I don’t know what it is, but seeing my family makes me revert to my insecure teenage self when I was just as likely to think that I was going to be the next President of the United States as I was to feel like a nerdy, unattractive social outcast. I, like most us want to please my parents. But, they haven’t seen me for awhile and my waist is three inches bigger than what they’re used to. Plus, I am four+ months after the Big Chop and while I LOVE my twist-out, this style is definitely an acquired taste.
My heart is racing, I have a bit of agita and I’m getting a nervous headache. About to make an important presentation? Being chased by an assailant? No, nothing like that. I’m about to see my Southern family for the first time in a few months. I don’t know what it is, but seeing my family makes me revert to my insecure teenage self when I was just as likely to think that I was going to be the next President of the United States as I was to feel like a nerdy, unattractive social outcast. What is this all about? Why do these feelings emerge? I guess it’s natural…I, like most us want to please my parents. But, they haven’t seen me for awhile and my waist is three inches bigger than what they’re used to. Plus, I am four+ months after the Big Chop and while I LOVE my twist-out, this style is definitely an acquired taste. I’m wondering if its positive reception is affected by the fact that we live in the North. As I’ve blogged before, I’ve heard that the South may not be as hospitable to natural hair (http://tropie7189.blogspot.com/2011/11/north-more-hospitable-to-natural-hair.html).
Despite this angst, I’m going to rock my same self and see what happens. I’ll be sure to share the details.
Yesterday I shared how I made a huge mistake with my daughter’s hair. In a nutshell, I practically shellacked her hair with gel during the week to accommodate her daily swimming at summer camp. Unfortunately, by Friday her hair was a cemented, shriveled mass that was difficult to comb. When I suggested that my daughter wear her swim cap, she dissolved into tears and admitted that she didn’t wear it because she didn’t want to be teased. What in the world is a parent to do? How do you parent at such a sensitive moment?
Now, some folks may think that what I’m about to share is bad parenting; however, I think it’s important that we prepare our children for reality. No, not dash their innocence but help them understand that life is not all Disney and Chuck E. Cheese’s. We explained that Chase’s hair is unique in that while it loves water, it is best if her hair is combed out BEFORE it dries. This is different than the hair of the other children’s hair. She exclaimed, “That’s not fair! I want straight hair like them!” Wow, I feel you baby because I went through the same thing when I was young girl. However, I had to explain that as a little Black girl her hair will never be naturally straight because God blessed her with kinky, coily hair. The look on her face was classic, “Mommy that is bull. This is not a blessing.”
My husband and I then both shared with our daughter that teasing is inevitable. It’s not nice, it’s unfortunate, but everyone is teased about something. I was teased for my big feet (size 10 pre-pregnancy, size 10.5 – 11 post-pregnancy), my height (just under 6 feet), my long slim face you name it! Yes, we will intervene if teasing creates a hostile environment and we will NOT tolerate bullying; however, teasing is pretty much a part of life. We want our children to develop sufficient resilience and coping mechanisms to overcome such experiences.
So after all was said and done, what did I do? Well, I whipped out my phone and booked the first hair braiding appointment I could get! Braids can help protect the hair when swimming. I can’t wait to tell you all about our African hair braiding experience. What an adventure! J
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There are some days that go down in history and yesterday morning was one of them. I took one look at Chase’s shriveled up hair and knew that her daily swimming excursions at summer camp were wreaking havoc on her afro puff. I’d spent love and time creating beautifully puffy puffs, detangling with Kinky Curly, sealing in moisture with organic coconut oil, slicking back with Eco Styler gel. The puffy puffs lasted one day. One trip to the neighborhood pond with her summer camp and her hair shrank. That wasn’t the problem, the problem was that her hair had shrunk with product in it. Yup, she know had a crunchy, crinkly mass of kinks on her tender head. Of course, the last few days have been super busy for me as I’ve closed out the fiscal year end at work and attended birthday celebrations. So, rather than wash my daughter’s hair, I’ve been misting it with water, applying more gel and brushing it into an afro puff (one that grew slightly smaller and less puffy with each passing day).
Can you say, HUGE mistake? By yesterday morning (a Friday), my daughter’s hair was extra crunchy and I HAD to comb it out. Even a wide tooth comb was causing my daughter excruciating pain. I told her that she needed to wear her swim cap to protect her hair when she went to the pond. Oh my goodness. My sweet little girl broke my heart when she turned to me and told me that she didn’t want to wear it because everyone will tease her. In earlier posts I’ve mentioned that we live in a predominantly white community (http://tropie7189.blogspot.com/2011/04/loc-wearer-on-hunt-for-salon-in-boston.html). My daughter is keenly aware of the fact that she would be the only child sporting a swim cap and I can’t blame her for not wanting to be teased. Tomorrow, I’ll share how we handled this sensitive parenting moment. Also, please share how you all would handle your child’s hair in this situation. Swim cap? Conditioner every night? What would you do?