The Haircut Saga

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So Clara got her first haircut today, and while all’s well that ends well (and, oh my goodness, the cuteness! this ended well), the beginning of the story was full of drama.

The story of our three-year-old daughter’s first haircut began late Sunday afternoon. I noticed on the way to church that Clara’s hair looked weirdly fuzzy. I didn’t think too much of it, as it is super cold and the air is dry. We arrived at church a little late, but the service was just beginning. We headed up to the balcony, and I chased down Clara to try to put her hair in a ponytail.

As I finished twisting the ponytail, I ran my hand down the length of it to smooth it out, and a huge clump — like four inches — came off in my hand. At first I wasn’t too bothered, but then I tugged again and more came out in my hand. It was like pulling apart cotton — it didn’t hurt her at all, and it was alarming how easy it was to pull out. And, the worst part was there was so. much. hair. It was seriously four or five inches of all her hair. I put what was left in a (thin) ponytail and sent her with Jason down to the nursery.

Then I started to worry. And, yes, all the texting and Googling and fretting I did over the next hour was during church. I’m not proud of it, but it was what it was. First, I texted my friend (and stylist) Emily: “Aaaaahhhh! I’m freaking out! I was putting a ponytail in Clara’s hair and like 4 inches was super fuzzy and totally just came off in my hands. Is this normal?!?!?!” And the short answer was, No, not normal, unless hair had been overprocessed. Well, we had used a new detangler, but somehow I didn’t think that was it.

Google offered a few plausible explanations for “the large majority of children who experience hair loss”: (1) a contagious ringworm — no scales, so we thought we were probably in the clear on that one but decided we better wash her sheets at home just in case; (2) alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune reaction that is hereditary — this seemed a very likely explanation, as Clara had recently been sick, and because my sister had this condition in college; (3) ponytails too tight, brushing too vigorously — nope, I think I’ve brushed Clara’s hair four times ever, including twice recently with the detangler I mentioned; (4) a vitamin and/or nutritional deficiency — I suppose, maybe? (5) stress (I wasn’t quite sure how this made a child’s hair fall out; I was skimming) — oh goodness, I yelled at the kids in the car today, do you think that could be it? (6) a thyroid condition — yeah, no way to test that right now.

At some point during the service, I decided I needed to go down to the nursery to get another look — did she have bald spots? Was it as bad as I remembered? She was happily playing and asked to be returned to her friends as soon as I had examined her head and found it to be in decently good condition. The remaining hair seemed firmly attached, and overall her hair looked thinner but no longer fuzzy. Maybe she did just have really fragile hair?

I went back upstairs and found a text from Emily that said she’d be happy to help if Clara’s ends needed to be evened up. I replied, “Ok. I was freaking out, so I went down to the nursery to check it out. She doesn’t seem to have bald spots, which I think may be good? But we’re not talking ‘evened up,’ we’re talking a full Bethany. Which I’m sure will be cute. When can I see you?” (“A full Bethany” is a reference to my friend Maralee’s daughter, who just got a super cute pixie cut a couple of weeks ago.)

Satisfied that I maybe needed to be concerned but not overly, I did try to dial back in for the last third of the sermon and the rest of the service. After church, I told a couple of my friends what was going on, and they too thought it was at least mildly troubling (and later told me they prayed for Clara that evening).

We got home from church, and Jason gave the kids a bath while I warmed up dinner. After the bath, Jason came downstairs with I don’t remember what kind of look (and I really wish I did because we’re getting to the climax of the story here!). Anyway, he said that he had another possible explanation for Clara’s mysterious hair loss (and if you’ve read this far, you may have already guessed by now): “Could it have anything to do, do you think, with the scissors I found on her bedroom floor?” When questioned about the incriminating evidence, Clara happily replied, “I cut my hair during naptime. Sorry, Mommy!”

I tell you, I was so relieved that I wasn’t even a little bit mad.

So many lessons learned here, the most important having something to do with the simplest explanation being the best. Perhaps I should have titled this post “Occam’s Haircut”?

It’s pretty hard to get this one to stand still or smile for a picture, but here’s a glimpse at the adorable denouement to this story.

 


Happy the Birthday!

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Around here, December 28 is called “the Birthday” (definite article, capital B) because it is both Ian’s birthday and Clara’s. Ian turned 5 today, and Clara turned 3. It was a happy one indeed. These are some of my favorite shots from the day, but I realize that this little collection is hardly representative of our whole day, which was much more busy and peopled than these few pics would lead you to believe. But for once I was mostly enjoying the time with the family and practically forgot to document. Still, this is a record of what these two little lovies looked like today. Goodness, they are great kids.


December 25

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What I love (and sometimes not so much) about getting Jason reading material for Christmas. He gets totally lost.

DPP pics from past years: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013


December 24

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Ian has said to me several times today, “Mommy, can you believe tomorrow is Christmas?” Indeed I cannot.

DPP pics from past years: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013


December 23

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I was going to dump this picture because, you know, the kids are blurry and dark and whatever. But then I realized how (accidentally) funny it is (right after this, we had a talk about no more running in the museum).

My poor kids. I don’t think that little railing is going to hold the mammoths back.

DPP pics from past years: 2005200620082009201020112012, 2013


December 22

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Today was a busy day. So busy. I’m glad, though, that I could take a little break with this nugget and watch her “tricks,” which mostly were “pinning” and “hi-ya”-ing.

“Should I pin one mo time? You want me to hi-ya? You want me to pin? One mo time? Hi-ya!” And so on.

DPP pics from past years: 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013


December 21

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On this shortest day of the year we had fun playing with light. It started with the boys using the flashlight on my phone to make sure one of Jason’s gifts was snoop-proofed. Ian realized shining the light through a tube created an interesting pattern on the wall. He then set up the flashlight to make his own shadow-puppet theater (all his own idea; seriously, I still cannot get over the brilliance of it). I remembered we still have my parents’ overhead projector, so we spent much of the afternoon having a shadow dance party.

DPP pics from past years: 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013


December 20

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My beautiful mom and her big brother.

Today I went to a family wedding while Jason stayed home with the kids. I think it went pretty well until bedtime, when Simon threw up like four times and Jason couldn’t reach me because I still had my phone turned off. That part probably wasn’t so fun.

DPP pics from past years: 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013


December 19

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The boys both had fevers as of dinnertime last night, so no school for either of them today — to put a positive spin on it, we got to extend Christmas break by two days (Simon was out yesterday too). So, what do you do when all three kids are kind of/not really/but actually kind of sick? Make a rainstick!

Rainsticks are really cool, and ours turned out better than I imagined. We used a poster mailing tube almost as tall as Clara and about 4.5 inches in diameter, 136 2.5-inch nails (I didn’t actually count; that’s what it said on the box), and a mixture of about 2 cups black beans, 1/2 cup red lentils, and 1 cup pearled barley (all the rainmakers I found in the pantry, too old to trust for good eating).

But the best part: the kids happily hammered nails in that tube for very close to an hour and a half. In fact, I think I was the one most ready for the box of nails to be empty. They all did so well with the hammer. They were proud of themselves, as they should have been.

DPP pics from past years: 200620082009201020112012, 2013


December 18

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Poor little peanut has a wicked cold, and I actually ended up taking her to the doc today. We passed the time taking pictures in the mirror. As I review this photo, I’m realizing it probably wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had to let my toddler–whom I have taken in because I suspect pinkeye–put my camera up to her pink eye. As it turns out, she has an ear infection, and probably not pinkeye after all. So there’s that. Yeah, so I should prally go disinfect some stuff.

DPP pics from past years: 200620082009201020112012, 2013