Friday, February 23, 2007

The Mystery Of The Missing Red Hair

My wife went into my four and a half year-old daughter's room one morning and looked at her quizzically, trying to figure out what was different with her. After a few moments, my daughter broke down crying with her head in her hands.

"I cut my hair, Mommy. I thought it would only cut paper."

Cut her hair is just what she had done, and why she appeared odd to my wife. She had taken a good hunk of her bangs off; bangs that my wife said had taken two years to grow in.

I asked my daughter about it when I returned home that evening. Upon my request, my daughter, looking clearly regretful, showed me where she had hidden the scissors she used to cut her hair.

"Where did you hide the hair?"

"I forgot."

"If you remembered where you hid the scissors, you must have remembered where you hid your hair."

"I forgot, Daddy."

I tried every argument and interrogation tactic under the sun. Sometimes I played the good cop and sometimes the bad cop but she just would not break under pressure. I searched the house from top to bottom looking under cushions, behind furniture, and even in her toys, but to no avail. I would even randomly ask her where she hid the hair every day afterward to see if I could catch her at a weak moment.

"Did you flush the hair down the toilet"


"Where did you hide the hair?"

"I forgot."

So here we are, more than a week later and I still haven't found the hair. It remains a mystery yet to be solved.

Exhibit 1: The scissors

UPDATE: My daughter brought a handful of red hair to me on Sunday morning and said she found it on the carpet. Case closed.


At February 23, 2007 at 10:07:00 AM EST, Blogger Akiva said...

When searching, we always look from our perspective. For example, rarely would you check the tops of bookshelves, they're just out of visual range and associated thought.

Get down on your daughter's physical level for an hour (just sit on the floor around where she hangs out) and her corners and niches will come into view.

At February 23, 2007 at 10:13:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Akiva: This is an excellent suggestion and one of the first things I did.

Since I am 6'4" I can't even see things on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator when my wife insists that they are there. I always tell her, "You have to remember that I am a giraffe."

At February 23, 2007 at 11:16:00 AM EST, Anonymous shoshana (bershad) said...

This reminds me of the time I was babysitting a friend's kids, and, while I was changing the baby's diaper, her 7-year-old son cut my 7-year-old daughter's hair--fortunately, at the back of her head. When the Mom came back, she told me that her son was never allowed to use scissors, not even the kids' safety kind in your picture, so "naturally" he was fascinated with them. I'm glad your daughter is learning early about the use and misuse of familiar tools.

My thoughts on your situation: by questioning your daughter repeatedly, for over a week, you're perhaps distorting the issue's significance and making her fear punishment for her natural curiosity. She wasn't being naughty when she used the scissors on her hair; she was just experimenting, and now she thinks she somehow committed a crime. The location of the hair isn't really important, is it? Eventually, it will turn up (or not). This sounds to me like a control issue, but even if you eventually prevail, your daughter will learn the power of keeping secrets. As kids grow, you simply can't know everything about their lives, but you want them to feel free to tell you about the troubles they get themselves into.

Besides, your daughter is probably feeling bad about damaging her hair's appearance; I'd offer sympathy and reassurance that the hair will soon grow back, and then let the matter drop.

At February 23, 2007 at 11:56:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Shoshana (Bershad): Excellent advice. I will take your suggestion and drop it now.

...well at least it made for a good story.

At February 23, 2007 at 12:05:00 PM EST, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

Over time, I've become convinced that some lost objects actually cease to exist (on earth at least) and later resume their existence.


As a kid on Staten Island I was about to go to the public library but couldn't find my library card. I looked and looked, paying the most attention to one area on the living room bookshelf. No dice.

Finally, I decided I would take the bus to the library anyhow and get a new card while I was there.
They were happy to make me a new card but asked me to pay for it (25 cents, I think), which I had not expected. So I got the card but now lacked enough bus fare and had to trudge home about 2 to 3 miles, much of it up a steep hill.

When I got home, my mother happily told me she had found my lost card, right there on the part of the bookshelf where I had looked the hardest!

So I suggest that you periodically revisit the areas where the hair didn't turn up.

At February 23, 2007 at 12:11:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Interesting theory.

I am convinced my mother has "magical" powers to find lost objects. Once I called my mom and told her that I lost my wallet. She asked me if I checked behind the bathroom door. When I went and looked, it was right there!

At February 23, 2007 at 12:46:00 PM EST, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

Well, Pesach cleaning is almost upon us, so...

My friend's wife was just cleaning behind her couch and found a pile of hair (much to her surprise). After questioning the kids, she found out that the 4.5 year old cut some of her own and siblings hair (including a little of the not-yet-3-year-old boy).

At February 23, 2007 at 12:51:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Yes, lets hope she didn't sprinkle bread crumbs in her hair before she did it or I wil have some real problems! ;)

My wife was telling me about a friend whose two year-old son would take slices of deli meat from the refrigerator and drop them down behind bookcases which would only be found once they starting stinking.

And yes, I too cut my hair when I was about six or seven with a similar pair of scissors. I probably was even more mischevious than my daughter.

At February 23, 2007 at 12:52:00 PM EST, Anonymous zezmir said...

If you really wanna know, you could try what any good spy would do:
1. Paying for the info
2. Hypnosis

At February 23, 2007 at 1:42:00 PM EST, Anonymous shoshana (bershad) said...

ASJ: Aha! The truth comes out! ;-)

OK, if you really want to find that hair, look: 1) in the laundry hamper; 2) under the bed; 3) in her underwear drawer.

(But do your sleuthing when Daughter isn't home!)

At February 23, 2007 at 1:43:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

I will be sure to check them out...but shhh! don't tell anyone.

At February 23, 2007 at 1:47:00 PM EST, Anonymous zezmir said...

When I was a kid I used to peel up the corner and stick things under the carpet...

At February 23, 2007 at 1:50:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Zezmir: And I used to hide my home work under my bed when I was in junior high school. When my mom changed my sheets she uncovered a big pile of paper and I sure got in trouble.

At February 23, 2007 at 4:58:00 PM EST, Blogger der ewige Jude said...

The Little Rebbetzin also cut her own hair, but she had added it to her collection shelf. She also trimmed one of our cats whiskers. It took Mrs. Jude and I a while to figure out why Pippin (the cat) was looking a little odd. Usually we discover missing objects have been stashed inside backpacks and purses. Mrs. Jude discovered a missing coin inside the hallway nightlight. On one of our trips to Florida the L.R. had brought along a pink plastic car with a openable trunk. About the second day there my earplugs vanished. Mrs. Jude and the L.R. are very noisy sleepers. About a week later and after purchasing a new pair of earplugs so that I too could sleep, Mrs. Jude overherd the L.R. say something about "the luggage" while playing with her car. Sure enough stuffed into a corner on either side of the car trunk were the earplugs.
Gut Shabbos

At February 24, 2007 at 11:18:00 PM EST, Blogger Batya said...

It probably just blew away. G-d's saving it.

At February 25, 2007 at 11:20:00 AM EST, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

Since I am 6'4"

Hah, at 7'2 I make you look like a little pisher. ;)

On a tangent, my son stuck his gum in his sister's hair. That is how she was forced to get her first hair cut.

At February 25, 2007 at 11:34:00 AM EST, Anonymous Neshama said...

Tell her a "story" about a little girl who goes to the beauty shop with her mother, and they both get their hair 'trimmed', styled and made to look beautiful. And how the little girl brings home the locks from HER FIRST HAIRCUT to put under her pillow that night [note association between 'trimmed' and 'beautiful' to implant the positive]. Then let a few days go by and then ask your inquisitive daughter where she would hide something very special that she didn't want anyone in the world to find. That's all, just ask, nothing more, then be busy with something else.
Perhaps, she will remember herself and then volunteer the missling locks.

Hope all is going well. Get ready for more snow.

At February 25, 2007 at 2:53:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Der Ewige Jude, Batya, Jack, and Neshama: Thanks for all your feedback. As you have probably seen now, the case has been solved :)

At February 26, 2007 at 12:43:00 AM EST, Anonymous Pre-School Teacher (Mrs. Space Cadet) said...

Just be thankful that she didn't play barber on her friend's hair -- as one little girl did in my school, much to the horror of her mother. The other little girl's long blonde locks lay on the floor as if she had just gone to boot camp!

A week later, after having being duly punished, the same aspiring young barber gave her two year old brother a premature upsheren...

At February 28, 2007 at 8:46:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Mrs. Space Cadet: Oy! I will keep her away from her brother's long blonde hair.

It is an honor to have you comment here as well!


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