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Cherish your daughter first...


...and the hair will follow.

We recently had a really hot day, and as I was helping my four year old tie her scarf to her head I stopped myself. We were both sweaty though she'd just had her bath. What was I doing?

"Are you done Mommy?"

"You don't have to wear your scarf tonight," I decided and leaned over to give her a kiss and a squeeze.

I encourage my girls to tie their heads at night to prevent their sheets from drying out their hair, and to help preserve what moisture I worked hard to put in. I try to make sure they keep their heads covered year round no matter the weather, but on this particular hot night my actions felt ridiculous. My baby was hot. We release much of our body heat from our heads, yet I was covering hers, to preserve her hair---but what about my baby?

Mocha Girl Three's hair is important to me, but she's more important than her hair. I know there have been many times in my life I denied myself pleasure, to preserve a hair style. For example, I can remember wasting half of a school trip to Six Flags, watching my friends go on the water rides while fretting over my press and curl. Thank God my best friend declared she'd rather deal with her nappy hair than miss all the fun. My hair was tightly shrunken when we left the park, but I had a goofy grin on my face, and a heart full of warm memories.

I want my girls to take good care of their hair. I like to make a style last as long as possible, because my time is limited, and I have so many heads to do. Yet I'm prepared to break all my nappy rules if my girls aren't enjoying their lives. My daughter came into the kitchen the other day and stood at the window watching her sisters squeal as they ran through the sprinklers.

"Aren't you going out there?" I asked.

"No," She muttered.

Something in her voice made me stop what I was doing and give her my complete attention. I stared intently into her eyes.

"I don't want my hair to shrink."

Suddenly, I was that little girl at Six Flags all over again. I wasn't remembering the experience, but I completely understood where my daughter was. Strong emotion stirred my heart.

"Get yourself out there," I said, while placing a hand on each of her shoulders and moving her towards the sliding doors. "So what if your hair shrinks? Who cares?"

My daughter looked uncertain as she turned back to face me. She hesitated another moment before her face broke into a smile. She rushed through the door with a squeal. I released a slow breath, and smiled.

I'm not saying we never do what's uncomfortable, but I pray for wisdom. I want my daughters to have a healthy relationship with their hair. It shouldn't be something that stresses them out. I don't want them to believe they have to suffer to be beautiful. In all things balance is important, and nappy hair care is no different.

Comments

  1. Natacha, I want to thank you for sharing your blog. I discovered it just last week, and I've already learned so much. I'm the white mother of a 4 month old black daughter, and I so appreciate the guidance your advice and videos provide.

    But I also needed to hear today's post...I don't want to get so caught up in getting my daughter's hair "right," that she starts defining herself by her hair.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes Terri and welcome!

    There lots of effective information on the blog, but like with anything--we can become rigid with some principals to our daughters' detriment. If we keep our eyes on the child while we care for the hair we are less likely to get over the top.

    Also I want everyone to know this process doesn't have to be perfect all of the time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As someone who is relatively new to taking care of black hair I appreciate you helping me keep things in perspective with this post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Natacha, I'm learning a lot from the videos. After watching the hair washing videos, I threw out most of the products other moms suggested I get and diluted the rest.

    You've mentioned silk caps on your site several times. Do you know where I can find silk caps for babies? Also, do you think that might help with the "rubout" on the back of the head? My daughter is completely bald in one spot from her carseat and from playing under her baby gym.

    And here's a question I'd LOVE to see you cover in a blog post someday: how did you help your daughters learn to handle hair time? My daughter is 5 months. What can I be doing now to prepare her for longer times in the chair while I detangle her hair? And to be a sweet angel for hair washing like Mocha Girl Two?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks Terri!
    I think the silk caps probably would help with the rub out--my baby has a thin patch in the back of her head too. I see little hairs all over her swing--where I still feed her her meals. I have NOT covered her head with a cap at bed time though because my baby over heats very easily. Covering her head would make her sweat too much. I've decided to just accept the rubbed out areas. What I try to do is keep her hair as moist as I can--though I've noticed the hair is much drier in the back where the rubbing action is happening. This will get better as our babies get even more mobile and move around more in their so as to not stress only one area. Also--their hair will get less fragile. Every time I think of it--about once a day--I try to mist my baby's hair with plain water and seal in the moisture by rubbing a dime size portion of unrefined coconut oil over it. I've also used grapeseed, jojoba and even castor oil successfully. Another good one to try is olive oil. For my babies, I stay away from commercial oils with added ingredients I can't pronounce. Mineral oil--like baby oil makes their hair even dryer--so I don't use that either even though it has a nice smell. Vaseline is horrible too.

    Will work on a post about managing hair time with the babies! I never had a "sleep to style" baby either--but when I was struggling to make it work it was the first thing people suggested.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great post! Our girls are not their hair. There has to be balance and I agree that they should never miss childhood joys to preserve a style- even if that style took a lot of time.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a beautiful piece of writing this was. I just found your blog over the weekend and its certainly on my favourite list. You, your girls and your handsome boys makes a beautiful family. I'm trying to instill the same values in my girls 3 1/2 and 20 months about their hair. I don't want them missing out on the "good stuff" because of their hair.

    ReplyDelete

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