I have a niece.
She is confident and self-assured, fearless and strong. She is a happy and beautiful child, obsessed with Christmas. She is smart and funny and speaks two languages. She is three years old and already knows everything there is to know about everything.
Her Daddy and Papa asked me what to do with her hair… which is some amazing hair, if you ask me. More than once, I have promised to shave it off and make myself a wig with it… which could still happen, by the way. But I digress.
So, as I was saying, I was called upon to share my exceptional wisdom – of the infinite kind – on all things natural hair.
“Moisturize and seal,” I suggested. “Use water-based products. No petroleum!”
I advised on such topics as what products and tools to try (or not try) and basic hair care techniques. I stayed away from styling since my brother – aka Daddy – is a boss at braiding already, thanks to extensive experience on my nephew’s preschool head – which is now kept in a neat, short, big boy cut.
“Don’t over wash. Use fingers to detangle. Comb, from end to root, with wide teeth. Minimize brushing. And, for the love of Pete, be gentle!”
Of course, I stressed the utter importance of covering her hair when she sleeps. Without exception.
Planting the Seed
So the other day, I was in the T.Dot for her birthday. Every morning that I was there, I would hobble up the stairs to the main floor and join everybody at the kitchen island for the morning brew and chew. Which meant my head remained covered at least until after breakfast.
Little did I know that a seed had been planted. I had no idea that this morning routine had made an impression on my niece. At least not until I had kissed everybody goodbye, grabbed my weekend bag and boarded the train back to Montreal.
As the CN Tower faded into the distance, I settled in with my wifi connection for the 4 hour ride home. Memories of the great luau-themed party, complete with a cake depicting a sea-side scene with boats and palm trees and mermaids, swirled around my head, and I smiled and chuckled to myself. My phone vibrated with an incoming message from my brother.
I’ve Got the Power!
“I braided the mermaid’s hair for (her),” he said. “Then she made (Papa) create a bonnet for her! Hahah!”
After nearly choking on my green tea, I asked for a picture and got this:
Ha ha, indeed!
I want my niece to love her hair just as it is – big and curly, pliable and versatile. I want her to grow up comfortable and proud of it. I want her to learn what it likes and doesn’t like. How to handle it, quirks and all. And from the looks of things, she’s well on her way. The girl actually pays attention. Told ya she was smart!
The power of influence, example and suggestion is alive and well.