Usually my kids fight over candy, toys or TV. Today, they were fighting about my hair. “I don’t want Mom’s hair to be curly,” said my four-year-old son. “I want it curly,” replied my seven-year-old daughter. Regardless of their stance on my strands neither has seen my hair curly.
My daughter was a year old when I first got it straightened and my son was, well, not a twinkle in my eye. When I got pregnant with him, I heard that I couldn’t have my curly roots touched up. There’s no scientific evidence that it’s bad for pregnant women, but my straightening guy doesn’t like using chemicals on mommas-in-the-making. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Not only was my belly (and butt) getting big and bumpy, so was my hair! (Had I known, I would’ve tried to time the conception of my second child to just a few days post-straightening.) Instead, those nine months were tough.
I used to joke that the first person I was going to call after my baby was born was the salon where I get my hair straightened. (Actually it wasn’t a joke. Since my parents were already at the hospital, I called the salon before calling my best friend! But don’t tell.) Two weeks post-partum, I was in my stylist’s chair happily getting my curly roots tamed. There’s a photo of me and my son from just a few days later and it’s one of my favorites. I’m literally glowing — not just because I had a beautiful, healthy baby boy — but also because I had shiny, sleek straight hair after several months of bumps.
But back to my kids’ battle over mom’s curls. My daughter only wanted my hair curly because my husband talks wistfully about my curly days – the poor guy even carries a photo of my waves in his wallet! But it was only recently that I let my daughter know my hair was naturally curly. The first few years of her life, her hair was slow growing so I wasn’t sure if it would be straight or curly. If it was curly, I didn’t want her to feel bad about it - which she would if she knew I was straightening mine. (Incidentally, her locks turned out to be stick straight, thick and shiny - the kind of hair I envied as a kid.)
My son’s rationale for wanting my hair to stay straight was that he thought I was going to drop him off at school with straight hair and pick him up with curly locks. He didn’t realize that the change would be so painfully slow and gradual that he’d barely notice. “I can always go back to straight if we don’t like it,” I reassured him (and admittedly myself.)
Naturally, by school pick-up time, my hair wasn’t any curlier than it was when I dropped him off. Though I admit that when I did my daily check of the back of my hair –using two strategically placed bathroom mirrors- I was pleasantly surprised to see that the curls in the back now hit the nape of my neck. Unfortunately, those in the front reach just up to the top of my ears. According to Devachan curl guru Lorraine Massey, that’s because the exposed front gets much more wear and tear.
Still my hair doesn’t look pretty. It’s a mix of styles and textures like a bowl of various types of pasta. Some strands look like linguine, some like rotini, while others look like elbow macaroni. Despite this, I’m shocked that I’m not even tempted to blow my hair out. I guess I feel like if I’m going to go for the curl, I might was well give those hairs a fighting chance and leave them be without heating, tugging and torturing them. So I stored my blow dryer until cold weather comes and tossed my flat iron (I thought of donating it to someone, but realized doing so was completely uncharitable since no one should be burning her strands).
I also said good-bye to my round brush and tossed every bottle of shampoo in the house — even those belonging to my kids. They don’t have curls, but hearing about the harsh chemicals they contain I’ve decided to make us a poo-free family and, though no one cares but me, I swear everyone’s hair looks healthier. Now if I could only figure a way to get my hair curlier by school pick up, I’d be thrilled.