My daughter’s hair is out of control. It’s long, curly, fine, and all over the place. I haven’t been able to bring myself to cut it yet. More often than not, her hair resembles Gene Wilder’s in Young Frankenstein. I usually have to wrestle it into pigtails or a ponytail, lest she look like she got a little too curious with an electrical outlet.

My daughter has also had chronic cradle cap on her scalp, which drives me insane. Yes, it’s harmless. Yes, her hair covers it up most of the time but when she’s sitting on my lap I can see it while I run my fingers through her curls, and it drives me insane. I’ll sit there and try and pick some of it off like some sort of mother chimpanzee while she fusses and protests. I did a little bit of research the other week on toddler cradle cap, and one website helpfully suggested rubbing olive oil into her scalp, letting it sit, then loosening the scales (like she’s a lizard) with a comb.

So the other night during bathtime, I was armed with some olive oil from the kitchen. While Nellie was playing, I wetted her hair (which she hates) and gave her head a nice scrub with some shampoo. I figured I’d use the olive oil as sort of a conditioner. I rinsed her hair clean of the shampoo (from Nellie’s reaction, I think the water I use to rinse her head is actually acid) and then rubbed the olive oil into her scalp. Have you ever tried to rub anything into a naked, slippery toddler’s scalp? It’s not easy, especially when said toddler is protesting and sliding all around the tub like a greasy seal.

I digress. I got the olive oil in, let it set and then I started combing away her flakes. Much to my delight, they loosened easily and her scalp immediately looked better. I began the process of chasing her around the tub as she slipped and slid and yelled, “I MERMAID! I DOLPHIN! WHOAAAAA!” attempting to rinse her hair (again with the acid, or snake venom, or whatever my water is made of). Nellie wailed and thrashed and complained and after a few decent attempts at getting the olive oil out of her hair, I finally told her we were done and got her out of the tub.

We went about our normal nighttime routine and put her to bed. The next morning I greeted my pajama-clad girl with a hug and a kiss…

And then I saw her greasy little head and I jumped back slightly. It looked like someone had poured a vat of grease (or, you know. Olive oil) on the top of her head. It was then that I realized that after I had doused her head in olive oil, I had failed to do what the instructions on the internet had said, and that was to rinse it with shampoo again after combing the cradle cap flakes off.


“What’s wrong with Nellie’s hair?” Josh asked as he came into the room.
”Uh. I put some olive oil on her scalp to try and help with her flakes and also the tangles in her hair..”
”It looks awful.”
“Yes. I’m aware.”

I pulled her up into my lap and scooped her greasy curls toward the top of her head, winding a ponytail holder around them.
“There. That’s better.”
Josh gave me a side-eye and went to empty the garbage.

My girl went to school today dressed in a cute pink and plaid dress, Spider-Man shoes, and a head full of greasy hair that smells kind of like a salad. I had to explain to her teacher what had happened and that she wasn’t dirty; her mother was just an idiot.

Sorry, kiddo. Mom fail.

Mommy’s Log: Operation Sleep

Mommy’s Log, Star Date 07282010.

6:00 P.M. Mother in law drops self and child off at home after picking me up from work. Force child to take a nap in arms. Child fights, screams, kicks. Nothing out of the ordinary.
7:30 P.M. Wake child from nap and place in activity center. Prepare for bathtime and dinner for child.
8:00 P.M. Run to the store to retrieve forgotten sustenance for feline companions.
8:30 P.M. Initiate bedtime routine. Feed child.
8:45 P.M. Bathe child.
9:00 P.M. Wrap child up in pink swaddling contraption. Rub chest with thick, minty petroleum gel in hopes of combating chest congestion. Feed child bottle.
9:15-10:00 P.M. Fight child to sleep. Hold tight while child squirms, thrashes, writhes, and screams in arms. Bounce child in arms. This method works. Stop bouncing once child is asleep.
10:05 P.M. Note: if you stop bouncing, child will wake up.
10:15 P.M. Put child in car seat, still swaddled, in hopes the elevated position will help ease congestion. Set car seat on ottoman and rock ottoman with foot, making sure car seat does not topple off ottoman.
10:25 P.M. Method seems to be working.
10:27 P.M. Child is screaming. Method does not work.
10:30 P.M. Take car seat (with child still strapped in) into lavatory. Turn on hot shower in the attempt to loosen chest congestion. Place car seat on floor. Turn off lights. Sit on toilet while rocking car seat with leg.
10:34 P.M. Develop cramp in leg from rocking. Switch to other leg.
10:37 P.M. Rescue screaming child from car seat and inspect for snakes, which are also on fire. That is the only logical thing that could cause child to scream at such an alarming decibel.
10:38 P.M. Upon inspection, there are no flaming snakes in car seat. Curious.
10:45 P.M. Make child a bottle for comfort. Not probable that child is hungry, as she consumed 8 ounces of formula approximately an hour and a half prior.
11:00 P.M. Transferred sleeping child to crib. Child drank all 4 ounces hungrily and eagerly.
11:07 P.M. All is quiet. Child was hungry the whole time. You are an idiot.

Signing out,


My First Mommy Fail

Nellie was born with talons. I’m serious. Her nails were longer than mine at birth. She even managed to scratch her own face upon eviction.. Kid’s got talent.

Needless to say after watching her scratch herself several times a few days after birth, I had to get down and dirty with the dreaded nail clippers. I sat with her on our glider and with fear and trepidation, I took her tiny hand in mine and got to work. It took me a while, but I successfully clipped her nails to where she wouldn’t scratch herself anymore. Success!

……This kid must be getting sneaking calcium supplements, because just a few short days later, the claws were back and she was right back to scratching and sticking her fingers in her eyes (why do they do that? What the heck? That CAN’T be comfortable.) so with a sigh, I decided it was time to get those scratchers clipped again. I put her in her swing (turned the swing off, of course. It’s hard enough to see those baby nails without having to hit a moving target) and waited until she fell asleep. Then I crept in front of her, grasped her bitty little baby hand and got to clippin’.

The first hand went fine. She didn’t even stir. I clipped those little nails with a deft and expert hand. Confidently, I moved onto her other hand. She wrapped her sweet, tiny little fingers around my one and my heart oozed with love (seriously ya’ll, little babies wrapping all of their fingers around your one is just amazing.. Even moreso if it’s YOUR kid doing it). I carefully got to work and was having success once again.

Then I got to the thumbnail. I grasped her finger, positioned the clipper and beared down.

Nellie’s eyes flew open, her lower lip stuck out and her face screwed up. She opened her mouth and sucked in several breaths and began to BAWL. And this wasn’t an, “I’m hungry”, “I’m pooping”, or “You’ve got a lot of nerve putting me down in my cradle and expecting me to sleep” cry. No, if I ever wondered what the cry of a pained baby sounded like, I didn’t have to wonder any longer. I had just pinched the shit out of my daughter’s finger, ya’ll. I threw the clippers aside, grabbed my baby and pulled her to me. She was sobbing, I was crying and apologizing profusely. “I’m so sorry, baby! I’m so sorry!” I wailed as she whimpered and sniffed. I felt like the World’s Worst Mother, guys. I know I’m not the first one to do this and I won’t be the last, but ya’ll… I had just inflicted pain on my daughter. Accidentally or not, I caused my sweet tiny baby girl pain. One of the people she trusts in most in this world! Me! Her mother! It was awful. I was able to calm her down relatively quickly but every time I look at her thumb there is an angry little red mark to remind me of my Mommy Fail.

Oh, my heart. This mommy thing isn’t easy ya’ll, when they cry from pain it feels like someone’s ripping your heart out of your chest and rubbing it over a cheese grater that’s covered in lemon juice. It’s even worse when you are the cause of their pain. Ugh!