Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hair sin

When we began the adoption process
and decided on Ethiopia,
it suddenly occurred to me that
not only had I never before
had a child with hair other than similar to mine,
I also had never touched, played with,
or helped "do" a black child's hair.


Shortly after this realization
and my subsequent delve into the
world of trans-ethnic hair care
I learned a couple of stereotypical things on this topic:

(Warning: Non-Politically Correct usage of terms "black" and "white" to follow)
  • Black people in the general public are (stereotypically anyway) harsh when it comes to the hair of other black people. While white people may not necessarily notice another white person's hair (unless there's a mullet or some super strange, unnatural color... supposedly, black people ALWAYS notice other black people's hair. 
  • Many black people think there is no way that a white person could possibly take care of a black child's hair.
  • White people hair and black people hair are direct polar opposites on the spectrum of hair care.
  • NEVER, EVER, EVER CUT a black child's hair.
Now, how CORRECT these assumptions/facts happen to be is debatable.

What I have found to be true in OUR HOUSEHOLD is...
  • My four girls have three totally different types of hair. We have the white-girl hair, a more loose curl pattern and a tightly coiled curl pattern. 
  • Satin sleep caps can only do so much.
  • De-tangling is my least favorite part of doing my kids hair - brown or white skin, no matter.
  • Having a bar stool that spins and some good kid-shows on the TV are my two best tips for cooperative kids.
  • Black people out in public DO look at my kids hair and many of them look disapprovingly, depending on the day.
  • Magical oils and potions can only do so much also... and they need to be applied frequently.
That having been said...
my baby boy's hair has been a quandary
for months now.

Check out the cutest face EVER!

His hair has a tight curl pattern underneath, with some long straight hairs
growing out from underneath.

What this produces is a mixed hair pattern that doesn't want to cooperate with twists or locks or any other typical little boy styles. He is like a blend of both of his older sisters' hair textures.

Here is #6...
SUPER tight curls, but getting longer and 
we can get some tiny braids in there now!

And then #5...

Not the best pic showing her length or hair texture..
but its quite long and much more loosely coiled.

And here's another example of what I am talking about:

See the little coils I hand-twisted? 
They stayed pretty well, but then the fuzzy 
long straight hairs began to take over.
And it's not like I don't know how to take care of hair. 
I understand moisturizers, butters, blends, and potions.
Nothing is working!

Which brings me to ...
the hair cut.

Oh, yes I did.

I HAD to, people!

He HATED to have it detangled, 
crying big, huge tears no matter how gently
or slowly  I worked...
and he hated to have it coiled or pretty much

I had no real choice.

And yes, I feel bad.
I think it's super cute!

I think he likes it, too!
(and he clearly forgives me!)


  1. I love it- if I had a boy I would totally go for that cut (and Black boys do get their hair cut-usually once they hit their first birthday and then often to keep it short) and there is nothing cuter than when they are cut super short.

    Don't sweat it- he looks great. And the girls' hair looks good too- you go Momma!!

  2. I created the ultimate sin with my baby boy's hair ... and I didn't even know it .... oops! He's had half a dozen hair cuts since being home. Your girls hair always looks so cute. Though it might not be saying much, you've totally impressed me!

  3. Long time lurker here (same agency), coming to say... I was told by more than one black man that I need to keep my son's hair short and cut it every two weeks.


  4. Black boys usually have very shortly cropped hair. Keep his buzzed. As for the girls, you will never be able to "do" it in a way that's going to satisfy everyone, so don't do it to try to please others at all.


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