Thursday, May 01, 2008

Validation

I have a love/hate relationship with Banana’s hair. It is extremely curly, yet soft and fine and very difficult to comb. She and I both dread the daily combing routine. She dreads the pain of the tangles and I dread the pain of her shrieking. When it is combed, however, it looks adorable.

The hair-combing routine is somewhat time-consuming as well. When I was getting ready for the hospital and knew that the grandmas were going to be taking care of the kids for a while, I composed a list of instructions. The longest and most detailed bit of information was about how to comb Banana’s hair. I knew they were going to dread it even more than I do because it is tough on a grandma to do something her grandchild dislikes. But they did what they had to do, God love ‘em both.

I have always regarded my children’s appearance as an outward sign of my mothering skills. You know, like you make them change if there are holes in their clothes, or you ask them to wipe the jelly off of their faces before leaving for school. I am particularly aware of the state of Banana’s hair when we are out and about. At an Adoption Workshop about transracial families I once attended, hair was one of the topics of discussion. One of the fathers there said he felt like his ability to parent his bi-racial child was often judged by others based on how his child’s hair looked. The woman who was giving the workshop was an African-American and an adoptive mother. She stated without mincing words that the man was right. White parents are judged by the way their African-American or bi-racial children’s hair is cared for, especially by other African-Americans. I know that every parent wants their child to look their best, but I feel like this information added even more pressure for me to keep up with Banana’s hair.

Which is why it was so encouraging when I was stopped in the hallway at the doctor’s office this morning by an African-American mother who wanted to know how I got Banana’s hair to look so nice. She told me that her daughter’s hair was just like Banana’s. She said it looked great when it was wet, but she couldn’t seem to keep the curls looking soft after her hair dried. I was actually able to give her advice! It was so refreshing I just had to share it here, especially for the grandmas’ sakes.

2 comments:

A Buns Life said...

That's awesome! My niece's hair is exactly the same way....it takes about half a bottle of the spray leave in conditioner to be able to comb through it, but once it is done and dry it looks beautiful. Too bad she is so into her sports now, and just wears it straightened and pulled back into a ponytail everyday.... :(

Gregg said...

When my kids were small(er), I learned how to braid hair.

That gave me some serious validation with all the moms around! (I worked close to the daycare as opposed to my wife and so it was most frequently me that hauled them to doctors, dance, etc.)