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Hair apparent

I’ve talked about Olivia’s gorgeous hair before, and how much trouble it has been for me to cut it.

It still hasn’t been cut.


But, the time, it is drawing near. Every day is a struggle to brush, fix and have it look like someone cares about her and not give the impression she is a street urchin. It’s a fine line, people. Still, she does not want to get it cut.

Andrea, over at Silence and Noise, wrote a post recently about donating her hair. It got me thinking.

I talked to a friend of mine, who told me instead of some other organizations that are known for hair donation, I should look into Pantene Beautiful Lengths as the requirements are a little more relaxed, and we would only need to cut 8 inches of hair, instead of the 10-12 inches other places ask for.

I’m still mulling it over. I want Olivia to want to do this, not for me to say “okay, we’re going to get your hair cut, and I’m donating it.” I mean. It’s her hair. She grew it.

This involves explaining to her what we want to do and why we are doing it. I’m still finding the right words. It’s such a delicate issue with someone so small, and I don’t want to scare her or make her sad about something that is such an awesome thing to do.

I told her, “Sometimes, when people get sick, very sick, not just a cold or stomachache, they have to take medicine that makes them lose their hair. If we give them the hair you no longer need, they can have a pretty nice wig of hair until their new hair grows back.”

She looked at me and said “But, I like my hair, I don’t want to give it away, because then I won’t have it anymore.”

I explained how much I hated it when she cried if I accidentally pulled her hair, and it has gotten so long, I am sure there are hidden curls underneath the weight of her hair, and if we cut some off, maybe we could see more curly hair. I then explained how her hair would grow back, no matter how much we cut it, just like her fingernails and toenails.

She looked at me quizzically and said “That’s silly. If I cut my hair it won’t come back.”

“This is true” I said “You will grow new hair.”

“Hmmm…that’s an idea, mama…but I’m not sure.”

So we’re still mulling it over.

I think a decision has to be made before too long.

But whatever we decide, there is one curl, one particular chunk of curl that is a bit longer than the rest.

That one is mine.

Hey! It’s progress! I had originally told Bill I was taking a gallon sized freezer bag and saving all of it.

I mean, look at it, wouldn’t you?

Sorry for the quality of the last picture, it’s a tiny portion of a bigger one, so it’s slightly blurrier than I like.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to encourage my girl to donate her hair, or ways to educate her on this process, please, let me know!

15 comments to Hair apparent

  • morgan

    hmmmmm…i have no idea how to encourage her to donate her hair. she makes a good argument 🙂 maybe there is a children’s book about cancer and then maybe your explanation would make more sense since it’s now a tangible thing?
    not much help cause i cut vincent’s hair when he was since months so people would stop telling me how beautiful my daughter was 🙂
    good luck! she has gorgeous hair!


    Natalie Reply:

    I was thinking of finding a book. I just want to tread lightly. I think the longer I waited, the more I just couldn’t do it. Now it has reached epic proportions and the idea of donating it is making it easier for me to process, because we aren’t throwing her hair away, we’re doing something good with it and it will live on in a wig. Which, sounds weird, but it helps me. ;o)


  • Claire

    I am absolutely amazed by how long her hair is!!! And so pretty too. What a lucky girl. Poor Laura has never been able to get her hair much longer than past her shoulders. It is a weird combo of wavy/curly (like mine) with some Asian texture thrown in (thanks Daddy!) and is completely unmanageable no matter how short it is. So I feel your pain, believe me.

    Maybe you can show Olivia the pictures of Laura on Facebook when she got her hair cut really short a few summers ago (with the caveat that of course Olivia doesn’t have to cut her hair THAT short) and then show her the pictures of Laura now as proof that it does grow back! As far as convincing her to donate, that might be a losing battle at this age. It’s hard for adults to cut off that much hair, so I can only imagine how big of a deal it might seem to someone Olivia’s age.

    If she’s that adamant, you might have to settle for less of a trim or go the route of exercising your right as Mommy to say it simply must be done. I hate doing that to Laura, but sometimes it’s the only way. Be sure to remind her how nice and cool she’ll be in the summer time with less hair! I suppose that wasn’t much help, but then again I’m very inexperienced in the area of a child with long hair 🙂


    Natalie Reply:

    You’re probably right about me having to throw my mama weight in the ring. I just wanted her to WANT to do it, so she didn’t harbor feelings of resentment b/c I made her do something she didn’t want to do, thereby causing the good deed to be clouded in anger. I’m still traumatized by the fact I wanted to cut ALL MY HAIR OFF and my mom let me when I was 10. It was awful. I hold her partly responsible 😉

    But, I am probably totally overthinking it. Totally.

    I will definitely show her before/after pictures of Laura, that would probably help her. Thanks!


  • You could broach it with her in a non-sick way, and tell her that some kids are born with a condition that makes their hair fall out. That way the intention is the same, but without the people-are-dying angle? I knew a woman in college who had the most amazing collection of wigs – she’d suffered from alopecia since she was a kid.

    Either way, I love those curls at the bottom!


    Natalie Reply:

    I had thought about going that route and I may revisit it, because she’s such an inquisitive child, it might help make the whole issue become easier for me, as every answer is always thrown back at me with a new question. At least the short answer is that no one dies because of alopecia (at least, that I’ve heard of).


  • Merry Beth

    I donate my hair to Locks-of-Love, but I can understand donating elsewhere, cause they are kinda strict. I started doing it after my mom went through chemo. She has beautiful hair, which would make someone a beautiful wig and it does grow back (that’s more for you mama!!). Maybe assure her that her hair would be going to help another little girl who had lost her hair (I’m sure someone other then Locks does children’s wigs). Or it could be going to help collect oil spills and save animals and birds. Just a few ideas, I’d do a little more research so that when you broach the subject again you are well prepared for the munchkins intelligent questions!!


    Natalie Reply:

    Unfortunately it was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment type thing, so I didn’t do my research or prepare. Which was a MISTAKE. One which I will not be making again :o) Thanks for the info though, I know Locks-of-love is the popular choice, but I thought maybe I would go a different route, as 12 inches of hair is a LOT.


  • Well, you could take her to visit the children’s ward of a local hospital, but if you do I wouldn’t mention the hair in connection. It’s a nice thing to do anyway.

    But if it was me, I would just let her keep it. It’s gorgeous and she loves it, and when she’s older she’ll appreciate your giving her the gift of her hair even more. I have always regretted never having long hair, so I sort of sympathize with here…


    Natalie Reply:

    Luckily, her hair is SO long that cutting 8 inches (which is minimum requirement w/ the pantene program) will still leave her hair that is part way down her back, so she will definitely have long hair even after the donation.

    I do love her long hair and will allow her to keep it as long as she wants it, when SHE is the one combing and styling it. I hate feeling like I am torturing her, so a small cut is necessary sometime soon. Which could be in a month, or two…or this weekend. Whenever she feels she is ready.


  • Ani

    Maybe you can explain to her that she needs to get it cut in order for new hair to grow; with every haircut, you grow healthier hair.


    Natalie Reply:

    That was one of my selling points! I talked to her again tonight, and I think she is on board, as long as I get my hair cut too, which was a suggestion from a friend on FB.


  • I am so happy that my post made you think of this! I think the book idea is good. I know you guys go to the library a lot and your girls are into books, so it would be a familiar and simple way to explain all these very complex issues surrounding hair donation. I think it will just be a matter of time until she understands that it will grow back and all those things that seem so scary when you are little. Maybe you can lead by example and donate something you really like and take Olivia with you so she understands the implications of giving something you love to people who need it? I find that, in many situations, my son’s actions strongly mirror mine (or his dad’s) so if she saw you donating, she might feel it’s “safe” and would want to do it to be like her mom! Good luck. Would love to know how this turns out 🙂


    Natalie Reply:

    My hair isn’t long enough for donating, but I am going to go get it cut with her, and we’ve talked a lot about how we donate her toys to children who don’t have as much as she does, so she is definitely coming around.

    I’m definitely checking the library tomorrow!


  • […] stressed over it, wrote about it, even cried a little bit about it. But in the end, it wasn’t as traumatic for either mama or […]

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