Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hairy Situation? Not Really.

One of the first things people talked to me about when Callie was placed with us was her hair.

"Do you know how to take care of black hair?"

"What are you going to do with her hair?"

"You need to talk to people abour how to take care of her hair."

Of course I had thought about these things. I researched right away and figured out what products to use, etc. It was a big surprise to me when I first met Callie when she had jet black straight hair. Perhaps that's why so many people asked me if she was Indian -- her straight straight hair and beautifully shaped eyes. But, as time progressed, her curls definitely came in.

Now, I'm not perfect, but I do my best. I could do better. But I've really tried to make sure her hair stays healthy, and I feel like I know what I'm doing. Ask me to braid her hair in super tiny braids with awesome patterns...I'm not there yet. But when it comes to hair health...I've talked to professionals, and I feel rather proud of myself when they tell me I'm doing a great job. I took Callie to a salon once, and even after looking at her hair, they told me that I just needed to keep doing what I was doing. So, 3 cheers for Jenny!

I had an experience in Spokane that I will always remember though. I was at the JCPenny salon and I talked to the only African American hair stylist there. She was the expert they told me, on ethnic hair. She was young, beautiful, and had a mane of hair that was gorgeous -- tight curls pushed back from her face in a headband. I could picture Callie looking like that one day. I told her about Callie and how I "want to keep her beautiful hair just that -- beautiful." The woman let out a sigh and said, "I'm so glad you said that." I was surprised. I didn't think I was the only mom out there who wanted their kids' hair to look good. "I can't tell you how many white moms come in here telling me about their black kids and how horrible their hair is to deal with not knowing 'what the heck I'm supposed to do with hair like this' and 'trying to figure out this mess on their head'. It is beautiful hair, just different from their own. So, thank you for saying what you said."

I honestly do love Callie's hair. Look at that picture. This was after a bath one night. She's too young for me to just let it out too often. When she gets older she'll be to take care of her own hair a little bit and she can wear a silk cap or scarf over her head at night...but for now, I usually braid it, cornrow, twist, pull up in poofs, something to keep it up. Those are all super cute, but when it's down....

So for me, saying Callie's hair was beautiful was natural. It made me so sad to think that there are mothers and fathers out there saying things, around their own children, about what a pain this or that is about them. It makes me cringe. I would never say around Samantha, "Gosh, your little head is such a problem." I know these parents probably don't even realize they're doing it or what it's doing to their kids...but I'm pretty sure some of those little girls will be the ones who can't wait until they are old enough to get their hair straightened. I'm not trying to be judgemental as much as make a point that we need to be so careful about how we parent, about what we say, and think about how our words (and actions of course) will ultimately affect our children's self-esteem.

So...long story short...Callie's hair is different than mine. I have to take much better care of her hair than I have to mine. It takes me an hour in the evening (not every night) to wash, condition, detangle, and braid. But look at that hair. And look at that little girl. It's so worth it.

Not the best hair shot -- her hair was in some serious need of being redone, but I like this one anyway. We were at the park and she didn't know I was about to take a picture. She was contemplating if she should join some kids on the jungle gym. She did.


Heather said...

I like the picture of her at the park. You are right, it is really true we do need to watch how we speak in front of our kids--they hear everything :)

Heidi said...

I agree, her hair is beautiful!

Gordon and Robyn said...

she looks like a little model in the second shot. I remember being impressed with you and the effort you would put in to learning how to care for her hair.

And congrats on being in the "preparing" stage of adopting. I've heard that quote too and love it.

Porters said...

I love it. I really like what you said about how we talk about our kids. Whether they hear or not, it is important how we view them. She is a cutie..


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