So I had the privilege of birthing two beautiful curly haired babies – a girl and a boy. I had my princess first, Gladianna (Nana), in March 2008. The day I saw her I already knew I wanted to be more like her. My daughter was born with a full head of hair. I mean curly and thick. She was so PERFECT that my husband joked that it wasn’t his baby. It’s funny because now that she is seven years old, it’s hard to even tell who she looks like more, but I can tell you by other people’s reaction she has now favored me more. With that being said, this girl emulates me. It is crucial as well as rewarding for me to be the role model in her life. Especially since as you know, from my article From a Haitian with Bad Hair to a Proud Haitian with Beautiful Natural Hair, I use to perm my hair. And there is no way I would be able to convince my daughter to not perm her hair if I was doing exactly what I was preventing her from doing.
My husband and I, being both Haitian, we were always asked if she was mixed. When my daughter was only 6-months, it was a sight to just sit and watch her. I mean literally. She smiled all the time and she had such an eclectic personality, forcing anyone in our presence to gravitate towards her. This girl was thee “Gerber” baby. We took her to her first modeling agency and the attraction we got immediately affirmed us that we had a star! I mean from the moment we walked through the door of the agency we were flocked by admirers who glee with amazement by her beauty and personality. She was and still is a showstopper. Unfortunately we could not afford to put her in the agency. But that did not stop us.
In September 2009, my prince, Rik, we call him Ricky for short…LOL, was born. And boy did we think we had it made with Nana, Ricky just added to the infatuation. This boy was a heart stopper. His eyes were so large and so magnetic. You would be selling your soul unknowingly after looking into them. And his super long eyelashes had you wondering if he was actually a boy. And believe me, he can be dressed in a tuxedo or in the most thuggish boy outfit you can find and we were still told – what a beautiful girl! I mean…what?! LOL. Now whether anyone agrees or not, but I have claimed my boy. No one could convince me that he wasn’t born in my image and now that he is six years old I feel that that has remained the same. But hold on, I didn’t even get to describe his hair yet. When he was about 6-months old my son did lose all the hair around the sides of his head, leaving him with a Mohawk-like style hairdo. I didn’t expect anything more in regards to his hair, considering he was just a boy. My husband, however, at the time, use to wear braids himself. So it was only a matter of time before we had our son emulating his father.
Eventually, I started braiding Ricky’s hair soon after it was long enough. By the time he was around 4-years old, I kid you not, his hair was already down his waist! Unlike his sister, Ricky is more an introvert. In public, he would hate all the attention and prefer to keep to himself, but yet, he was the complete opposite when he was in the comfort of his home. When he was caught off-guard, whether he was genuinely smiling or just focusing on a particular activity that had his interest, I found my greatest joy by simply admiring him from afar.
We have in our hands two precious gifts from God and their story, I know, will represent a very large minority group, which in effect speaks politically. We want to encourage the upcoming generation to understand their worth, their beauty, and to embrace the uniqueness of others. In a world where you are criticized for being yourself – pure and innocent- we took the liberty in teaching our children to keep from judging, but to be accepting to all. Even in my own culture, a boy with braids is not really valued, which created a stigma that all black men with braided hair are bums, like how a kid wearing a hoodie is “dangerous.” My son is a smart, gentle, and kind young kid, which is why we have found it more of an incentive to use this and make it a profound statement – that hair is just hair!
So, here I have two completely different children. And both are natural beauties. Although their hair texture lacks in comparison, I do follow the same routine. It is nothing more than shampooing to deep conditioning to cleanse; and Water, Olive oil, and Shea butter for moisturizing. The results are exactly the same for the both of them. Today, when stretched, both their hair touches their waistline. And what I found amusing as well as ironic is that I can’t wait to grow up to be just like them.