We had just walked out the door to get in the car and take Makenzie to German Kindi. Makenzie says, “Mommy, I don’t want my hair like this”. I pretty much blow her off and say, “girl if you don’t come get in the car”. She follows up, “But (boys name), said he doesn’t like my hair”. My mama bear antennae immediately went up and I started spewing out all the things to let her know that we do not care what this little boy thinks. Once in the car, I realized there was a real conversation that we needed to have.
Every time I touch Makenzie’s hair, I tell her how beautiful it is. She even has a daily affirmation she says to remind her how God made her beautiful. However, for this 3 ½-year-old, all the knowledge of her beauty came into question the moment that little boy told her he didn’t like her curly afro-puff sitting on top of her head. You see, my little Afro-Latina girl is essentially alone in a sea of fine haired boys and girls at her Kindi. While the kindi is very diverse, there is no one with hair like hers. That day, this little boy could have approached any kid in the school to discuss their hair, but he chose my daughter. While I was initially ticked off, I was eventually thankful. His actions allowed me to have a very important conversation with my daughter that I pray she can carry on throughout her life.
On the way to Kindi that day, we spent the entire ride talking about knowing the truth about ourselves and not allowing anyone to change that truth. This may seem a bit high-level for a 3 ½-year-old, but I knew she would grasp the concept in her own way. We went over all the facts about the beauty of her hair, the beauty of her skin, her kind personality, her smart brain, etc. We then discussed how she should respond when people say things to her that are different than the truth she already knows (good lesson for adults too!). We role played and came up with responses to things other kids might possibly say to her. I would make a statement, such as “I don’t like your hair” and ask her “but what is the truth?”. The goal of this discussion was to teach her how to be unbothered by others' baseless opinions of her, because she knows the truth.
As soon as we walk in the door of her Kindi, we see this little boy and Makenzie is ready! She immediately tells him, “(boys name) my hair is not for you to like. You need to focus on yourself!”. He looked so confused. This mama was P-R-O-U-D, especially because she said it with a little power and in the right tone (because that matters) HAHA.
This little boy could have had no real ill intent and may have just been “joking”. The problem is little kids are so impressionable that I couldn’t just let this slide. It is no joke when my curly girl is telling me she doesn’t want to wear her hair a certain way because of some kids’ statement. Just as it was for me growing up, Makenzie may often be the only girl in the room with hair like hers and I want her to love her hair rather than feel less than because of it! I would have done her a disservice to just brush it off as “kids being kids”. I write this post to remind each of us to really listen to the things said by the kids we love and care for. It is super easy to just ignore kids because they often are irrational and silly, but in brushing them off we may miss a teachable moment. I also learned that not every issue involving your child and another child is grounds for the parental turn-up HAHA. Sometimes these issues really are great for teaching your child about life. That is exactly what happened on this day.
P.S. When she got home, we read several poems/stories from this book pictured below. I highly recommend it if you have curly head kids. It contains images and poems representing all textures of curls.