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??