Boys with Curls: When to Stop Being So Damn Sentimental with Your Kid’s Hair

BoysWithCurlsBlog

In the tradition of Lao babyhood, all infants have their heads shaved for the belief that it will grow lustrous and strong. (For whatever else, I don’t know) This tradition is oft suggested to newborns, which is when my mom suggested we shave Humnoy’s head. The kid still had vernix pasted on his vagina-squeezed, oblong head when #AznGrandma about busted out the buzzer. Being the overprotective and wannabe-natural boho mommy I was, I absolutely refused no matter how unfortunate his hair journey started.

Humnoy had this weird, old-man hair when he was an infant: smooth/fuzzy on top; long on the sides and back. Shit was a M E S S. It wasn’t up until he was a full-blown toddler that he grew out of the old-man look and started showing growth and, to my softness for unique hair traits, perfect little brown spirals. I knew waiting out was going to be worth it. I thought, “Oh gee golly, I’m sure glad I didn’t listen to my crazy Lao mother because look at his hair now!”

For what seems like every public outing of his life, I’ve gotten the question: “When will you cut his hair?” usually right after they are offended/surprised that the little girl they are fawning over in the shopping cart is actually my first-born son, who’s never ever had a haircut. I would answer, “Well, I don’t plan on it really, [why?]” What is it about the length of a child’s hair define who they are? Humnoy was always quick to say, “I’m a BOY!” when I’d repeat my, “Oh, HE’S [insert his age]!” I was fiercely proud that I did not ever force him to get a haircut. For what? So strangers can see “who” they’re talking to? No way. Buzz off.

BeforeCurls

There was finally a time GH and I decided that, yeah, sometimes maintaining his brown curls was more work than not. One day, he got his hair so matted that he formed a baby dreadlock. I thought, “Crap, maybe he does need a haircut” but then he took another bath and fresh, new curls appeared after the baby dread was cut off, along with all my doubt. (It is now in a Ziploc bag in our kitchen because I’m fucking crazy like that). The only other time was when we were reviewing how he’s going to prepare for preschool. I hesitated on my motherly instinct only because I know how cruel people, even preschoolers, can be. I think we decided he would get an actual haircut when he enters Pre-K 4 this coming school year.

Ironically at one month before he was to turn four years old, his eligibility age for his preschool, it was clear that it really wasn’t up to me at all. Not then, not now, not never and Humnoy and his preschool scissors made that very clear (cut) while Lanoy and I were taking our nap, the time when Humnoy should be “quietly playing” since he’s given up on home naps. Long gone are naps for him, long gone are his beautiful baby curls and long gone is all my gushiness for his own hair on his very own head. ‘His hair, his body, his choice,’ isn’t that how it goes or whatever-someshit?

SelfHaircutPreschool

 When did you (or they) cut your kid’s hair?

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How I Ended Up Like My Tiger Mom With Peaceful Parenting

Welcome to the June 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:

Parenting in Theory vs. in Reality

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing how their ideas and methods of parenting have changed.

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In Laotian ceremonies where blessings are the cultural spotlight, “get good grades” was the most common blessing for children by elders next to lifelong health. Another common blessing was also to “be good children,” disguised as don’t fail your parents; “get good grades.” Academic success is financial stability is parental success. My mom was born in Laos, a tiny country in Southeast Asia, and she is known to be a classic “Tiger Mom.” By the time my siblings and I were in school and my memories were valid, I was raised to succeed in school and I did. I began earning as a straight-A/B student during the grade years that counted and earned a varsity letter in tennis my freshman year of high school then go on to be the first female in my family of immigrants to graduate college and, hell, high school in my immediate family. In Tiger Mom finesse, she still attributes all my achievements in the way my mom raised me, the way she talked to me, and even disciplined me.

Tiger Mom is a term used to describe a mother, who uses strict ruling and tough love to drive their child(ren) toward academic success. The stereotype is the overbearing, always yell-talking Mom, who seems to hate all your friends. That example is loosely based on my experience growing up with my mom, who moved to the U.S. in 1979 and was (arrange) married to my father six years later. There are a few definitions which narrow Tiger Moms down to being Chinese but it can cross many ethnicities. In all accuracy though, Tiger Moms usually are Asian and their children are first-generation American students, who are terrified of getting spanked by a flip flop for anything less than an top of the class.

I felt deprived and embarrassed like when my mom vehemently denied for me to attend a sleepover across the street. She was so rooted in her our culture that she would’ve done most of anything to keep me from assimilating into sleepovers and Hanson music videos and focus only on academics. Her parenting energy was devoted toward my success and stripped my emotional well-being that I rebelled so hard that it shattered all her work with underage binge drinking and a few citations to show for it. Lavishing in my selfishness and proclamation to be forever child-free, I was smacked harder than the fly swatter when I became pregnant in 2010. I made this internal vow to never be like my mom. I will never heed her advice, I will never let her teach my children, I will never forgive her. Two grand-babies later, the proverbial apple didn’t fall far from the motherhood tree no matter how hard I intently reached for the opposite of my upbringing.

It took me 20 months of gestation and two natural births then 26 months of peaceful parenting to finally realize I’m my tiger mom. I want my children to succeed. I want them to have a stable life. I want them to be driven. Most of all, we both want the best for them. My tiger mom wanted me to achieve more than she was able to and I have the same wish for mine. She had her way of making it happen and I have my peaceful ways to guide them. Though using eccentric methods, she was selfless in wanting me to always do my absolute best. I believe that’s all my mom knew and I know differently as a mom so I do better. Disguised under “peaceful parenting,” I’m driving myself to excel at parenting so my children will be successful people much like the wishes from my tiger mom.

tiger mom

How are you the same/different as your parents?

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (posts will be live and updated no later than afternoon on June 11):

  • My little gastronomes — “I’ll never cook a separate meal for my children,” Maud at Awfully Chipper vowed before she had children; but things didn’t turn out quite as she’d imagined.
  • Know Better, Do Better. Except When I Don’t. — Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy was able to settle in her parenting choices before her children arrived, but that doesn’t mean she always lives up to them.
  • Judgments Made Before Motherhood — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks back on her views of parents she came in contact with before she became a mother and how much her worldview of parenting has changed!
  • A Bend in The Road — Lyndsay at ourfeministplayschool writes about how her visions of homeschooling her son during the elementary school years have changed drastically in the last year – because HE wants to go to school.
  • I Wish Children Came with Instruction Manuals — While Dionna at Code Name: Mama loves reading about parenting, she’s not found any one book that counts as an instruction manual. Every child is different, every family is different, every dynamic is different. No single parenting method or style is the be-all end-all. Still, wouldn’t it be nice if parenting were like troubleshooting?
  • The Mistakes I’ve Made — Kate at Here Now Brown Cow laments the choices she made with her first child and explains how ditching her preconceived ideas on parenting is helping her to grow a happy family.
  • I Only Expected to Love… — Kellie at Our Mindful Life went into parenting expecting to not have all the answers. It turns out, she was right!
  • They See Me Wearin’, They Hatin’ — Erin Yuki at And Now, for Something Completely Different contemplates putting her babywearing aspirations into practice, and discussed how she deals with “babywearing haters.”
  • Parenting Human BeingsErika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting.
  • Doing it right: what I knew before I had kids… — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud, guest posting at Natural Parents Network realises that the number one game in town, when it comes to parenting, is judgement about doing it right. But “doing it right” looks different to everybody.
  • A synopsis of our reality as first time parents — Amanda at My Life in a Nut Shell summarizes the struggles she went through to get pregnant, and how her daughter’s high needs paved the way for her and her husband to become natural parents.
  • Theory to Reality? — Jorje compares her original pre-kid ideas (some from her own childhood) to her personal parenting realities on MommaJorje.com.
  • The Princess Paradigm — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen had planned to raise her daughter in a sparkly, princess-free home, but in turn has found herself embracing the glitz.
  • Healthy Eating With Kids: Ideal vs. Real — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs had definite ideas about what healthy eating was going to look like in her family before she had kids. Little did she realize that her kids would have something to say about it.

The “Community” in Community Pool: What Kid Trespassers Taught Me

It was perfect Seattle sunshine and perfect to take part in our ungodly high rent and use the shit out of our gated community’s amenities. Coinciding with Gym Hottie’s day off, we took a family dip in the apartment pool. There are plenty of other nice perks living here: a full-sized basketball court, what some may call a “workout” room, and the office managers leave out cookies on the daily. The pool area though, hands down, is the finest feature. In addition to the heated pool is a jetted jacuzzi tub. Yep, for a hefty monthly rent, we’re livin’ the life.

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I’m engaged in my usual playground conversation with “Abuela” who always brings her two young grandsons. We get into a discussion of the housing market in the Seattle area and how our resident rent here is far more than most mortgages. We defend the markup by justifying its many nice features such as the gates and the pool. We later come to share common testimony that the residents of our community aren’t the only ones who utilize it. Abuela said that she knows people from surrounding apartments come to our community to swim. She was more worried that they were unsanitary and that we “don’t know where they’ve been.” Granted, we don’t know where our fellow residents have been but I understand her frustration.

I, myself, have seen two kids walk across the street up to our community gates to go swimming. These fools didn’t even bother to go undercover; their asses dressed in their swim trunks and everything! I shared this with GH and he was annoyed because he “pays good money” to live here. I first agreed with both him and Abuela but I then reassessed. I thought long about the kids that walked to our place. Long enough to remember where they were walking from and why they would take that risk at being kicked out. It takes a village and these kids are a part of my “village,” even from opposite sides of the street. I would much rather have those two kids swimming in our pool than involved in undesirable activity elsewhere. I prefer them engaging with kids in our pool than influential people on the streets. Their general presence doesn’t do immediate harm to anybody because the community authorities are even none the wiser. My agreement switched from a privilege to genuine concern for the trespassers because there is no lifeguard on duty. I would hope that my children will take the time to reassess community when they face a dilemma like this. I want them to step off a place of privilege and see the whole community and how to react within the community beyond zoning codes and electric gates.

How would you feel if something you paid for was used by somebody else? Why do you feel that way?

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