Learning About Hair – and my "big idea"

Boo and Dimples modeling their new “sleep caps”


I’ve always been a low-maintenance kind of woman when it comes to hair. I think my daughters acquired some sort of recessive gene from my high school best friend who had a gift for things that stump me, like hair, shoes, and purses. My mode of operation in all of those categories is to keep it very simple.

When we decided to adopt two little boys from Ethiopia, I was quietly relieved because I knew that I didn’t have to push myself out of my comfort zone and learn the art of hair care, braiding, baubles, etc. Then God brought Dimples to our family.

At first it was easy. Her hair had been shaved on a regular basis and was still quite short when she arrived home. I bought good hair products from Curly Q’s for Kids and focused on something I could manage, getting Dimples’ hair healthy. It was amazing to see it get soft and shiny. I learned that I should only wash it once a week, comb it out while wet,and put some sort of moisturizer in it every day. I learned a lot the day I asked an African American woman for advice in the hair section of Walmart. She asked me if I was combing Dimples’ hair out with a fine-toothed comb every day. You should have seen the look on her face when I replied that it hurt her too much! After that I got much better at tackling the detangling.

I found a tall, square basket that I filled with Dimples’ hair products, a spray bottle filled with water, a wide-toothed comb and fine-toothed rat-tail comb, hair elastics, hair snaps, our favorite headbands, and various baubles. The basket went on a shelf in the laundry room, just off the kitchen, and I began to learn how to do her hair.

Dimples has really fabulous curls, but as it grew longer, the tangles grew plentiful and combing it out became an ordeal. We finally hit upon a solution of washing it Saturday night, wearing it curly on Sunday, and braiding it before bed on Sunday night. Then in the mornings I could take out one section at a time to moisturize and re-braid it.

She loved it when I bought her the wonderful book, I Love My Hair

One thing stumped me though. I read about having girls sleep in satin or lycra sleep caps, but I couldn’t find any. Even in Seattle I could not find one in the ethnic hair care section. It made sense to me that if Dimples slept in a little cap, her hair would not get as fuzzy and if she slept in it when her curls were loose, they would not get as tangled and matted.

Yesterday I was packing away some school books and taking the stretchy covers off of them. Dimples came in the room and, being silly, she picked up one of the covers and put it on her head. I looked at her and realized this had potential! I wrapped it more snugly on her head and tied a knot in the back to secure it and there it was — a sleep cap for $.50! Of course, Boo wanted one too, although it actually does more harm than good on her hair by giving it static and fly-away hairs. We especially love the little “cat ears” which would normally go on the corners of the book.

So last night I rubbed oil over Dimples’ scalp and on her braids, then slipped her cap on and when she woke up the cap was still there and the oil had soaked in nicely. We may have hit on something! If not, I’m just a slightly nutty white woman learning how to take care of African hair so that Miss B. does not think I am completely inadequate when she comes home. I suspect she will teach me a thing or two about braiding!




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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Julie
    June 11, 2008

    At our adoption training class the hair lady also said that a satin pillow case will help a lot and is easier to find.

  2. darci
    June 11, 2008

    that is so funny! what a great solution. i have been stressing about hair already. i’m definitely a ‘throw it in a ponytail or chop it off’ kind of girl. 🙂 they are so cute together.

  3. Anonymous
    June 11, 2008

    Awww, so cute! I love how Boo was worried that people wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. Give them both a kiss for me!


  4. Cat & Mark
    June 12, 2008

    Where do you get bookcovers like that? We’ve had the same problem (in terms of finding sleep covers). I think it would help a ton! Thanks for sharing!

    Oh, and VERY cute photos.

  5. Signe
    June 12, 2008

    That is a great idea! I laughed several times, we slightly nutty white women gotta be creative. And I could hardly tell them apart.

  6. Raskell Party of 8
    June 12, 2008

    I love how she is wearing her “family” tshirt. Maybe another little girl is wearing hers today. 🙂 Can’t wait to see you!

  7. Rachel
    June 12, 2008

    My great-grandma Violet always slept on a satin pillow case becasue she only washed and styled her hair once a week at the beauty shop. She had been doing this for years and I can remember as a little girl really wanting a pink satin pillow case like hers. Guess what…she gave me one as a wedding gift! I have very curly hair that can only be washed two times a week too…maybe I will pull out that pillow case again.

  8. Amy
    June 12, 2008

    Awesome idea- and creative too! Thanks for the tip! Amy

  9. jen
    June 12, 2008

    I have to know – do you undo, oil, and re-do every braid every day??? How long does this take you???

    You can find some great caps at snapaholics.com – Y has two, and she loves them…though I do love your very cost-effective idea!!! 🙂

  10. Bradshaws
    June 12, 2008

    Love it!!!
    Your girls are SO sweet and beautiful!
    And to our comfort (as white women) I find that every single AA woman I talk to tells me something different. SO, I think we are ALL guessing!! 🙂

  11. Sherry
    June 13, 2008

    What a great idea! The girls look so cute.


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