Sunday, June 1, 2014

There's More to Her Than Her Hair


My sweet daughter has long blonde hair that has absolutely perfect spiral curls. When her hair is wet, it goes all the way down to her waist. She's never had a hair cut in her three-and-a-half years of life. There's a part of me that feels there's an unknown of what her hair will do once it's cut and, I guess, I haven't really seen any reason to do it. So, she has long, curly hair that is only a little unruly.

Her hair does get a LOT of attention. And I do mean, a LOT.

When she was born she has dark brown (almost black) hair and it was as straight as it could be. 

Through her first year it got lighter and lighter. At 11 months she got her first curl above her left ear. I had no way of knowing that little curl would turn into what she has today. 

 By the time she was 15 months old that little flip above her left ear turned into her first spiral.

And by the time she was 18 months her hair had lightened even more and the curls were all over. 

 And then it just started to grow longer and longer.


And people began to notice. She learned rather quickly that it is polite to say "thank you" when given a compliment about her hair and she did this often.

She began to point out people that had curly hair like herself and those that had straight hair. Her favorite doll quickly became the one with the unruly blonde, curly hair - just like her. 

Nearly every person my daughter meets compliments her on her hair. And, please, don't get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. My husband and I tell her that her hair is very pretty on a regular basis. But something struck me the other day. The two of us went to a show together and the man taking her ticket told her how pretty her hair was. The very next day, while we were on a walk we met a family with two children nearly the same age as my children. Again, she was told that she had pretty hair. 

That night while I was giving her a bath I said it was a shame to wash her hair because her curls were looking so good still. You see, we have a bath every other night and usually by the end of the second night those curls have turned into a whole lot of frizz or, worse, huge mats on the back of her head where she laid while sleeping. But this bath night they were still perfect spiral curls. And as I was shampooing her hair, I mentioned her curls were so pretty. Her response:
"People tell me that all the time."
She didn't say it in a tone of sadness or happiness. Just matter of factly. And it struck me because I realized in that moment that her hair was a major part of her identity. And she was beginning to realize that. But there's more to her than her hair. So much more. She's sweet and caring, loving and very silly. She likes to sing and dance and isn't at all shy to do so. She loves helping take care of her baby sister and will tell me she's a really good big sister. She's amazing at math. She has loved being read to since the day she was born and started reciting portions of her favorite books when she was 18 months old. She loves nature and has actually taught me and her father things we didn't know about birds and butterflies (that she has learned from her grandmother) and she likes to collect "baby rocks" and burrs and anything else she can find along the way on a walk. She is curious and creative, sassy and happy.

I know that strangers, my family and friends and even I will continue to comment on her hair. Her hair is pretty. She is pretty. And anyone who wants to tell her it certainly should. How we look is a major part of our identity. Each one of us has been identified in some way, at some time by how we look. But I just hope that she and everyone else will keep on seeing her for her many other amazing qualities. As she gets older her hair may change entirely. Or her hair may continue to be an ice breaker when she enters a room. Either way, I hope she never forgets that there's more to her than her hair. 

Do your children have a physical attribute that marks their identify? Do they notice this? Have you discussed it with them? 

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