When the wheels fell off, and I became obsessed with my hair.

The best laid plans of mice and men, and all that.

The three hour daytime naps are a thing of the past. Our quiet little routine, and my magical sleeping son, flew out the window and waved goodbye eight weeks ago.  That’s when the Sprout had a whole-body eczema experience, and his cradle cap got infected.  His angelic self was replaced by someone who could out-grump Oscar the Grouch.

In episode 19 of the Blame the Mother Chronicles, two people (one of whom is related to me, and should know better) asked ‘but how did it get infected?’ in tones suggesting marked chastisement designed to plummet my self-worth.  Pointless, really, since I didn’t know how to feel worse than I already did.  Hell, I have no idea how it got infected.  Maybe because he’s a baby and he rolls around on the floor all day, and if I sterilised the vicinity every time he dribbled or puked then he would starve because I wouldn’t have the four-ish hours a day required to effectively feed him.

Anyway, Hell Week consisted of administering liquid antibiotics four times daily and crossing fingers that his nappy would contain the orange shit-fireworks he experienced in consequence, rubbing hydrocortisone and emollient cream all over a squirming screaming red thing twice daily, and hoping against hope for a fucking break for both of us.  But no, because of what must have been his horrific discomfort, not only were daytime naps limited to half an hour (four, if lucky) but also (possibly because my son has a Viking’s appetite) night-waking became a thing.  A big, bleary-eyed, please no not again, thing.  It’s still a thing even though he is back to perfect health.  In the last nine weeks he has slept through the night twice.

The infection took a week to clear, his skin a further week to heal up, and then we went on a transatlantic holiday.  But more about that in future writing.  First, I must talk about my hair before I burst from vanity-related angst.

I never really paid much attention to my hair before.  It was up there, on my head, with hair-schizophrenia: really quite curly in parts but straight in others.  Dealing with it was a minor chore: three minutes of attention every two days because.

It turns out that it’s only possible not to care about your hair if, without really considering it, you know deep down it looks OK.   A little bit birds-nest, but basically OK.  Nobody is laughing at you on the street so it must be OK, OK.

Well.  Hormones bitch-slapped my hair down the plughole in vast quantities starting when the Sprout was nine weeks old.  It was coming out in handfuls, and I do mean handfuls.  I had a lot of hair, so this happened for a few weeks without aesthetic consequence.  Now, over three months later, I have a receding hairline to rival Jude Law.  If I scrape it back into a ponytail, the volume is about one third its former glory.  Last month I went to the hairdresser and pleaded with her to cut my hair in a way that would make it look half-decent then and after further hair loss.  I tried not to have unreasonable expectations.  She tried to make me look like I hadn’t gone three rounds with a world champion hair-puller.  We both failed.  In a shampoo advert, I would be the limp, grey, lifeless ‘before’ picture.

People, observe:

DSC_2531 - Version 2

I am not making this shit up.  To the right hand side of my hairline on the photo you can see the recession.  But for the angle, you could see the same thing on the other side.  At least it’s symmetrical (see: small mercies).

People (by which I mean the hairdresser, and the internet) tell me this is completely normal, it will grow back, and be patient.  But I’m still trying every volumising shampoo on the market, staring into the mirror holding up my few remaining strands of hairline, and weeping.  I dwell endlessly upon how it will be a year before I look like myself again.  I have toyed with the idea of getting it all cut off, but that might make a bad situation worse.  There are no places where I am completely bald, but large areas around my temples where it is a damned close call.  As you can see, in bright sunlight it is particularly noticeable.  Oh, hello summer!

I know I’m not alone in these struggles.  I am eternally grateful that the Sprout doesn’t (I am touching wood) have a serious illness.  And there are more important things in life than a temporary hair-blip.  But good grief, Charlie Brown, motherhood is harder than a really hard thing.



2 Responses to “When the wheels fell off, and I became obsessed with my hair.”

  1. 1 Franinoz May 16, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Thank goodness your sense of humour hasn’t gone west. I’ve been reading your blog(s) since the days in New Zillun and love your writing. Just keep repeating; “this too shall pass”. (Not a parent, so easy enough for me to say.)

  2. 2 Jennifer May 19, 2015 at 2:38 am

    Infected cradle cap? Holy shit. In all my years of parenting, I have never, ever heard of that. I just mentioned it to Husband and he thought I was making it up.

    Sorry, I guess that doesn’t help make you feel better. My apologies.

    Anyway, as for the hair, hang in there. I assure you, I promise, I swear on the lives of my first AND second born that it WILL stop falling out and that it will grow back.

    The only cut idea that comes to mind is having it snipped into layers that will fall softly around your face to conceal the sparse areas.

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