I am my son’s lovey.
He never formed an attachment to a blankie or a stuffed animal, though I tried. No, he only wants my hair.
It’s long and brown, and I think he developed a particular affinity for it while breastfeeding. (Personally, I think I’m cultivating his future love of long-haired brunettes…or some sort of weird fetish that I’ll never want to know about.) He alternately plays with it, tickles himself with it and examines its texture like a scientist, and it soothes him immediately. It is completely sweet and lovely, and I will absolutely cry when he grows out of this stage.
Still, it’s not always practical to have Mommy’s hair available. I do occasionally leave his side. Really, only occasionally, but it does happen from time to time. And then there was the time I cut a few inches off. The horror! He didn’t notice the difference when he looked at me or when I was holding him. But we were trying to do some gentle sleep-training at the time, and I’d sit on the floor, next to the crib, while he caressed my hair. Since it was suddenly shorter, he had to yank it closer to him through the crib slats and really fuss with it for it to work for him, and well, that just kinda hurt. I won’t make that mistake again.
My husband and I joke about finding a toy with similar hair that he could latch onto. Maybe a doll, maybe a horse with a long tail. (I still think the latter would work really well.) Or a random braid of hair that I’d either get off my own head or at a random wig store.
Crazy? Maybe. But I met a mom recently who actually did that! I saw her little boy playing with a ratty old thing that looked like—ick—a really long, weirdly hairy rat’s tail. I asked her if it was what I thought it was (a lock of hair, not a rat’s tail), and indeed, it was. She was the only other mom I’d ever met whose son had the same obsession with hair, so I was fascinated, and we shared hair stories while waiting to be taken in for an appointment.
It really was a good idea, and it was interesting to hear that there were more little boys out there just like my son, but…it was still a little weird. I mean, what if you leave it out somewhere and someone who doesn’t know the backstory finds it? Um, that might be traumatic. And how do you wash it? Do you have to condition it to make sure it doesn’t turn into dreadlocks?
I don’t know. Too much to think about for something that’s, well, just on my head. Also, to be perfectly honest, I’m totally loving this while it lasts.
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