Last night I had to cut off all my little girl's hair.
Just writing that makes me feel a bit sick.
She's not ill or anything particularly horrible but since the move she has started to pull out her hair, particularly when we're in the car. She seems to have adjusted fairly well to the new house, except for this bit of anxious behavior she has picked up. We mentioned this to her doctor at her last visit and she suggested that we keep an eye on it for two reasons. 1) Kids that do this for a prolonged period of time can make it habit that follows them later in life, and 2) often kids will eat the hair, which can causes blockages in their stomach and sometimes require surgery. The doctor said that if she didn't stop after a couple of weeks it might be a good idea to cut her hair off so that she can no longer pull at it and most kids forget about doing it by the time the hair grows back. It's one of those "do something little know to save yourself something more drastic later" fixes, but it still feels horrible.
The worst part of it is that the dark side of my brian is whispering that it's as much my fault as the move. My hectic schedule recently has meant that I'm not around as much when she is awake as I was a few months ago. I've had to travel here and there; I've had to work on weekends. Prior to moving this wasn't a big deal, but I wonder if the added anxiety hasn't just pushed her a little further than before. She started sucking her finer (not thumb, for some reason) as a comfort thing over the summer while I was away, which might just be coincidence or might be another reflection of anxiety. There's no way to tell, which makes it easy to assume blame.
I know a lot of parents who travel as much or far more than I do with no apparent affect on their kids, but I'm not sure how that knowledge helps. I also know that have at least two more trips this fall that I am now looking forward to like one anticipates being tasered. Maybe it doesn't matter... maybe.
Yes, it's nothing serious and I am grateful that I am not faced with a bigger issue. I'm also probably reading too much into everything as a first-time parent. But neither of those two thoughts helped me last night while blonde locks fell past a quizzical expression on my daughter's face.
I bring this up mainly because I think many of us face the dilemma of balancing the interest of our kids with that of our job, and sometimes you get thrown a curveball that you don't know how to handle. Hopefully this will be a story we will laugh about in ten years.