A Hairy Dilemma

Sarah Meyers by Sarah Meyers Additional Needs

Sarah Meyers

Sarah Meyers

I'm the mum of two beautiful, vibrant, opinionated girls, one of whom has a complex, life-limiting condition. Living in Australia (a place I'd neve...

Hair. It’s more than just a head covering. It is something that sets us apart as individuals. It can reflect your personality and how others see you.

You can have a bad hair day, a blonde moment or let your hair down.

Hair is part of your identity.

Hair can also be a major life challenge. Especially when you have a child with additional needs.

My daughter Z has hair that is as crazy and unpredictable as she is. Her hair is thick and wild and grows in a million different directions.

It defies hair clips and buns and all but the strongest and stretchiest of hair bands.

Z’s wild and crazy hair is one of the things I love about her. It makes me smile and it truly seems to reflect her personality. I would never want to change it.

Managing Z’s hair is hard, however.

She hates having it washed. Or dried. And she particularly hates having it brushed. Surprisingly, she isn’t too bad when it comes to haircuts, but she will get cranky and wiggly if they last for more than 2 minutes.

To make matters worse, Z pulls her hair when she becomes upset or frustrated.

At its worst, this has left her with bald spots, but more commonly these days, it just means that her hair is shorter (and thinner) on one side than the other.

Z also prefers to spend her time lying down, which coupled with her tendency to dribble, means she usually has hair stuck to the side of her face.

Add a head cold to that mix and the hair is cemented onto her face.

She gets terrible knots in her hair as a result of rolling or rubbing her hair.

I’m pretty sure the neighbours have come close to calling the police on the occasions I’ve tried to brush the knots out.

I am constantly at a loss about how to style her hair. I’ve tried several styles throughout the years, an undercut being the most successful.

However, as she gets older, Z now has her own opinions about how her hair should look. For her last haircut, I was hopeful she would agree to cut it short (“like Mummy’s hair!”) – not realising no self-respecting seven-year-old wants the same hairstyle as their mother.

Instead she used her communication book to declare she wanted “long hair”. Sigh. We compromised on a bob.

However, no matter what style we choose, we always seem to come back to a “palm tree” type ponytail on the top of her head to keep her hair out of her eyes.

I don’t think we will ever get rid of the palm tree ponytail because it is the only thing preventing her from looking like Cousin It from the Addams Family.

I’ve resolved to think of it as her signature style now.

So, it looks like my future will continue to include industrial amounts of spray conditioner, strong and stretchy hair bands and apologies to the neighbours when a vigorous brushing becomes unavoidable.

At least the palm tree style provides the opportunity to buy her lots of cute hair clips and accessories for Christmas.

And for Halloween, she can always go as Cousin It…

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