Glimmers of Life

Archive for August 2011

Heidi Klum revealed this week that she finds the hair of her mixed raced children a new challenge… reportedly explaining in the Huffington Post:

“Having four children, with one having straight hair and three curly, it’s a bit of a new world for me. Growing up with straight hair myself, that was all I really knew how to work with. It was pretty straightforward: wash, air, dry, done.Henry, Johan and Lou – my three youngest – have super-beautiful locks. Their hair definitely requires a different kind of care than my daughter Leni’s hair.”

Taken from this article on Made for Mums

Welcome to the club Heidi! I remember reading someone’s blog last year that disparagingly talked about white mothers with mixed race children who did not understand black hair… but actually I am black and I don’t understand my daughter’s hair – it’s another thing to add to the list of unexpected aspects of parenting.

I remember in the distant past having those “what if” conversations with my partner, what if we had a child, would they be this or that colour, what if they had hair like this person on the TV or that person in a magazine. And I also remember saving an article from Black Hair magazine that talked about different hair types… all way before my daughter was born. What didn’t cross my mind is how I would care for whatever hair any child I had would have.

So my daughter was born and when we first saw her she was very light-skinned, with straight dark hair and blue eyes. I couldn’t help but notice how not-black she was which was disappointing but I was a little relieved that her hair was straight. As the months went by people assured me that she would get darker and that her eyes would turn brown but the only thing that was changing was the straight dark hair was getting longer and fuzzier as it curled up into a funky little mohawk. Now two years on she has a full head of sandy brown hair (like her father) except that the texture walks the kinky line between her father’s and mine. Funnily enough her father calls it ‘fro but it really is a far cry from the full on afro that I have sported throughout my life. And despite me trying to educate him by regularly comparing strands of my hair and hers he persists in this misdiagnosis, and proudly tells his friends and his family about his daughter’s “cool ‘fro”.

In the meantime it is left to me to care for this new hair type that has entered our family. At the moment because she is young and prone to change I am not doing anything drastic (or chemical). I just use a child’s conditioning spray on a day-to-day basis (occasionally a bit of Pink) to make it easier to comb, then wash and condition it once a week with my shampoo and whatever conditioner is handy and monitor the results. Oh sometimes I oil it too but have only done this 3 times I think. It’s not fallen out yet and mostly looks shiny and cared for so I must be on the right track…(oh I say “mostly” to cover the days when she’s put sand, mud, paint, flour or some other substance in it). My plan is to take her to a hairdresser when she’s a little older for some expert advice (and a hair cut but don’t tell her father!) – although unlike Heidi I don’t have a celebrity hairstylist in my circle of friends who I can call on for an expert consultation, so I’m not sure where I’ll go yet but always on the lookout. Does Angela Griffiths (the woman who’s been in Corrie as Steve’s girlfriend, Cutting It and had her own chat show on Sky) still live in Manchester? Maybe she can recommend someone for me???!