Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wife, Mother, and Hairstylist

I posted before about the drama involved with managing Sunda's hair. I mean, I rarely write about things like this...and never more than once. So, you know it's serious.

I have been stressing myself out about this hair since we've come home from Africa. I scoured the internet and didn't really find the answers I was looking for. I didn't need a guidebook...I needed a guru. So...

On Monday, I took her to a beauty shop that a friend at church recommended, and the wonderful stylist there showed me how to properly comb out, grease, and twist Sunda's hair into ponytails that will prevent the mess that her hair was when I walked into the place. When I expressed my immense gratitude for the help and advice, one of the white stylists said, "I thought it looked cute when they came in." The stylist that helped me said, "That wasn't cute...that was a MESS." Well. At least she called it like she saw it.

Needless to say, and to my shame...Sunda was a little less than well-behaved at the salon on Monday. And when I say a little less, I mean that she was kicking, scratching and screaming her way out of that chair. I was instructed by my wise hair sage that the right thing to do was just to teach her that she could not get her way out of getting her hair done. No way. No how. I will spare you the details of how you discipline a child who attempts to kick the hair stylist.

The simple and do-able style that I was taught on Monday has to be redone every couple of days, so today I embarked on my first challenge. A wide tooth comb. A tub of vaseline. A million rubber bands. And a sea of kinky black afro.

Guess what? I DID IT. The process wasn't pretty. And I pretty much didn't accomplish anything else all morning. She may have won a couple of battles in the whole process. But I definitely won the war. And when she started to act up I took care of it immediately. (It's amazing how a little hair pulling and a required 20 minutes of sitting still can transform a wonderfully easygoing, well-behaved child into a specimen fit for Nanny 911. I will never judge again.)

Bless her heart. She's learning. And so am I. You may wonder: "Why is she torturing that poor child? Can't she just cut it short and wait until she's older?" I assure you that speaking with anyone who shares my daughter's hair or skin color will convince you otherwise. It's important. For identity. For self-esteem. (Also, apparantly, for learning how to be a better Christian, as it takes MUCH PRAYER.) And I have promised myself that even though I have already spent more time grooming Sunda than I have spent on myself in the last 6 months, that I will do whatever it takes to make her LIFE, and the struggles that may come with it...easier. Because she deserves that.

Sunda is running a fever tonight and is not happy. So, sadly, no pictures for your enjoyment. Soon. As soon as my parts get straighter and I can get the barrettes to stay in. I'll be sure to remind her of this when she's eighteen, don't worry.

Maybe once I get really good I'll blog a whole SERIES about doing kinky hair. Probably not. But you'd read it...right? Yeah..right.


Jennifer said...

Whatever! I'd read it. Loving your experiences with Sunda hair. Thanks for the phone call too! It makes me feel special.

love always, Auntie Jenn

Beth said...

Definitely would read it... definitely. And I'm excited to see pictures. Scratch that. I'm excited to see you both in person NEXT WEEKEND. :)

Kara said...

Ha ha, I would definitely read that. I'm curious. I never knew Vaseline was used for that, that just shows I'm the mother of a white boy.

Brian and Brooke Barnett said...

NANNY 911...HA!