My Etsy Shop!

>

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Hair-Raising Experience

Long ago when we first started exploring adoption from Ethiopia, I had huge concerns about hair. I knew that my child's hair would most likely be very different from my other children-and I say MOST likely because I have very curly hair and so it is possible I could give birth to a child with similar hair to an Ethiopian child who has a little looser curls. I spent a lot of time freaking out, er, wondering how I would manage my child's hair and if I would be able to do a good job or not. I researched as much as I could about black hair care and styling and products and types and cornrows and twists and pony snaps and on and on-till I would literally dream about it sometimes. (Isn't that weird how we dream about random stuff that we do during our awake hours? I always dream about the everyday things in the weirdest ways-my family can vouch for that. Anyway, I digress...) I found some great articles in the archives here about black haircare and styles from an adoptive mom of 4 Ethiopian daughters (plus 6 other kids-whew!) so it was great to see another white momma who was not raised caring for black hair being successful, no, GOOD, at it. I put all this on the back burner for a good while during the dossier process and waiting for the referral when we watched our number on the boys list always be closer to the top than the girls list. I relaxed a little thinking I could handle a buzz cut and if I couldn't, I could always take him to a barber and get it done quite easily and inexpensively. Then we got the call and found out about our beautiful new baby...GIRL. Uh oh, the panic attacks about being a good hair momma began again. See, in the black community, hair is huge. No, not huge like an afro-although that is sometimes the case-but huge as in very important as to what it says about him or her as a person and in my case, what it says about the capabilities of the momma to properly care for her child. In transracial parenting situations, like ours, it is even more important because we will be judged by members of the black community as to our ability to understand our child's identity and our ability to care for her by how well her hair is taken care of. This is not to make it sound like the black community is only interested in appearance-far from it-but that haircare can be a challenge and well-cared for and groomed hair shows parents who care enough to take the time to understand their child's needs and make the effort that meeting those needs requires. So I found myself back on the internet this past weekend studying some more and soaking up as much info as I could about moisture needs for different hair types, amount of washing necessary, and watching lots of how to videos on YouTube. I am both a visual and kinesthetic learner, meaning I have to SEE it done and DO it myself to learn how to do something with my hands. My oldest agreed to be a guinea pig, uh, good sport and let me try out some basic corn rows on her hair. She has the thickest hair of my three but the least tolerance for her hair being tugged at-and by least I mean ZERO tolerance-so I thought it would be a good experiment to see 1. if I could do it at all and 2. if it would require me to pull too tightly and therby ruin my relationship with my daughter forever and plant a seed of bitterness that would one day grow into a giant therapy bill. I got my supplies-a fine toothed comb (but we couldn't find the very important rat-tail one that is most likely somewhere in the ballet recital paraphenalia-we made do), a spray bottle of water, and teeny tiny rubber bands that I already had for doing piggies in Thing 3's tiny baby hair. It took about 45 minutes I guess and I did half of her head because one, it is winter and I didn't want her to freeze and two, see number 2 above. Here are the results from Saturday-a little too loose I think and lots of "flyaways", and also I really needed the rat-tail comb as the parts weren't very clean. I did try to make them sort of "curvy" on purpose to follow the natural shape of her face/head. It is a good thing our little one will have some time before I need to have this mastered, but overall I guess it is not too terrible for my first ever attempt at cornrows done on slippery-ish white person hair:



She really liked them and is still wearing them because she desperately wanted to wear them to school to show her friends so I guess that is all that matters. Isn't she a good guinea pig, er, sport? Such a cutie!

13 comments:

Aubrey said...

Her hair looks great! I hope when the time comes I'll be able to do my little one's hair as well as you! Awesome for the first time!

Dawn said...

WOW!! I'm impressed! Good job!

Oh and Emma is pretty cute too!

Jana said...

DUDE!!! You are talented!!!!!

tuesdaymom said...

Very impressive! I can barely manage to do my own hair!

Alas, I have no girls to practice on...I wonder if my three year-old would submit to a Hannah Montana wig?

Michelle said...

How fun! Good Job Jody! Very cute! You will get better and better!

Dawn said...

The red hair... who knows.. the mailman? NO just kidding. It is strange all of the red hair, but I think some great aunts have some red hair or something??

Oh and I forgot to tell you... glad your cough is FINALLY going away! I noticed no coughing on the phone today! woohoo!!

be_a_Mary said...

OK, you are too funny!! can you scoot on over to my house and do my daughter's hair? :)

Dawn said...

My texts BORE you??!! Ok..FINE.

Yes, sadly I will be packing poptarts and cheez-its and a few granola bars. Don't act like you aren't going to try and steal some of my stash either!

Crystal said...

My friend Helen found that fixing her daughter's hair while she was sleeping worked best. :) Something to try anyways. You did a great job and your little guniea pig looks adorable.

Kristi J said...

so cute...I know an Ethiopian girl here and she and her daughter (who is 5 years old) treat their hair just like yours and mine...She has it down with a big bow in it everytime I see her...I know it depends on texture...but I plan on using more products but popping a bow in and heading out the door just like i do with my bio girls...we'll see if it works :) kristi

Troy said...

Amber's already talking about how cute a 'fro will be ... "I gotta figure out how to take care of it" :)

Michelle Riggs said...

OhI am smiling at this post. I did the same thing when I was waiting for Sami to come home.

Kimmie said...

whoa...that looks great. I am not sure I am ready for that yet, as the puffs keep me using all I have. (I.E.- squirming baby, not too fond of hairstyling)

bless you
Kimmie
mama to 7
one homemade and 6 adopted