Baby hair

So today I had the day off, and I decided it was finally time to get some advice about Roo’s hair. It’s getting harder for us to manage, and I just do NOT want to be those parents.

I prepared my “I am really trying to learn how to do black hair and would love any advice you can give me” speech, did his hair as well as I could, and walked into a black hair salon on the corner.

The woman was nice as could be, but really didn’t know what I meant. She asked if I wanted to cut his hair, and when I said no, ran her hand through his hair, complimented his curls, and told me to bring him back for a haircut in another year. I asked for styling tips, and she said “well, he has baby hair!”

Okay. All the women in the salon were nodding vigorously, and I didn’t want to stand there insisting that I needed help when she was telling me all was well, so I thanked her and left.

Then I went into another place a few doors down to ask the same question. We had an almost identical conversation, down to the part where she complimented his hair and I stuttered like a fool, except she recommended a shampoo and a moisturizer.

So… fruitful? A failure? I’m pleased that both women said he had beautiful hair – even beautiful hair could look awful if I was messing it up that much. And I’ll get the products the second woman recommended. But I’m still not sure how to keep his hair from getting all frizzy and wild starting about 30 minutes after I style it. Maybe that was the problem – should I try another place when I haven’t done his hair?

Huh. I expected a half dozen different reactions to a white mom with a biracial child walking into a salon and asking for help. A friendly response but no help wasn’t one of the responses I had anticipated.

So do I let it lie? Try again somewhere else? Take it as a compliment?

Right now he’s been in his bed for 40 minutes refusing to nap. Amazing that he has incredible bed-head but no rest for the weary (mama).

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4 Responses to Baby hair

  1. Dawn says:

    I think you must be doing a good job! What do other boys his age look like? I kinda go by that, too. My impression around here is that well-conditioned looser curls don’t need to be as tightly styled as more textured hair.

  2. Sue says:

    I’ve had such similar experiences in the Indian community when being direct about needing advice, from hair to culture. I did not get any help regarding whether or not to oil JL’s scalp until an Indian stylist just said I needed to start, doing it. Without being asked. She was also blunt enough to tell me we had been given a girl name for our boy (before they knew he was a boy), I had asked and cajoled and hinted around a number of Indian people before I got the straight story, and then, when I changed KN’s name, I stopped getting weird looks from those who knew Indian names from the inside (and not all Indians do!)

    I think it has a lot to do with them not knowing at what point they might step on our toes, and knowing how freaking sensitive white people can be when they state a direct opinion. They’ve been burned more often than thanked, or thanked by people with ice in their eyes and daggers behind their smiles.

    The only solution I can come up with is to interact often with a wide variety of AA people. Whether you ask questions or not, your answers will come. Eventually someone trusts you, or is just plain blunt enough not to worry about offending. Plus that way, no one is stuck in the expert role.

  3. shannon says:

    SOounds like his hair is fine. With Nat I get really judgemental of how her hair looks and have really high expectations that it look freshly done all the time. But I can’t freshly do it all the time and lately I’ve realized that toddlers don’t have to have freshly done hair around here. They do get a little toddler pass. Sounds like if you drag a comb through it before you head out the door, you’re good.

  4. cloudscome says:

    Hi I just came here from Open Adoption Support. Sorry I haven’t kept up with reading here. Roo is almost a year already! Wow! I think the others are right, you probably are getting a polite response. If you keep asking people you know you might get a more honest answer. BUT at the same time I think it IS true that “baby hair” is allowed to be wild, frizzy, crazy and messed up any way it pleases. I have seen a lot of crazy hair on toddlers. I think it’s a free pass for the first 18 months because the adults know how hair dominates the rest of your life. LOL Babies and toddlers are exempt from the judgment they will get soon enough. Some parents braid their boys hair. Just don’t cut it of course.

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