Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Haircut and a Metaphor

Here is a little background on Little Miss's hair. First of all, let me say in no uncertain terms that I LOVE this girl's hair. It is perfect, and soft, and very tightly curled. Is it a challenge sometimes? Yes. Does that mean I wish it were different? Of course not. But as her hair had been getting a little longer, the curls were getting more tightly curled, making it a little more difficult to brush/comb through. A lot of figuring out what is going to work on your own child's hair is through trial and error, so that's what we'd been doing. I was pretty good at getting her little 'fro brushed through in the mornings, but then after she'd been in her carseat a couple of times, then taken a nap, then smooshed her hair down with her bike helmet, by the end of the day it looked like I hadn't done a darn thing to it.
So last September, enter my neighbor's niece R. R literally came knocking on my door one day, telling me she wanted to talk to me about Zoe's hair. I'm all about taking constructive criticism so I was all for it. R told me that most African American little girls have their hair relaxed and she thought that would be a good idea for Zoe because of how active she is, and because of how tightly curled her hair is. Being that R is African American, and I am not, I figured she knew better than I did, so I agreed. She came back a couple of days later and did the "relaxer" in our kitchen. I should have asked more questions, I should have known better, but I did not know that "relaxer" meant "chemically and permanently straighten" my 3-year-old daughter's hair. In my meager defense, had I known these things, I would not have even considered it.
Anyway, when the process was done, the tears I shed, the grief I felt, the GUILT that consumed me every time I looked at Zoe's hair! The cure for this straightening nightmare? Grow it out. Are you kidding me? I've just spent the past 3+ years trying to "grow it out" and now I'm looking at probably even longer than that to just get it back to where we were the day before I straightened it. But I try to be a glass half-full kind of girl. I let it go and let it grow. After a couple of months, we started to see some glorious little curls start to peek through at her hairline again. I loved it, but at the same time it made combing more difficult because it was a little more matted and difficult to get through. Trust me this straightening business did not make it any easier on any of us! Zoe is a tender-headed little chick, even though she's tough as nails with everything else. So the hair-combing process sounds like child abuse at our house (but it's not, I promise!)
Then I ran into my friend Amy and her daughter A at one of Max's basketball games of all places. A is 2 weeks older than Zoe and is from Ethiopia as well. In discussing the "great hair disaster of 2009", Amy told me about the stylist that she and A go to and that she may be able to help me out. This may be my answer! I had been waiting and waiting, not knowing what to do, when to cut off the old straight hair. So yesterday, Z and I went to the very fancy salon, and what do you know? Miss A has an 8-year-old daughter herself, named guess what? Zoey!! It was a match made in hair heaven.

Feelin' fancy after getting a special deep-conditioner

The amazing Miss A, working her magic while Zoe enjoys the show!
So off came the old hair, and in with the new. Zoe looks like a fresh, new, beautiful, short-haired, curly-headed gorgeous girl. I'm so proud of how she takes things in stride. I feel bad about the uninformed decision I made about her hair. I won't be doing that again, with anything! Hair is a big deal to most little girls (honestly, it really never was to me, but that's another story...maybe Zoe will get that from me?? Who knows...), and I will probably always look back at this with a sting of regret. But we are starting fresh and she looks amazing. Here she is:

After. Rockin' the short hair and the gorgeous smile.

OK, so here's the metaphor. We all make mistakes. Thankfully hair is a relatively painless one. But this just showed me that sometimes when we make mistakes, we try to push through, making the best of it, and sometimes that works just fine. Other times, we realize we made the mistake, but because of it we have to keep repeating that mistake, living with it day in and day out until it becomes a big problem (one option for Zoe's hair was to continue straightening it, month after month, as new growth came in...indefinitely!). Sometimes we just have to cut off the mistake, stop it, end it, and move on with some new growth and understanding. I hope this makes sense, and if it doesn't, just enjoy the pictures of Zoe! :) Have a great start to spring break!


  1. She looks adorable! ... and luckily she has a mom with fabulous short hair to look up to!

  2. I love it! What a great story to learn from... good job Mom!

  3. Great hair cut. Makes her BIG beautiful eyes stand out!