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Slowly But Steadily

Madeleine was born with very little hair, which then took a really long time to grow in. I mean, really long time. First she had to have that dark brown newborn hair fall out, which took several months; right around three months old she was sporting a sort of Paul Giamatti bald fringe thing due to her awkward newborn hair combining with the unfortunate bald spot she was rubbing into the back of her head.

But finally her beautiful blonde hair started growing in. The first look you could really define as a style was the look made famous by George Clooney in the nineties – that sort of Caesar fringe hair-cut – and we spent much of the past two years explaining to people that actually, Madeleine was a GIRL, and no, we didn’t cut her hair like that – it simply was still growing in! (Honestly, I’m amazed at the number of times I had someone look at my daughter, all dressed in pink and wrapped in a pink blanket that had MADELEINE embroidered across it, and ask, “What’s his name?”)

Now her hair’s more easily definable as girlish, with adorable little curls peeping around her ears and twirling at the nape of her neck. Her bangs are getting so long that they fall wispily in her eyes as she plays or jumps.

Which leads me to our current problem. Since Maddie didn’t have to wear hair accessories at an early age, she never got used to them as an infant. When I first tried introducing hair clips about six months ago, she’d kick and scream and cry and pull them out (which hurt and made her hate them even more!), so I gave up for a while. But when summer started coming in, so did the long hair and truly, my kid needs to see to get maximum fun out of every day.

And thus began the Accessory Campaign.

I bought every kind of clip I could think of. Alligator clips- a good choice, I thought, since you didn’t have to press against the head to close it. Nope. Pretty barrettes with flowers on them – nope, pulled the hair. And there wasn’t really enough hair for cute ponytail holders. I’m nothing if not persistent, though, so I continued pressing on, striving towards that goal of a girl with no hair in her eyes.

I finally hit upon a genius compromise – headbands. I bought a handful of headbands in a rainbow of colors and nervously brought them before the queen. Once I wore one for a while and proved they wouldn’t pull her hair, she deigned to put one on. The first one only lasted a few minutes, but she gave it a grudging thumbs up, which was good enough for me.

4_to_6_weeks_197.jpgWe’ve been working on it daily and I can see real progress. The headbands are accepted easily now when we go to the park; she’s learned they really do help keep the hair off her face. They’ve been so embraced, in fact, that she now puts them on Elmo, her highest praise. I’ve cajoled her into a tiny adorable ponytail a couple times and if I can get her to forget about it she’ll leave it for hours. The hairclips, though, are still dragging along.

I’ve convinced her to wear her flowered barrettes a couple times, the most recently to church this past Sunday. When the girls in the worship band – who are her idols, by the way, since they sing on the microphone with Daddy and play guitar – saw Madeleine and gushed over her pretty hair clips, Maddie spent the rest of the time shyly touching her barrettes and smiling. Since then, we’ve had a couple days of the hair clips lasting for an hour or more.

So we’re slowly but steadily making progress. Now to teach her how to hold still while I braid.


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