August 30, 2012

Pigtails and Other Adventures with Biracial Hair.

Tessa's hair fascinates me. In the bath, which is when we comb it out with the help of fistfuls of deep conditioner, it's so long that it streams well past her shoulder blades, but when dry it shrinks up to a silky soft afro that stops at the nape of her buttery brown neck. There's one precious freckle fastened there, and it's as though her hair doesn't dare to cover it.

We only wash her hair twice a week because it never does get oily or smelly like my hair would, and thanks to a biracial friend's advice we stopped using shampoo altogether and now just use conditioner. Even so, after a few days she's always accumulated at least a few dreadlocks on the back of her head. Thankfully Nekos has taken on the task of being her devoted detangler. There is nothing that melts my heart more than seeing this 6'2" man sitting on his daughter's stepstool at the edge of our bathtub, coaxing her into letting him comb out her profound tangles.

A couple nights ago he was out doing something to do with fantasy football so I did her hair myself. I bribed her into letting me de-dreadlock her by telling her I'd braid her hair after the bath. That's, like, her dream. Still wrapped in a towel, but with Berenstain Bears books spread out on the floor before her for perusal, I divided her part down the middle and braided her long hair into two skinny pigtails. I was so proud. She was so proud. She looked into the full length mirror and hopped around and proclaimed, "I 'scited!"

By the next morning, though, those pigtails had curled up tight against her head like actual pigs' tails and the crown of her head had given way to a halo of curl fuzz. Hilarious. Today I had better luck when I combed her hair out dry (hello, fluffy afro!) and rebraided her pig tails, but I'm always learning. And I'm always telling her how beautiful her hair is, in hopes that she'll come to love it, too, and that she'll let it grow wild, free and soft, just like her spirit.


16 comments:

  1. My daughter has the same hair. I love her curly puff & wonder how long it will be before her hair will start to drop down.

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  2. I love this post! Shrinkage is crazy and I love that you love it. My girls hair is soft and curly and prone to matting as well. Here's a quick tip that I learned is if you can't braid while dry. After applying whatever gel and or oil/butter to seal in the moisture, bobby pinning the braids or twists pulled gently across to the other side of their head and then putting whatever satin cap or scarf on at night minimizes the shrinkage.

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  3. Oh my, she is so precious. "I 'scited!"

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  4. I just love this, & that is all.

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  5. omg I love this. Im giggling in the dark over here.

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  6. This post just makes me smile. Thank you

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  7. so sweet! i (sadly) watched a tyra banks episode once on "kinky hair" and was saddened that so many mommies relaxed their sweet babies' hair to make it look "white". teaching those little ones from such a young age that they aren't perfectly and wonderfully made. oh - but they are! curls and all.

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  8. My little sisters hair was just like that as a toddler. She's 21 now, and her hair is a little thicker, but it's still big and wild. Totally fits her personality, and now she rocks it like that everyday.

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  9. lol do not brush that child's hair when it's dry. always when it's wet. also, leave in conditioner is great for after the bath. i have curly/frizzy hair too so i know how it goes...

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  10. I always think the mixy kids look so perfectly adorable when they just let their hair be what it is. Maybe try to let her express her individuality with bows and headbands? That could be something to get super 'scited about ;)

    Also, as a Godmommy to a biracial girl - seconding the leave-in conditioner after!

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