The night William and Violet were born, and we were told that - SURPRISE - it's not two boys, but instead a boy and a girl! - I looked at John and said, "Oh, no. I'm going to have to learn how to do her hair." I knew that it would be a whole different world, and I was right.
It's such a complicated thing, actually. There is cultural layer upon cultural layer that I am sorting through, and sometimes I don't know how to feel about it all. Violet is being raised by a white mom, and that will always be a part of her identity. And while I do sort of fix the big girls' hair, I don't spend a lot of time and effort on it, because I don't have to. I can put a little bit of it up on the side with one rubber band, pop a bow in it and call it a day. If I have extra time, there might be a braid or pig tails, but I certainly don't ever do anything fancy.
So, the idea that I would need to dedicate HOURS to my daughter's hair was certainly a foreign and scary concept. When Violet was a baby I did a ton of research on Chocolate Hair/Vanilla Care to get an idea of what I should be doing, and the first year is pretty straight forward. Don't do much. Let it grow.
But, over the last six months or so, it has needed more than I have given it. I have mostly just put a headband on her and called it good. I've been told by numerous people both black and white that V has really "good" hair. Her curls are larger, and it is not extremely thick. I can comb through it while it is wet without too much difficulty. I'm told I'm really lucky, and I think her hair is awesome. Her curls are quite frankly some of the most adorable things I've ever seen.
I wish it were all just that simple. I feel a fair bit of pressure to get this right. Like the way that I do Violet's hair is showing how much I really love Violet. People have ALL KINDS of OPINIONS about black hair. I have managed to avoid a lot of this, because I don't often have the twins places where people don't know us. But, I was in Target just the other day. William had managed to dump his snack trap crumbs all over his head, and I was working to brush the crumbs out of his very thick, rather overgrown locks. (He needs a haircut, and that will be accomplished soon.)
An older African American woman who was walking past me shook her head and said, "You need to moisturize that." That is all she said to me.
Honestly - is it any of her business what I do to my child's hair? No, it is not.
Would she say that to an African American mother whose children's hair was in a similar state? I doubt it.
Did I sign up for this? I absolutely did. I was warned. That doesn't make it less irritating, but I can spend a little less emotional energy worrying about some woman in Target who doesn't know us than I might have if I didn't expect it at all.
This morning a good friend and fellow adoptive mom graciously offered to come over and help me learn a bit more about Violet's hair. Her daughter is finishing kindergarten and always has awesome hair, styled by mom. She brought her massive array of products, styling tools and knick knacks. She spent over two hours here talking to us and helping me wrangle Violet while she styled V's hair and gave me more hair insight. I've read a lot, but it was nice to have someone walk through it all with me and give me encouragement.
She showed me good products that would work well with Violet's particular hair and the best way to use them.
She said she had a great time doing it, even when Violet did NOT sit still in any way. She is probably my most active child, so we have a ways to go on learning to sit still(ish) while getting your hair done.
And I love the results! Violet is so pleased when she shakes her head and the little beads click. And I can stick a bow in the front twist, which I love.
So, I am learning. I want to get this right for our family, and I want Violet to LOVE her hair. That will require more time and effort from me than the other girls, and that is okay.
Thanks, Heidi, for helping me and loving on Violet! We so appreciate it!