Friday, July 29, 2011

It's crazy up in hair

Another self-portrait
As my daughter gets older, I am definitely noticing her need to exert her independence and express her individuality a little more each day. Yesterday she had a playdate at her friend's house. This friend lives three blocks away. I decided to let her ride her bike. I acted like it was no big deal, but in my head, I was mentally calculating all of the things that could happen to her in three blocks. I strapped her helmet onto her noggin, gave her a little push, and then stood in the yard like a lawn ornament until I saw her pull into her friend's driveway. I am planning to do this for all such outings, until she is married.

Try as I might to stop the clock, she persists in growing up. Her wardrobe is one of the most obvious signs. She used to wear whatever I put on her, but now she wants a say in it. So, I've been involving her more in my buying decisions so that we're not stuck with clothing she refuses to wear.  A few pairs of shoes have been rejected out of hand, and I'm still not even sure what it was that made them so offensive all of a sudden.

The biggest kid-related battle I face these days is right on top of my daughter's head.  The girls at Kindercare like to "do" each other's hair.  There are some older kids in A's classroom (they divide the joint up into: children two and under, three-year-olds, four-year-olds, and then "school age") and I think she is influenced by them in some ways.  I send her off with her hair in a ponytail or a headband and when I pick her up, the hair implement is inevitably broken and her curls are poufed out about a foot in all directions. I feel like her head can be seen from space. Now, I should add that this seems to happen whether the girls at daycare touch her hair or not. What I don't understand it why it bugs me so much.

My daughter is bi-racial. Before she was born, I did some reading about different types of hair and wondered what I might need to learn. Braiding? Special conditioners? When she was born, she had soft brown hair that started to curl when she was around 18 months old - nothing that seemed to require any sort of special know-how. Until she was around four, her hair was mostly soft ringlets - not too hard to manage. My wee baby sister has curly hair, so I had some idea of what to do and what not to do. I also began quizzing curly-haired friends about what products they use. I think I've easily spent a mortgage payment on hair products for Short Stuff.  Over the past couple of years, her hair has changed. It's less curly and more . . . well, frizzy. The hair at the crown of her head has very little curl to it, whereas the hair underneath is still very curly.  I use various leave-in conditioners and curl creams and whatnot, with mixed results. Some days her hair looks fine, other days it's pretty much out of control. I've taken her to various stylists, who haven't been as helpful as one might expect.

If she had her way, I think she'd be fine with walking around looking like Medusa. What she really wants is straight hair, just like I would love to have curly hair.  When I fix her hair in the mornings and she is in a particularly cantankerous mood, fighting me all the way, I sometimes find myself saying, "Fine, just go out with your hair like that then!" Like "that" = a big mass of tangles and disorder. It occurs to me that I may be leaving her with the impression that there is something wrong with her hair and of course that is not my intent at all.  My daughter (all parts of her) is beautiful and if you don't agree, I'll fight you.

In the end, I guess it's really my hang-up, not hers. I'm not the roll-out-of-bed-and-go sort.  You won't see me with bedhead or rolling through town in sweatpants. I remember one day my long-time hair stylist had finished blow-drying my hair and, on a whim, combed a zigzag part into my hair. I stared at myself in the mirror. Donna looked back at me and said, "You can't stand it, can you?"  She laughed.  She was right. I could not.

So, what do I do? Try to coerce my daughter into complying with how I'd like her hair to look (i.e. like she is not homeless) or let her do what she wants and not worry about it?  Is there some magical product that would allow her wear her her natural but without all the . . . disorder?

I'm off to fret about some other trivial thing now. Like how no one on Facebook seems to know the difference between your and you're.

Seriously, how does she keep getting my camera???

3 comments:

Lisa said...

I am getting there with Goosey's hair right now. It seems to get more and more "tangly." :)

Steph K said...

I'd like to say the grass is greener, but Chloe has very straight hair and we fight about her keeping it out of her eyes. Barrettes and headbands never make it past 11am. It's a daily battle.

Sammy said...

Have you all seen this video? My son (who is also biracial) loves it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enpFde5rgmw