Hair, Hair, Hair!

I’ve posted about my (in)ability to do Buggy’s hair in the past, and I’m here again to show some new styles and report out on what I learned from one of my friends, who graciously showed me some new ways to give Buggy “princess hair”.

On the left, you can see that Buggy sometimes adds accessories such as a headband and a sticker on her nose, but this hairstyle (minus her contributions) is one of the easiest for me to both do and maintain.  I just part her hair into any number of segments, put it in hair ties, braid each section in a regular braid (which I just learned is also called a plait) and end with one of those impossibly small rubber bands that always seems to snap when I take it out.  The middle photo is just parting Buggy’s hair into three (or four depending on my mood and her patience level) and adding the top pony tail to the next one, so all her hair is up and back.  Sometimes I just have to tame that wild mane!  The photo on the right was my very first attempt at cornrows on Buggy’s hair.  It was actually more of a french braid,  and I didn’t do very well keeping it tight or parting it straight, but it was a good start.

Once I started getting more into doing Buggy’s hair, I asked a friend whose daughter has a similar hair texture to come and show me how to do Buggy’s hair.  She was a good and patient teacher, and did not make fun of me when I had no idea what a plait was!  I learned how to use those bobble hair ties that Buggy calls her “princess balls”, and how to do a twist.  I also learned that it takes a LOT of practice to be able to do corn rows well.  I figured, what the heck – might as well practice on my husbands hair!

 

This is a before and after shot of me braiding his hair!  It went pretty well – so well, actually, that I gave him a headache for two days because I made it so tight!  Oops!  Luckily, he still likes me, and even let me do his hair a second time!

Here are 5 tips I’ve found helpful when doing Buggy’s hair are: 1. Comb it when it is wet, with conditioner in it. 2. Don’t wash it every day; twice a week is plenty.  Her hair type needs natural oil in it, otherwise it gets very dry and fuzzy. 3. Style when dry, it is easier to grip her hair this way. 4. Don’t give up!  If a style looks funky, is uneven, or otherwise unsatisfactory just take it out and start again.  Or stick a bow on it!  5.Have patience (this goes for both of us).

What tips do you have for doing your little one’s hair?

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Little Brown Boy

Froggy and I recently had a few friends over for a play date. It was a very fun morning, and my friends and I got some much-needed adult time while the kids played. While they were playing, my son reached over and grabbed my friend’s water bottle from her diaper bag and started to chew on it. Her 3 year old daughter said “That little brown boy took your water”. Her mom simply said “His name is Froggy” and we all went on with our play date.

I know that the girl was just trying to specify which boy took the water bottle. At age 3, it is appropriate to label people based on how they look because toddlers do not have the cognitive awareness to realize that it could be construed as offensive to name someone based solely on their skin color. It’s the same reason we don’t say “that fat man”; it is impolite and people don’t like being labeled as fat.

My friend’s daughter was just trying to tell her mom that someone had her water bottle. And, Froggy is a little brown boy. The description let us all know who took the water bottle. I love that her mom simply corrected her by stating his name, and did not bring any attention to what she said. It was the prefect response. I wasn’t offended in the slightest, because I know that children, especially toddlers, sometimes say innocent things that adults take offense to. We make things into a big deal that really aren’t.  The little girl was simply describing Froggy as best she knew how. For some reason, society has deemed it appropriate to say things like “the baby with the curly brown hair” and not “that little brown boy” when both descriptions are accurate and would have let us know she was talking about Froggy.

I think when adults make a big deal about things that children do or say that are unintentionally hurtful or not appropriate it makes the situation worse. Instead, if Buggy makes a comment that may be offensive to others I try to minimize it, and explain why we don’t say that at another time. If I make a big deal and draw attention to the situation it is more likely Buggy will do it again. After all, who doesn’t like attention? It is important to remember that we often need to describe others, and that calling someone black, brown, white, or any other color is an important part of their physical description, the same way stating their height or weight is important if we want someone to know who we are talking about. Now, I don’t really think going around calling everyone “that black man” “or “that brown girl” is very polite, but in some circumstances a full physical description is necessary to get the point across. In other situations, like on a play date with friends, simply correcting the child by stating the other person’s name is sufficient.

Has your child ever described someone based on skin color? How did you respond?

Bubbles and Bees

A few weeks ago my husband and Buggy were outside playing bubbles. She LOVES playing bubbles, so I wanted to go take a few photos of her. Isn’t she just the cutest?

Anyway… I opened the back door at the same time that my husband swatted a bee. He inadvertently hit me in the stomach, and I yelled. I yelled because it hurt a little bit, but mostly because it was unexpected, and I was surprised to get hit while walking out the door. I had no idea he was about to swat a bee, and he didn’t know I was walking out the door at that moment. It was a total accident, and I wasn’t hurt at all, but that doesn’t mean that the neighbors who heard me yell knew the context of the situation. I was accidentally hit, but not hurt in the slightest.

My husband brought me inside and explained how it might look to someone who didn’t know us, and didn’t know he was swatting a bee and accidentally hit me on his follow through. How it might sound to someone who didn’t hear the part about how I wasn’t actually hurt. How it wasn’t on purpose. My husband explained to me that a white woman on her porch yelling that her black husband hit her doesn’t look good. He said it might be enough for someone to call the cops.

I started crying, because someone calling the cops on him for swatting a bee and accidentally lightly hitting me was something that I never in 1,000 years would have considered. I had so many thoughts and questions racing through my mind, but mostly I was nervous and scared. I was scared that my family would be ripped apart due to a simple misunderstanding, and that because of my husband’s skin color the police wouldn’t believe our story and he would be taken to jail (or worse) and it would be all my fault. I started getting mad at myself for yelling when I got hit. How could I not realize how it would sound or look to someone else? How could I not know that there is so much injustice within the criminal justice system, and that my husband could be hauled away just for swatting a bee. What would I do if the police came? I was over reacting to the situation, but I couldn’t stop the thoughts from coming. What was I going to do, and how could I make them understand that it was an accident. That we love each other, and that he would never hurt me.

While nobody overheard us that day, and the police did not come, my conversation with my husband has been troubling me for weeks. What I didn’t consider that day was the fact that we were outside, within earshot of our neighbors, and that I yelled that my husband just hit me. I didn’t think about the fact that as a white woman talking about being hit by a black man (no matter the context or intent) could get him into trouble. He is so much more aware of his surroundings and of situations that could be perceived by others as negative then I am. And it is because he is black.   It is because of his experiences, and those of others like Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by police while sitting in his car, that make him more cautious then me. I will never know what it is like to live in fear of the police, or how it feels to be treated poorly because of my coloring. I can never fully understand what my husband goes through, and what my children will go through as “people of color”. I will never be scared the way that they are.

I am scared that my kids are going to grow up in a world that systemically discriminates against them because of their skin color, and that they will never be given the same opportunities I have had simply because they do not appear white. I am afraid that even if I teach my son to respect police and to comply with their requests, he will still be in danger. I don’t know what to do about these problems, but I feel the need to do something. I don’t believe in fighting violence with violence, and disagree with the recent police shootings in Dallas. However, I cannot simply sit back and live in fear that something will happen to my family.

I am going to go play bubbles with Buggy now, and hope that no more bees fly by when I walk by my husband. And I’m going to try to be more aware of my surroundings and of situations in which my family may feel uncomfortable, even if I don’t.

Biracial Buggy is Back!

Hi everyone, after a considerable break from blogging about the joys of raising my biracial children, I’m back!  It’s been very hectic trying to balance work and family life, but now that it’s summer and I have a bit more “free time” (haha, like I’m ever really free from my mommy duties!) I’m ready to get back to writing about Buggy and her brother, now nicknamed Froggy due to the way he hops around the living room while trying to learn to crawl and walk.

Let me catch you up on the last 6 months in the lives of Buggy and Froggy.  Buggy started “school” (aka daycare) this spring.  She LOVES it!  She asks me every day if it is a school day, and she is always talking about all of her little friends and how her teacher let them have a dance party.  You should see this girl do the Whip and Nae Nae!  Buggy potty trained just after her 2nd birthday in December, and is now only in diapers at nap and bed time.  She likes helping me sort Froggy’s diapers and pick out her own at bed time.  She asks to be my big helper all the time, so we keep her nice and busy with chores – she unloads the dish washer (with assistance), sorts laundry, and has started helping me bake and cook.  Buggy and I went on our first camping trip, and we also ventured to Florida as a family for spring break and took a few trips to the beach.

Froggy is now 10 months old (where did my baby go!?).  He pulls up to a stand, cruises along the furniture, loves eating, and is often found playing at the Lego table.  He says “dada” and is always smiling.  Froggy is such a happy, easygoing little guy, and boy does he love his sleep!  He sleeps 12 hours a night, and take 2 naps that are between 2 and 3 hours each.

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We have also had our fair share of racial remarks, misunderstandings, and comical moments in the past 6 months, which will be featured in upcoming posts.  Stay tuned to hear what happened when Froggy was referred to as “that little brown boy”, the time I got invited to a hair party to learn how to do Buggy’s hair, and how I reacted when someone thought my kids were not my kids.  Plus, hear my thoughts on the recent police shootings of black men and #blacklivesmatter