Last month, back when I was baring my soul and confessing to more quirky things I'm guilty of, I admitted that I flick or twirl my hair. By "flick" I mean that I grab a small section of hair about a half-inch from the ends and hold between my pointer finger and thumb while rubbing the ends with my middle finger. I almost exclusively do this odd habit with my left hand and it's something I've done for as long as I can remember. I have a very vivid memory from when I was probably around five or six years old. My mom, brother and I went to Rub's to visit my dad at work, and while standing around waiting for my parents and the owner of the car dealership to end their conversation, my dad's boss turned to me and, with a twinkle in his eye and smile and on his face, said, "You know, I used to do that to my hair too. Now look at me". I think those of you who remember Howard (and his shiny bald head) will understand when I tell you that little statement freaked me out right good.
Anyway, it seems as though whatever DNA causes me to do this silly little quirk has been passed along to Punkin. She's been a finger sucker since about three months old, and at two-and-half years old still sucks on the ring and middle finger of her left hand. She really only does this when she's tired, falling asleep or extremely bored (like in the car), and until recently she also pulled at her afghan at the same time. She's moved away from pulling at the threads of her blanket and has replaced that with twirling and pulling the hair on the top of her head.
As a result she's starting to create a rather disturbing (to me, anyway) bald patch. At this point it's not so much bald as it is a thinning of the hair; it's not too noticeable and you can't really tell at all if her hair is pulled up in pigtails. Her already thin (and unruly) hair is taking a beating though with this hair pulling, and if you rub her head in the right places you can feel tiny hairs growing in where she's previously pulled them out.
I'm a bit panicked about this turn of events, worried that at this rate she'll be truly bald before Christmas. I'm also concerned because I'm not sure how to break her of this habit. Therefore, as I am prone to do in times of parental crisis, I'm turning to all of you.
Any tips or tricks for getting her to stop pulling at her hair? Should I be worried about it or just let it go?
Also, in another mother-daughter connection, my little Punkin is a compulsive nail biter. I haven't had to trim her nails in months because she's constantly chewing on them, another gross habit I was guilty of until I was out of high school (and okay, maybe I haven't totally outgrown the nail biting). Now that I'm thinking about all this, I'm doubly panicked wondering what kind of mother I am to cause my little girl to exhibit such anxiety-ridden behaviors!
So let's hear it, folks. What tips do you have for me? We've moved away from disrobing and poo slinging and now I need help before my baby looks like Elmer Fudd.