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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