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How do I save my 3yr old's wavy, curly hair?

My daughter has a mixture of waves and ringlets in her hair that only show themselves if her hair is rinsed but not washed, conditioned, combed, or touched in any way.  If we wash and comb out the tangles she ends up with limp blah.  I have tried to scrunch it with curl cream, diffuse it, gel it, not condition it, mouse it, etc. but to no avail.  I need help.  Her hair is fine but not baby fine.  I have straight hair, myself, so I have no clue how to care for her hair.  Her daddy's momma has these wavy curls but her hair texture is different, I have heard it described as ethnic? and my daughter some how ended up with my texture so her tips and tricks have just made my daughters hair look dirty, another downside of being blonde.  It always seems to be getting tangled and broken regardless of what I do.  She so wants to wear her hair down and have beautiful wild princess hair.  What do I do?  What process should I do?  What products should I use on her?