Coco has gorgeous, thick curls but since moving here she has a strong desire to have, as she calls it, “big hair.”  She says she wants hair that hangs down and she will put towels or shirts over her head and shake it or pat it down in her imaginary play.

I probably shouldn’t be bothered by this, because I too did this as a child, but I am.  She is starting to notice differences in people now, including skin color. She tells me she is “black” and I am “yeddow” and we spend a lot time discussing how moms and kids don’t have to “match” with the help of books like A Mother for Choko, but this rubs hair thing me differently. Though her class is very international, most of her classmates have straight hair and are not the gorgeous chocolate brown that she is so I go out of my way to tell things like, “Who has the most gorgeous skin in the preschool?” or saying how beautiful her curls are. On one hand I think saying these things is necessary for her to build a positive self-image but I at the same time I don’t want her to focus on a lot on physical characteristics. I spend equal time– no more– talking about the importance of being polite, saying kind things, perseverance, etc.

But when it comes to differences the thing she focuses most on is hair. I suppose you can change your hair in pretend play and not your skin color so that may have something to do with it but also nearly 100% of the dolls in toy stores have long, straight hair so she is constantly being bombarded with the long-straight-hair-is-beautiful images, not to mention the commercials and advertisements here have Asian people in them exclusively. Nearly everywhere we go she sees people with long straight hair. On top of this, strangers are always reminding her that her hair is different. People are constantly coming up to her and touching her hair! I’m not kidding. Complete strangers find it perfectly acceptable to walk up to her and put their hands in her hair and pull on the curls. I asked her if it bothered her and she said it did so I told her to tell them not to do it. Now when someone touches her hair she says, “My mommy said don’t touch my hair!” LOL


Clearly part of the issue with this is me. It bothers me that her hair is so short. I don’t tell her that of course because it’s adorable and easy to care for but I do wonder why it is taking so long to grow. Some of the families who adopted when I did had their child’s head shaved and their child’s hair has grown back and it’s longer than Coco’s. It is astounding and to be honest it is starting to concern me. She eats a very healthy diet most of the time, I use natural products like coconut oil in her hair, we only wash it once a week and she usually sleeps with a sleep cap. I had her wearing it out quite a bit at first but now I am doing more style thinking the ends need to be more protected. I also suspect that her even though it wasn’t getting washed, her hair getting wet in the tub every night may have had something to do with it so I have instructed the new yaya to keep that from happening. But honestly, I really don’t know! Anyone got some tips for me?


Hair. It’s such a sensitive topic, isn’t it?

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11 Responses to Hair

  1. Robin(dootaboot) says:

    Hello You and A look like y’all are doing great. Keep up the good work. I commented to you about things on you old blog. I am still thinking about adoption from Ethoipia and ready to start next year. With my children I just done the parts with rubberbands. When you take the bands out cut them don’t pull them out. This way you can still grease her scalp and it is still getting air. I am also from Pgh I went to Peabody HS. I was just there a few weeks ago. I miss it and also miss going to Kennywood yearly. Hope you can get back soon to visit your family. Take care and be blessed. Robin(dootaboot)

  2. Joy says:

    thanks everyone for all your suggestions!

  3. D says:

    I can recall playing in the playground with my cardigan over my head pretending it was hair!
    This didn’t have any effect on me I think!
    Coco has beautiful hair and it will grow or just that some children have different growth rate. Of my nieces at 4 they all had different length of hair and the amazing thing is the one who had the shortest hair at 4 now has the longest hair.
    A friend of mine swears cairnrowing her daughter hair and leaving it for a week does wonders.

  4. Jacqui says:

    Please try Carols Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey and Hair milk. I dont know if they ship. In the interim, start training her hair by brushing it every night and morning, oiling her scalp and keeping her hair in two pigtails. You will be amazed. Jewel had really short hair when she came home but because of the above technique her hair has finally started to grow. Now that she has a little length, I now plait the two ponytails versus twisting the hair. Hope that that helps.

  5. Robyn says:

    Hi Joy, So glad we get to blog chat again 🙂 We must skype soon! I have found a blog called chocolate hair vanilla care and the mom that writes it is a hair guru! She has answers to all kinds of questions including how to get hair to grow. I am a huge fan of her site and I have been learning everything I can from her. She also answers emails. Twinkle was pretty much bald until she was 18 months old.. remember I sent you photos of the mohawk that she had? Now 32 months and still has a bald spot at the back. I think some take longer to grow hair or for it to fill in. Twinkle too eats great food and it is growing for sure but it has taken sooooo long! Check out Rory’s blog. She might have some good ideas for you. Big hugs to both of you from us!! 🙂 R & A

  6. June says:

    I have no idea if this is accurate, but my beautician has always told me that there’s a specific length at which hair tapers off from growing for each child/adult. Even with the best of care, some people’s hair would grow down to their shoulders or beyond, while others’ hair will only grown a few inches. In my own experience, I would tend to agree. Even with clipping my ends regularly, washing it regularly (but not too often) and daily moisturizing, I find my hair doesn’t keep it’s bounce or hold a curl if it grows an inch or two beyond my shoulders. If this theory is true, it would make no difference to the potential for hair growth if a parent shaved his or her child’s head at some point. The length that the child’s hair is genetically programmed to grow would determine length with optimal care. Your little one has adorable hair, and it sounds like you’re very intentional about ensuring that you celebrate her beauty – inside and out. Luckily, there are lots of books around these days which reinforce those messages as well.

  7. Whitney says:

    I don’t have any advice, but I do think that all of the emotions expressed (yours AND hers) are completely normal. I also know that hair can grow at very different rates, and it sounds like you are doing everything right for Coco’s hair, so try your best not to worry. It will grow in time. She is just lovely! Good luck:)

Kind words only, please! :)

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