Friday, January 8, 2010

I'm Gonna Need Naomi.

OK, there's this topic circulating the Canada-adopts-Ethiopia yahoo forum right now regarding hair care for children adopted from Ethiopia.  One wise woman actually bought a mannequin head with afro hair in order to practice 'doing' this kind of hair...I think the mannequin's name is Naomi!

This topic dredged up from somewhere way deep down a long-standing fear of mine:  hair!  I am simply horrible with hair.  I've never been able to do my own hair well, have never known what style might look good on my head, cannot use a curling iron, cannot braid a single rope of hair (much less braid in french or corn row style), have not a hot clue what to do with things like clips and bands and other such things.

Hair terrifies me.  One of my biggest reliefs when I learned that Matthew was a boy was the fact that I was reprieved from having to learn about hair.  I simply keep it cut short and - here's an embarrassing fact - I only comb it once every week or two (not even always after washing, because it just looks the same all the time...guys are so lucky).  How can I possibly entertain the possibility that I might adopt two little girls, especially when those two little girls come with afro curly hair?  It's my single biggest terror about adopting.

A few weeks ago, my five-year-old niece, who has lovely, fine, poker-straight, shoulder-length hair, was over.  After she and Matthew had been playing hard for a while, I noticed with some horror that her hair, which had arrived at my house artfully styled, was hanging all over her face.  I dread these moments because I simply don't know what to do.  Wouldn't you know it, my niece came marching right over and said "Auntie Ruth, my hair is hanging in front of my face - could you put a little braid in it like my mommy does?"  Darn, darn, darn.  "Sure" was my response, "though I'm probably not going to be as good at this as your mommy."  Probably?  Who was I trying to fool? A five-year-old?  I tried to hide my  fear as I reached for the comb.

Well, the simple little braid she'd requested clearly didn't work (it looked like a writhing snake hanging off the side of her head), so I asked her if two ponytails would be ok with her...I figured I might be able to get away with that. She said fine, though clearly she was tiring of the wait while I pillaged through her hair and awkwardly manhandled elastic bands.  "There you go, love," I said after five further minutes of labour.  It was pretty awful.  The part going down the back of her head looked so zig-zagged that it could almost (but definitely not quite) have been deliberate.  One pony tail was about an inch lower than the other, despite my best and repeated efforts to get them even; and on the higher little tail, about a quarter of the hair was already straggling out of the elastic and drooping down onto her neck.  She ran to the bathroom to take a look and I could hear her giggling.  So much for being able to fool a five-year-old.  When she came back, she came straight over to me and hugged me, smiling.  Her kind words were: "Don't worry Auntie Ruth - my mom has had lots more practice than you.  And if you bring home one or two sisters for Matthew (from Ethiopia), I'll help you with their hair, ok?"  I kissed her and mumbled something about how I'd need her help with their clothing, too - I mean, really, who knows anything about leggings and coordinating pinks and purples?

But that's another story altogether.  Where do you buy mannequin heads with afro hair??


  1. I too, could not braid before Tsega came home from Ethiopia. I watched LOTS of video's on You Tube and practiced on a doll with coarse blond hair. People are always asking us which hairdresser does Tsega's hair and I always reply..."Her brothers and I". I still don't know how to cornrow....but it sure looks like cornrows!

    You can do too, Ruth!!!!!

  2. Oh Ruth,

    SO sorry to have scared you so with my adventures with Noami,
    Yep that is her name I bought her on ebay, I really am thinking as crazy as it is we might need a yahoo group for folks with " Noami's at home "
    I wish you knew for sure if you are getting a girl ( I am sure you wish you knew too ) Then you know the effort to tackle your fear would be worth it.
    I also wish I lived down the street and Noami and I could come over for a visit and walk you through the fear.
    Well I will keep you posted, ,my email is s kelly at videotron dot ca.
    If you want some more info,
    Have a good start to the weekend,
    Ps Glad you thought it was a wise move, it kinda felt like another crazy adopter with time on her hands kind of purchase .
    I can kinda do the hair thing, at least last time I braided hair was in high school but I could french braid at that point , so maybe there's some hope.

    You can also so the 2 puff thing , sure we could get you good through your fear enough to master that one.

  3. i laughed out loud reading this! i have never 'done' my hair, or makeup for that matter...jokes on me me though..i ended up with three girls so far! :)

  4. I found some on eBay, but I see they're all sold out now... wonder why! lol!

    But yeah, it's all about experience. Don't worry! :)

    it's funny.... my word verification is "plaiting." How apt!

  5. OK, thank you for all of the supportive comments. And yeah, Darci, I could easily have added my non-existent makeup expertise...I think I've done the same sparse routine since I was, like, twenty!

    So e-bay's sold out - that's funny! Imagine the headline: "There's been a run on afro mannequin heads as women across the country scramble to learn hair care."

    Too funny. I wonder if it's possible to shave a girl's head??!


  6. ok i am CRACKING UP over your headline...

  7. Hey Ruth,

    I also bought the Naomi head. I ordered it from Giell Beauty Supply.
    I haven't got it/her yet, but I'm excited. I also ordered a clamp, so as I learning I don't have a head rolling around!
    Good luck head hunting! God Bless!

  8. What a cute story! :-) You could always just take her to a salon. Or have a friend teach you?
    My son Matthew turned five in 2009 too. :-) But I'm in Florida so we're pretty far away. LOL

    I think it's awesome you're doing adoptions. Don't worry about hair. It's not that important. :-)

    Thank you for stopping by my blog the other day!

  9. The hair is my greatest fear too! I'm glad I'm not alone in my fears, even though I'm sure it will not be as traumatic as I have made it up to be in my head, if I have to learn hair care!

  10. I don't have any ideas b/c I have trouble keeping my straight-haired kid in pony tails. Where there's a will there's a way, of course. And I have faith you'll be plaiting like a master soon enough! (:

  11. Just wanted to say thank you for the supportive comments, and thank you, too, for the comments from those folks who are new to my blog - welcome!!


  12. Ebay, my friend, ebay!

    But yeah, hair is important. And depending on what typeof hair your girl(s) might have, it can be harder or easier... but you will learn and they will forgive the first few aweful styles!!! :-)