Monday, August 22, 2011

A Newbie All Over Again

I never truly realized before having a child just how amazing my own mother was and is. I think about all the degrees she had and how she gave up the potential to have a wonderful career to be a stay at home mom and invest all her time in her children. I think of how she baked and cooked almost everything from scratch and kept a garden in the summer, providing us with a bounty of fresh produce. I think of how she read to us at night, investing in our imaginations and expanding out literary horizons. I think of all the hours she spent in the car driving us to music lessons, dance classes, museums, the library and a host of  fabulous field trips. Lastly, but certainly not least, I think of all the long, patient minutes she spent washing, combing, braiding, curling and twisting my hair into so many fun creations.
I never realized what a huge challenge this last task must have been for her. You see, my mother has very thin and very fine hair that she has always kept rather short. I have very thick hair that I have always kept rather long. I am sure my mother never braided crowns into her own hair, or had to use 45 bobby pins to keep her own bun in place... so what motivated her to invest so much creativity into her daughter's unruly mane?
That is the question I am learning the answer to thanks to my own daughter with hair incredibly different from my own. My daughter's hair is still baby hair, for sure, but I can already tell that it is going to be fairly thick.... and it is full of curls! Although my mother gave me the desire and ability to take care of and have fun with my own hair, I have never had to work with anything too opposite of my thick and somewhat wavy mess. Now with my little one, I feel like I have never brushed or styled hair in my life! If I brush it, it turns to frizz; when I wash it, I struggle to get to her scalp; when I dry it, it matts into a horrible tangle; when I put it in pigtails, the little curls pull themselves out..... and how do I make her sit still?
This week, I decided to take some time to read, research, and find out some tricks to taking care of my daughter's unique hair. I learned only to comb it when it is wet, never to dry it with a towel, to give it as much moisture as I can, to use little elastics instead of little cloth scrunchies and most importantly, to sit her down in front of Pink Panther cartoons on youtube until the 'do is complete.
A little time invested goes a very long way. My toddler is less squirmy when it's time to do her hair, she fusses less at bath time as I'm washing (and no longer drying) it, and she has rocked some pretty stunning little styles with not too much effort on my part. I hope that by learning about her hair and it's particulars, I can give her the same excitement and appreciation for her hair and it's uniqueness that I have for my own. I want her to grow up happy and thankful for how she was created, and this is just one way that I am trying to do that!

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