I am not brushing my hair anymore. I am just going to let it grow. That’s my plan okay?
Me: I know you are upset babe, but your hair will grow. It just might take longer than some of your friends. Mommy’s hair took a long time to grow too. It really would be better to keep brushing it to keep it healthy.
Sophia: Uh uh. I don’t want it coming out.
At this point I went the wrong direction. I admit it. Bad move mom.
Me: Sophia, you have beautiful hair. Some little girls are sick and have no hair. They wear bandananas or wigs while they get better and they would be so happy to be healthy like you and have your hair.
Sophia: What’s a wig?
Me: It is hair that goes over your head to give you hair or make your hair look different. A lot of healthy people grow their own hair as long as they can and then cut it all off to help people who don’t have hair. Your cousin Claire did it.
Sophia: No way. I don’t want to cut my hair and I just want it long and it is my hair.
Me: Okay Soph, it is your hair, and you don’t have to cut it. I was just telling you how lucky you are. If it gets too snarly though, I am telling you even more will come out when we brush it. And we will brush it. At least one time each day. I will be careful.
Sophia: We’ll see.
We’ll see? From a 4 year old?
Well, I choose my battles and I am not winning this one. I thought it would blow over. She looks like she has a bird’s nest on her head and she bawls when we brush her hair. She insists on looking at the brush when we are done. I have thus far refrained from telling her that she may draw bird poop, but I am close. Even Ross is wondering what I am planning with this one. Miles is 3 and thinks she looks funny.
Here’s the thing. I have no plan. I don’t want her to think I don’t listen and care and I don’t want a mama bird to lay an egg on her head either. I also would just like her hair to look pretty. Sue me. I like that about having a girl.
Any ideas? Can I keep the peace or must I attack her precious hair with a brush? What