Monday, April 29, 2013

a new era...

It's been quite a momentous week for us in the world of alopecia.

We've reached a new era.

For months now, my daughter has CONSTANTLY played dress-up, always adorning herself with these ratted-up Dollar Store hair extension pieces.  She would ask me to braid them and she'd literally spend hours styling them and playing with them.

Seriously, around the house, she was always wearing one of those things.  You could possibly call it borderline obsession.  :)  She has had so much fun pretending she had hair!

So it wasn't a huge surprise when she began asking me if she could wear those nasty hair pieces out of the house.   (to which I said no.  Call me a mean mommy, I don't care.)

But the bottom line was,

It was time.

You know, I wish there was a manual on "How to parent a little girl with alopecia."  I can honestly say this was never on my radar when I became a mama.  I never thought I'd face issues like when-to-buy-hair for my daughter's bald head!

And if I'm going to be completely honest with you all, it kind of makes me angry that I have to.

I've come to accept the bald.  So why can't we leave things the way they are??

But alas, there is no manual.  There are only other people's opinions and your own mama instinct.

And even though I personally was not ready for this new era,

for my daughter's sake,

I knew it was finally time.

So our first wig came in the mail this week.

This little gal was beside herself to have the long hair she so desperately wanted.

Um, who IS this child?

The first glance at herself in the bathroom mirror.

She couldn't stop laughing with excitement.  

Marc and I celebrated with her.

And shed a few tears together when she wasn't looking.

What a strange, surreal moment for us.

Happy to see her SO happy.

But emotional at this new phase in our journey with alopecia.

Not only do I have the task of learning how to do my black son's hair, but now I must also learn the ins and outs of WIGS!  (Had anyone told me this when I got married almost fourteen years ago, I would've thought you were crazy.)

Here's the low-down on the wig, in case any of you are wondering...

This wig is synthetic hair, (much, much cheaper than the human hair wigs) and it can be washed with water and special cleanser and conditioner made specifically for synthetic hair.  It can't take any heat like blow drying or curling iron, though.  I got this wig stand for it to "rest" on.  So weird.

I've gotta admit, I keep wondering, does it look real on her?  Do people think it's real?  But then Marc reminds me, "Amy, most people are not looking at our child and thinking she's wearing a WIG.  They're going to assume it's real from the get-go."

Maybe that's one reason this is so hard for me to process-- it's easy to answer questions when my child's head is bald.  Alopecia is just "out there."  It feels we're being more real and honest.  (which is the way I'm most comfortable rolling in life...)

But walking around town with my child wearing a wig?  I feel a little like we're in hiding.  In a weird way.  What happens on the day when Jameson yanks it off of her in public?

Of course, she doesn't care.  She's going up to store salespeople and anyone she can find to talk to and says, "I'm wearing a WIG!" and not one of them knows quite how to react to that statement.  (Honestly, I wouldn't either!  Who even has categories for that?!)

So I guess I'm saying things feel a bit backwards right now.  She's covered up with a wig, yet still being open about her baldness.  (which is GREAT and I don't want it to ever be a shameful or secretive thing!)

I just don't know how to handle it all just yet.

Neither does anyone else.

Navigating unchartered territory.

But while I'm trying to emotionally process this huge change, SHE is in heaven wanting to wear this thing non-STOP!   This was the style she wanted on this particular day.  Sweet, isn't it?  I can't believe I skipped the last three years of doing a single hair-do, and now I've suddenly got to throw myself into it.

She says the wig feels "cozy" and does not itch or hurt.   But she's not used to having hair in her face, or having to think about keeping it out of her food, though, so she's learning some of the drawbacks to hair, too.

Around the house this week, she is spending most of her hours making up for lost time.  :)  She just can't put enough clips and bows in the thing.  

Today she wanted a big ponytail and two clips to wear out.

She loved it.

So here we are... a new era of alopecia.

Exciting, scary, unknown.

But one thing is for sure:

I love this gal.

AND this one, too.
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  1. I just showed Jess the pics and asked if she liked Caroline with the wig or without the wig, and she said: "I like her with the wig AND without the wig." No joke, first reaction. :)

  2. It will be "old hat" when people get used to her. It's an adjustment to make for everyone to see her with hair when it has been 4 years without it. Give people time to adjust. They are getting used to it just like she is. Love you and praying for you. She is beautiful either way. Love you Caroline.

  3. I can hardly stand how much I love the pictures of Caroline looking at herself in the mirror!