Cradle Crap and Olive Oyl


Sunny dayWhen I was in college, Meredith Baxter-Birney used to do these commercials for Alberto VO-5 where she’d say, “Because I’m worth it.” I can’t remember if she’s also the woman who said “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” Regardless: when I would do the hot-oil treatments, dunking the little plastic packets in hot water and squeezing them onto my dry tresses, my RA, Karen, would pop her head in and go “I won’t hate you because you’re beautiful. You’re worth it.”

Oh. Crap. The Internets tell me that Meredith Baxter-Birney (gay!) said “because I’m worth it” for L’Oreal, Kelly LeBrock said “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” for Pantene, and Alberto VO-5 was Rula freakin’ Lenska.

And that, dear readers, was a tangent. Anyway, I never had the nerve to admit to my college cadre that this was a step up from my previous beauty regimen, which involved my grandma, a saucepan of canola oil, and cotton balls.

And so the tradition continues. Abby has been suffering from cradle cap, and I’ve been mostly ignoring it, since her pediatrician said “if you can stand the acid glares from the other moms, that’s really the only side effect. It’s totally harmless.” Alas, the flaking scalp had gone from bad to worse, and she looked like she was wearing a little alligator-skin cloche hat. It was time for the hot-oil treatment!

I had done the same with Penny, of course, and it always worked like a charm. I put a little stream of olive oil in a yellow ramekin, then drizzled it onto Abby’s head and smoothed it around on her scalp. It felt soooo nice, and she grinned up at me from her Bumbo seat like I was giving her the best spa treatment EVAR.

Of course, Penny said she wanted this treatment, too, but given her extreme aversion to having her hair washed, I wasn’t about to go down that road. I pretended to put oil on her head, too, and then she dipped her fingers in and smoothed 100% pure EVOO onto my skin, my shirt, and my hair. So there we were, like three balls of boccaccini, smelling like an Italian backyard and just needing some slices of basil to make a tasty appetizer.

Later, we all three took baths, too, though only Abby got her head washed. The longer you can leave the oil on, the better for the scalp, but I just didn’t want her co-sleeper getting all greasy. And by co-sleeper, I mean of course: ME.

What beauty regimen have you bestowed upon your babe?