Hair, hair, hair.

I spend a LOT of time on Selam’s hair.  I am committed to natural hair for her–at least until she’s old enough to make an informed decision of her own. I use only non-sulfate products on her hair. No alcohol. No funky chemicals. Her hair is precious and I work at it. We wash every week to ten days, and do a conditioner only wash in between.  I comb it, wet, with a wide comb.  I often put it in hanging braids as this is supposed to protect her hair from tangling and breakage. (The truth is, her hair doesn’t break much and is relatively free from tangling. I’ve never had to work at a tangle or snip out a snarl.  I’m lucky, I know.) I can’t cornrow, and when I’ve tried to practice, she hates the way it looks.  Even in Ethiopia, her hair only lasted in cornrows for a couple of days. It’s pretty fine and, well, slippery.

My favorite look, and her favorite, too, is just loose and curly with a headband–preferably with a large, ridiculous bow.

But….so far, she’s moved mostly in white and adopted kid circles. Next year, she goes to a kindergarten that is going to be about 60-70 percent African American. And I know that her loose curly hair will stand out. So will her mother.

And this article has been running through my head lately.

It was time to get Selam’s hair trimmed. I was unhappy with the last haircut that she got. It was totally lopsided. So I finally took the time to look up a salon that would work specifically with curly hair. I found one. The price was right. I made an appointment.

In the days leading up to the appointment, Selam told me she wanted short hair. I LOVE short hair on her. It’s so cute.  But, with that article in my head, I thought about how I wouldn’t be able to braid her hair should she decide she wants to match the other girls in her Kindergarten class.  I want her to have options.

I finally decided that if she wanted short, we’d do short, and if she changed her mind, she could grow it out in kindergarten. After all, there can’t be too much peer pressure in kindergarten, right?

Well, we went today, and it was great.  The salon focuses on curly girls–of all ethnicities. While we were there most of the stylists and all of the clients were rocking the curlies.  Selam was in heaven. She got tons of attention, and her curls were examined, exclaimed over  and adored. By cutting one inch off in just the right way, her curls sprang up a good four inches, and were perfect little corkscrews. So we got the best of both worlds—hair that looks shorter but really isn’t. It’ll be interesting to see what happens after she goes swimming tomorrow.

So I’m left with a curly-whirly girl who loves her hair, who twirls around the salon, giggling at the attention.  I want her to fit into African American culture. I really do. But dang, I really love the fact that her hair can make her so very happy!


4 thoughts on “Hairy

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