Baby, Don’t Be Bald

O definitely inherited BMA’s hairline. I’ve never seen her without a wig or a weave, but you can tell she has a high forehead, and O has always had the hairline of an old man and slow growth. I remember distinctly when O was 15 months old or so going to the park and seeing another black boy his age who had so much hair, pulled back in a ponytail, puffing out beautifully all over the place. Why couldn’t O have some of that hair?Tony, O’s nanny, suggested that it was time to start trying to do some stuff with O’s hair, and he was right. I really try to moisturize it every day, but routine is not my strong suit, and while his hair is longer and filling in, it’s not happening fast, because I’m not protecting it. So O is now getting twist outs to protect his hair and promote growth. He’s still got a band of baldness around the back of his head where he sometimes lies in bed, so I’ve also gotten him a satin pillow to try to prevent breakage.

Today was the first time I did the twist outs myself. I’ve done a couple here and there, but today I did his whole head. It took about 35 minutes of letting O drive the iPad (watching a couple of Gunnarolla videos over and over and over), with a couple of times when he had to get up and not have his head touched, but he was mostly very cooperative. I think I got a good grid, too, especially considering how little coverage he has.

O’s hair wants to loc when I leave it alone, so my ultimate plan is probably locs for him, but he doesn’t have the coverage or the ability to let me clean them enough to start them yet. Or maybe he’ll want to keep his hair short. I don’t know. I’m also not sure if we’re going to do an upsherin for him, but if we do, I’m going to shave his head for it.

Hair is probably not going to be as important for O for gender reasons, but if the next child is female, I want to be on top of this stuff. Hair was a bit of a torture for me growing up, and even worse for my sister, who had her hair cut short as a pre-teen because my mom couldn’t really deal with it. Even with pierced ears, everyone mistook her for a boy, which she hated. Eventually, in high school she got braids. I remember her sitting in Mom and Dad’s room, watching TV all day while the lady came and braided extensions into her hair. She was so happy about not having to do much prep before early morning sports practice, unlike all the white girls on the team.

There have been some interesting reactions to his hair so far. Maybe because it’s a culturally-specific style, one people of other races can’t really wear; maybe it’s because it is a style, rather than just letting it be, but his hair is provoking more comments than before. I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do with it, but he does look different, more black somehow. I know it sounds stupid, but it’s true. He also looks more like his biological sister with his hair in twists; he gave me her signature stink eye the other day and I couldn’t stop laughing. I’m grateful to know her and his other biological siblings so I can see these resemblances.


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