Sunday, March 4, 2012

First, J's Hair

Okay, so many know the long-term condition of J's it has been now for several years.  A tangled mess. Sigh.  Here is a little background on it, and then pics.

I guess I can go all the way back to my own childhood.  I didn't mind having my hair fixed at all...I loved the attention and time from my mother, I loved the lulling, soothing sound of a blow dryer, and I loved to have someone brush my hair...ahhhhh.  It was annoying, but I didn't mind sleeping on pink sponge rollers at night for a special occassion.  I remember a rare time I got to stay with my older cousin, about 3 years my senior, for a week;  she was an only child and very dramatic (and snobby, and bossy, and..and....)  I remember taking a bath, each of us taking turns, and washing our hair, and then having our hair combed out.  V. yelled and screamed and wrangled under her mom's hands, and finally stomped out of the bathroom.  First, I couldn't believe she treated her mother this way lol and secondly, I thought "WHAT is wrong with her? I LOVE to get my hair combed out!"  And despite my extreme shyness, probably told my aunt so.  It was ridiculous to me.

But anyway, fast forward through the years, I took over the care of my hair and through out my awkward middle/high years, it never looked THAT great.  Sometimes better than others.  I loved my big 80's perm, though, simply because it dried my oily hair up some and made me able to go longer between hair washing.  Well, probably should not hair might have looked better, but still.... But all along, any chance I had, I loved to have someone brush my hair.  And my best friend and I WOULD brush each others' hair LOL  And.....I dreamed of brushing my own little girl's hair one day.  Just "playing" with it and making it pretty.  It never crossed my mind that I might get one who did NOT like it.

Then, I had my second child...first daughter.  :)  (yeh, don't care that you can see where this is  She was a momma's girl from day one.  She was very attached.  I won't go into her birth story and breastfeeding time and so much more in this post.  Just know, she was a great baby and happy  little girl, as long as she was with mommy :)  And if she was not...the girl could TELL you about it.  LOL  She had a LOUD cry when she cried...I think it actually literally HURT her Daddy's and Grandfathers' ears to hear it. LOL  And I loved so much about my strong little girl, that from day one, hour one, she could LET her feelings be KNOWN...could express them.  She didn't repress, like I always did or tried.  She just let  you know, no mistaking, she was UPSET. LOL   And I lived kind of vicariously through that.  I so admired it.  Always have.  As she's gotten older, it's morphed and now you can "read" her face, but might have to "pull it out" of her, especially the words.  I'm sure with various things we've gone through, she has learned to "repress" it some after all.  However...there has always been ONE issue, she never ever ever could repress her feelings about:  her hair.

Specifically, brushing her hair has always been painful for her.  When she was 2, I thought she was just being dramatic.  But I learned to read her, was too obvious.  The girl just has the most sensitive head I've ever heard of.   Brushing or combing, wet or didn't matter.  It hurt and she would scream...and cry...and not be able to breathe, and nearly puke...and wail...and...and... ARGH!  How did this happen?  Where was my "let's style each other's hair" girl go?  I mean, when she was 1...and had her first fine baby hair was fine.  But as it came in, thicker and thicker...wavy, then curly... I lost control.

First, there was my next pregnancy, with Noah.  That's when I really began to lose control.  We swam nearly every day that summer...and I was a tired hot cranky pregnant momma.  The hair did not get conditioned like it should have, nor combed out.  And there was her wailing thing too, which I sought to avoid as much as possible.  Sigh.  My bad.

Then, when I lost Noah, and had a very hard recovery...was sick for so long after; I just did not have it in me.  And neither did anyone else helping me.  A quick brush (not truly getting down deeply, through the tangles) and a pony tail.  That was the daily grind.  Avoid tears and wailing as much as possible and just get out the door.   It began to get so badly tangled.  It was a mess.  So we went our small town beautician and got her hair a bit "chopped" off...well, bobbed and with bangs.  It was cute, but neither of us seemed to think it was her "look."  (This pic is actually a tad grown out...already beginning the long process of growing bangs out....)  Well...anyway....long story short...and various life changes/events such as adopting Mariam (and being gone from Jillian for a month and 1/2 in which her hair tangles persisted) or surgery for me (again, neglect of her hair was a bi-product).... and various attempts at hiding the tangles, if not working to get them out (cutting them out myself)....

see:  isn't she so pretty?? :)

...but we arrived at 9 years old, in August of 2011 with ever-growing long hair....and constant tangles.  I just did not know how to care for kinky curly course hair underneath, and course straighter hair on top...a combo of mine and Doug's but mostly Doug's. LOL  I didn't know how to stay on top of it with conditioning...or how to deal w/ her sensitive scalp.  My solution daily was the pony tail.  But...the tangles began to get worse, and more and more matted.  I felt like such a bad mommy.  And she would cry if I said anything like that.  She would cry FOR sweet baby...because she didn't want ME to feel like a bad mom because of her hair.  I love that baby girl so much.  I was so upset for her though, and embarrassed as a was totally on me, as her mom.  I had not properly cared for it nor taught her to.

In comes "Mr. J.C." to the rescue.  J.C. is a recent convert at our parish...and a very good hair stylist in our town.  He offered to work on J's hair for us and get it straightened out.  What a God-send.  We went up to his closed salon on a Saturday afternoon and he began to work his magic.  TWO hours of just detangling and snipping it when need-be to cut out mats and tangles.  Then, washing, conditioning and treating, and more cutting...blowing and drying, and styling.  Total of THREE and 1/2 hours.

During this whole time, as I watched my baby endure all of this, with some tears...I eventually ended up letting the tears flow.  A bit older (than me) mom and her 20 something daughter came in the salon too, to have their hair styled for some kind of pre-wedding event and seeing their joy they shared in preparation for this rite of passage....coupled with the embarrassment I felt as a mom, but pride in my daughter's courage and strength and BEAUTY......I could not help myself.   So emotional.

And as he began to finish his work on her hair, she began to glow....and giggle with joy.  She could swing her hair around like she hadn't been able to in ....many many months...if ever...and run her fingers through it, with no pain.  Maybe he even toughened her scalp some, I don't know. LOL  But so far keeping it brushed has not been a problem (granted, it's only been just over a week :)  Washing and conditioning it went well, despite working around her broken arm (another story LOL) ...and though we didn't spend as much time styling, and it doesn't quite look as nice as what Mr. J.C. did...she can still run her fingers through it any time she wants.  And she's a beautiful as ever. (sniff)    My tweener.
If there is a patron saint of hair, I need to find them....I just pray we can keep it up, from here on ....she deserves it.  (and she loves her new reading glasses as well :)


  1. well I found patron saints of hairstylists...wonder if that counts?

  2. Amanda,

    Your daughter looks beautiful! I think a good hairdresser is a real blessing. I am very grateful for mine. She always fixes up our hair with a smile and sends us back out into the world looking and feeling good. I didn't know there is a patron saint of hairdressers. I shall follow the link.