Hair – Bippity Bop Barbershop

When we got a referral for an older boy and a baby girl, I breathed a sigh of relief that I wouldn’t have to instantly start braiding hair.  I figured I’d have a few years before my precious girl asked for her hair to be long and smooth or until she was disappointed that it didn’t look like the Cinderella’s.   I thought that we could just use the clippers on a boy and keep it really short.  I never imagined that he would care.  I was wrong.

Yes, Ayub is having issues with his hair.  He has made it clear that he wants it to look like Dad’s.  On our first trip to Ethiopia, he spent a lot of time running his hands over the top of Andrew’s hair.  That should have been my first red flag.  He never paid attention to my hair, even though it was long.  He was already thinking then that he’d like to have Andrew’s hair cut.

Now, he spends time in the bathtub pouring water over his hair and flattening it with his hand until it’s relatively smooth.  But then, when he gets out of the tub and we dry him off, he gets angry that we’ve messed up his pretty hair.  He will touch Andrew’s sideburns and then his own and tell us that he wants them the same.  Ummm….not gonna happen, kid.

So, being the avid children’s book collector that I am, I turn to literature to try to help him be proud of who he is.  I found this book, by the same author as I Love My Hair and ordered it as fast as I could:

The description talked about a young boy, Miles, who had some apprehension about his first trip to the barbershop.  Since the theme of Tarpley’s other book was loving the hair you’ve got, I thought this would be a perfect read for us.

Turns out, a big theme in this book is Miles’ decision about what kind of hair style he would like.  And guess what?  He decides he wants his hair cut JUST LIKE HIS DAD.  (Sorry if I gave away too much and spoiled the suspense.)  That doesn’t help me.  At all.  It is a sweet book, with themes of friendship, pride, and family.  It has beautiful water color illustrations, similar to the previous book.  For the average toddler, it would be a great book to read before a haircut.

But my little boy will never have the option of having dad’s hairstyle.  It’s just another in his long string of losses.




3 responses

  1. Hi. I have curly (!) , brown, going to grey(!) hair and my beloved daughter has shiny, straight, black hair. When she was tiny she wanted hair with curls and occasionally we have curled it. You have never seen a child love her curls as much as mine did – boing boing boing, she LOVED those curls. I frequently pointed out other Asian girls with beautiful black shiny hair and talked about how , when I was small, I wanted straight shiny hair. It is a part of their adoption story that some things they will never share with us. Your son may be sad now. You can point out other black men with cool curly hair when you see them in your community or in books and magazines. You can find pictures of black men with dyed, shaved, dreadlocked or straightened hair too. Hair is something subject to change.
    I also point out Asian girls who have permanently dyed or curled their hair and we talk about why they may have done that and how it looks (and what their mothers may think, in the case of college girls with dyed hair and piercings). Mostly I have consistently pointed out that she is beautiful and perfect the way that she is and having straight, blonde hair or brown hair would look funny with her features.
    Blessings as you continue this journey and face together all of the joys and challenges. Stay strong. Smile lots.

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