When you have kids, you learn things from them. I think everyone knows that by now. And I certainly realized it early on. But what I didn’t realize were all the things I’d learn from my son that have absolutely nothing to do with children or child-raising. Like how to properly care for curly hair.
My son is like me in many, many ways. He’s funny, empathetic, and loves chocolate with all his heart. My mother swears up and down that he looks and behaves just like I did as a child. He will spend nearly an hour scribbling on paper (today he said, “pen and paper? write AY-BEE-SEES!”). He sings to himself when he forgets people are around. He forgets people are around when he starts doing something he loves. But, like all parent/child pairs, there are things about my son that are the exact opposite of me. Like his curly hair.
My son is blonde, like me. But, unlike mine, his hair is remarkably curly. Until recently, I was treating it just like mine. Shampooing, brushing, etc. Llamaface, who also has curly hair, didn’t stop me. Because, like most people who grow up in a society where straight hair is revered and treated like the norm, he had no idea that he has been abusing his hair his entire life. That cycle had started over with our son. The curls in the back of Boogermonkey’s head were constantly matted and I fretted that I’d have to cut his hair before I was ready to, because it just wasn’t capable of staying un-tangled. One day, I stumbled upon a thread on a message board for parents, a thread about caring for curly hair. It was like a lightbulb went off.
No shampoo. Keep the brush away from their head. Finger-comb or wide-toothed comb while the conditioner is in their hair, and then LEAVE IT ALONE. Satin pillowcase to avoid tangles at nighttime. NO BRUSHING. NO SHAMPOO. I was skeptical. Of course we need to use shampoo! How else will we avoid greasy hair? But I gave it a shot, and so did Llama. It’s been two weeks. Two weeks and those formerly-matted pseudo-dreadlocks are now bouncy, springy ringlets. Two weeks and Llama’s dandruff is improving dramatically. Two weeks and both of them have softer, less tangled hair. Two weeks with nothing but conditioner. I am a convert. And I have my child to thank for it.