10 Signs that Washing Your Toddler’s Hair is Traumatizing Her

10 Signs that Washing Your Toddler’s Hair is Traumatizing Her

Nai-hurta – from the Latin, meaning pain or discomfort exhibited during the act of pouring water and soap on the head and limbs of a screaming toddler.


Nai is toddler speak for a persistent no

Hurta from the origin hurtum, meaning I will blame you for any difficulty in my life because that shampoo label is lying when it says, “no-tears formula.”


People have been bathing since Cleopatra stepped into her donkey-milk tub in Ancient Egypt. Then shampoo got in on the action since traders brought soapberries back from India in the 1500s.* European aristocrats used to merely cover up their headlice with perfume and mercury- and arsenic-based cosmetics. Hair washing wasn’t a thing. They wore those funny white frou-frou wigs as cover-ups.


But my child ain’t covering up anything with arsenic.


I am washing my daughter’s hair – once a week – come hell or high water.


Mommyhood is hard, harder than dating in high school. It’s more confusing than trying to understand why experts say soy milk is good for you sometimes and bad other times.

What I didn’t realize was that things that should ordinarily be normal become near impossible with a toddler. Like, putting on clothes, eating, pooping without the need of an adult, and washing the hair.


We’re not Asian or Scandinavian or any other nationality that’s known for their easy-to-manage hair. In fact, I’ve had quite the experience with hairdressers in Singapore. Let’s just say I left the salon looking like a permed poodle. I did learn how to say “straight” in Malay though. Lurus.


I dread it. She dreads it and I’m sure the neighbors dread it. There is something absolutely exhausting about trying to wash a toddler’s hair. I don’t get it. She used to love bath time, okay, so she equally used to love chewing on her hand, but still. I’m starting to wonder if I’m traumatizing her. Am I? Or does this count as coming from a place of love?



10 Signs I May Be Traumatizing my Toddler during Hair Washing


  1. Her curls are now caked to her head because you decided it’s too hard to rinse the shampoo off.
  2. She attempted to climb the bathroom wall rather than sit in the bathtub one second longer.
  3. Your neighbors slipped a note under your door offering a 6-week anger management course.
  4. You polished off yet another glass of wine to relax your nerves after getting it done and make a note to start drinking before bath time next week. Screw safety.
  5. You have scratch marks up and down your arm that you will tell people are from your cat because you’ve been judged enough for your one year old’s dreadlocks.
  6. Your clothes, hair and bathroom are all a flood zone. And that’s not as a result of her “happily splashing about” because she loves bath time. Although, that is what you will tell your impromptu guests who don’t have kids and seem to think that showing up at 6 pm is okay.
  7. You persuaded her to submit to the hair washing by emotional blackmail and showing her photos of what headlice look like up close.
  8. You accidentally taught her all the worst swear words whilst rinsing when the showerhead detached and went alien-crazy spraying water everywhere.
  9. You fibbed by saying it was “almost done” when it was absolutely not anywhere near done.
  10. You resorted to sarcasm on a two year old: Oh, the water is hurting you? Really? It’s annoying you or hurting you? For instance, you’re annoying me, not hurting me. See the difference, darling?


I could outsource this job to my husband (read: not wash her hair at all). Or take her to the hair salon every week. That’s looking like the best option short of cutting it all off.


*Research into actual shampoo history did not involve reading Latin, I read an article on Mimi: http://www.mimichatter.com/shampoo-history-invention-use-1293000560.html


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