Sunday, August 23, 2009

peeling the onion - all about hair

Over the last month or so Becca's hair has grown a foot (or at least 2 inches) and has quickly overwhelmed my meager efforts to figure out what to do with it. Top that off with the fact that she really truly dislikes - read hates- to have her hair messed with and it is recipe for disaster. Then top that off with the fact that Alemtsehaye's hair is really - really long and you have one overwhelmed mom at the thought of struggling with 2 girls hair - sigh. I am not alone in trying to figure it all out however and thank goodness that those who have gone before me on this journey of transracial parenting have shared their knowledge.

The thing is that I love Becca's hair down and curly, it is perfect and beautiful that way - perfect ringlet curls - unfortunately she really can't keep it nice when it is down - after all she is only 3 and really doesn't care about how her hair looks. BUT you can be sure that folks around us do notice and care about her hair. One day when her hair was loose and kinda messy my neighbor commented that it looked as if I needed a lesson on AA hair care. She offered some advice and hints and products - but truly it was time for me to step it up and figure it out. The big thing seems to be shampoo with out sulfates and conditioner with out silicone - for a number of reasons to do with oil production and so on. The other big thing is the appropriate amount of moisture each day (again silicone free) but every day, and way more than you would think. Last week I did some twists in Beccas hair - super cute but I only was brave enough to try 4 and then really didn't keep it moist enough so it got a bit fuzzy but did last a whole week, which is great as far as I am concerned. Then this week I put lots of shea butter in her hair to condition and then washed and conditioned some more and then went to do box braids (totally brave on my part!!) Discovered there was still a bit of shea butter in the hair but just rubbed it in more and managed to get 12 box braids in - victory! and so cute too. The best part is what happened at church on Sunday (put the braids in on Sat and then went to pool afterwards and they held up really well) anyway sweet AA lady at church was talking to Becca and I and asked me who I had to do her hair - I told her I did it and she looked totally shocked and said I was doing a great job. Completely made my day and boosted my confidence.

As a white woman I will never fully understand the implications of hair in the african american community - but as I peel the onion of hair and transracial parenting I will do my darndest to understand and adhere to the customs of it - my kids are worth it. (but I think cornrows will have to wait until little miss can sit still - or until big sis comes home)