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How Do I get my 10 Month Old to Stop Pulling My Hair?

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I’ve noticed a worrisome behavior in my boy.

Over the last two months or so, he’s been pulling my hair and totally enjoying it lots, much to my dismay. Usually I have my hair tied up in a ponytail, the perfect fodder for him to pull at. He grabs at the ponytail and pulls it hard, naturally resulting in me wincing and begging for mercy that he ‘please just let go of mummy’s hair’. Sometimes he catches me unaware and pulls it so suddenly and so hard I feel my neck almost snapping.

Right now that I’m in braids it’s even worse as the pulling act has been heightened a notch higher. It’s so much easier for him to pull and tag at the individual braids, yanking them from side to side and making my head move in rhythmic side to side motion. And me wincing in pain as he does so. It really does hurt my friends I tell you.

I have tried all that I can to stop him trust me.

I have said “Ouch, Kitty that hurts!” as I struggle to free his grip from my hair. but he looks up at me and smiles cheekily, thinking it’s a game we’re playing. Then when I smack his hand, he chuckles some more.

I have tried offering him an alternative to play with – my phone, a toy, a spoon – but no, he wants MY HAIR! And he begins screaming when I remove my hair from his hand, as though I were taking away his favorite toy.

I have tried telling him a firm: “NO don’t pull mommy’s hair because she feels pain” but clearly it’s been falling on deaf ears.

As a last resort I tell him in a no-nonsense voice that ‘mummy will chapa toto’ if he pulls my hair again. And then noticing my change in tone of voice and serious facial expression, he begins crying – the kind of cry that means I’ve slighted him. Awwww woiye my Kitty don’t cry:(

But I have recently been comforted in knowing that I’m not alone. 8 month old Zoe pulls her mum’s dread-locked hair too. Like seriously pulling and tagging at it. So bad it is that she actually comes out with a dread or two (OUCH!). It does’t help that Mama Zoe’s hair is already lose around the edges courtesy of breastfeeding, so when Zoe pulls it, it surely does come off.

As a result of Zoe’s pulling, her mom’s dreads have become so loose, to the extent she wakes up in the morning only to find a dread or two on the pillow. Wololo yaye!

Would you believe that Mama Zoe has now been forced to cut off her dreads? The one’s shed patiently, lovingly grown and nurtured for 10 years! Because she had bald patches sprinkled all over her head and this was not making her dreadlock hairstyle look very nice. Okay maybe my situation is not so bad afterall.

Not all bad though because Mama Zoe is now sporting this funky look, that nice natural short curly hairstlye which she has colored red. She looks good.

Me, I’m not brave enough to cut my hair. So I’ll just continue to bear the pain of Kitty’s pulls. Or anyone with a better solution?

PS: Here is more on Mama Zoe.

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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Awwww ua kitty looks soo handsome, is he rocking a mohawk?.my lil man is 3months old and is learning to grasp things, when i hold him up he grabs a dreadlock or two n grabs it real tight, hope i wount have to cut them, sometimes i put on a headscarf to save my poor dreadlocks but when i remember my lil man’s smile when hez grabbing them and am screaming in pain, i let him grab them for a while…..you could try a headscarf

  2. @Joselyn when they say ‘total lifestyle change’, I guess they refer to motherhood? We stop doing some of the things we loved doing because of the little tots!

  3. @Lillian hehe Kitty’s hairstyle metamorphoses daily. I’ve never cut it since birth, so mara it’s a mohawk, mara a pank, mara it’s half-bald, mara it’s a box…I gave up trying to figure it out. But I’m not about to cut it anytime soon -I love it just the way it is. Oh yes, the headscarf thing -why hadn’t I ever thought of that? Thanks!

  4. Yes Mama Kitty, 10 years of not worrying about what to do to my hair apart from the usual maintenance! I hold no grudge though:) Her new thing is currently pulling at my earrings… And does she love it when I scream with the unexpected pain. Or she’ll wear this look of “But what is wrong with you ma?”!

  5. LOL @ Kandi.. ati Kitty is rocking a mohawk!!!! And yes, these two women lived in the kitchen…. if not talking, they had to be chewing.. And its not gum!!

  6. My goodness, so i finally ‘meet’ some one with a baby named Zoe, like i do, and has dreadlocks like i do. Plus had to cut them short post baby. Excited. I recently began reading Mummy Tales

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