It seems there is an issue re: my child that needs to be addressed. Actually, it’s not that this issue needs to be addressed, it’s that people will not stop addressing it. That issue: My daughter, who is now 16-months of age, is bald.
Before she was born, I wished and hoped and crossed my fingers that she would inherit my husband’s hair. Thick, full, jet black hair. I’d kill for that and I wanted to save her the jail time. When she arrived with a head of thin black hair, I was relieved. She kept that hair for a couple of months, long enough for my husband and I to think that she would escape baby-pattern baldness. It even grew out a little in the back. Then one day I noticed short black strands being left behind in the bassinet. The cat was also known to leave behind short black strands, and I hoped the hair was his, but I knew he didn’t like the bassinet. Eventually she lost all the hair in a gradual and nearly unnoticeable process. I can’t tell you at what point she became bald, but only now are we starting to see new strands covering her head.
I’d say her baldness is one of the most popular topics of inane conversation with strangers, along with comments on her cuteness and petiteness. “Oh she’s so tiny!” and “What a doll!” are frequently bandied about. Once a very enthusiastic waitress went on and on about how she loved bald babies because she and her sister and her nephews were all bald babies. I found that weird, though not as weird as the time when a grown man sitting near us in a restaurant asked me if I delivered her naturally.
As any mother will tell you, wherever the baby goes, so goes the peanut gallery. Most often the comments I get are from people who know her, wondering just when she is going to get hair. (Indeed, inquiries as to what has or has not come out of my Downton Abbey are exceedingly rare.) I know no one is being mean when they makes these comments, but it still puts me on the defensive. “No, look at her head,” I say. “It’s getting darker. You can see her hair is starting to grow in!” “Uh-huh, sure,” the other person will say with an eye roll.
Of course, the other side of this is the baby with a lot of hair. My friend had a baby that came out with thick, wavy, black hair that turned into beautiful ringlets (never succumbing to baby-pattern baldness) and she must deal with people actually touching her child’s head without permission and asking her if it’s a perm. The peanut gallery will not be denied.
I think there are many things about babyhood and toddler-dom that come and go that will not be remembered unless written in a baby book or blog, but some things are destined to be permanent and easily recalled. Daily conversations about a baby’s hair or lack thereof ensure it a place in long-term memory. Just ask my parents, who still tell tales of their own bald baby who was follicle-challenged until she was two.
So Sonja, I do apologize for passing along my hair genes, but we’ll get through this. When you do get hair, I’ll help you with it. I’ve learned a few tricks over the years. But should you ever get tired of taking care of it and start thinking, like I did, about the pixie cut, you don’t have to worry about it. I guarantee you it will look fantastic on you.