By MOCHA DAD
My daughter, Nee, has absolutely no confidence in my ability to do her hair. Whenever I attempt to style it, she becomes more obnoxious than Rush Limbaugh.
Recently, my wife, KayEm, had to run an errand and I thought I would surprise her by combing and styling Nee's hair (even though, Nee prefers KayEm to do her hair, it's not a pleasant experience for either party. If you've ever bathed a cat, you can understand how these styling sessions go). I gathered all of the tools and materials and set-up a styling station at the kitchen table.
Nee, I said. Come and sit down so Daddy can do your hair. A looked of horror covered her face.
No! she yelled. You're NOT doing my hair.
C'mon, I said. Daddy, can do it. I'll make you look beautiful.
NO! she yelled again. I want Mommy to do my hair.
But Mommy won't be back for three weeks, I said.
I'll wait, she said as she crossed her arms and dug her heels into the ceramic tile.
When Nee was younger and couldn't voice objections, I did her hair periodically. Although I had absolutely no experience, I think I managed to make her look presentable. I always stuck with my two default hairstyles: Afro with a head band or one single pony tail. Whenever I tried to get fancy, it was a disaster. Nee wound up with crooked parts down the middle of her head and two lopsided ponytails. Who knows what would have happened if I had attempted three.
Because of my hairstyling shortcomings, KayEm relieved me of this duty.
I'll handle Nee's hair from now on, she told me. You just take care of the boys.
What's wrong with the way I do her hair? I asked. She smiled and gently patted me on the back.
You just take care of the boys, she repeated. Because I don't want my daughter going out looking crazy.
She's my daughter, too, I protested. I would never let me little princess look crazy in public.
You're right. She is your daughter too so we'll let her decide, said KayEm as she beckoned Nee over to us. Who do you want to do your hair? Mommy or Daddy?
Mommy! she said.
I was hurt. My little princess had rejected me in favor of cute hairstyles.
Nee is in third grade now and I know that things such as hairstyles and fashion are much more important to her now. In her world, it's uncool to wear daddy-inspired hairstyles. I know my baby is growing, but I miss the days when a single ponytail was good enough.
About our MyBrownBaby contributor:
Mocha Dad, a.k.a. Fred G., is the founder of MochaDad.com, a blog he started to chronicle his life as a husband and father of three, and to counter the negative stereotypes surrounding black fatherhood. His goal is to give a firsthand account of a black father who is intimately involved in his children's lives and motivate other fathers to be more actively engaged and involved with their children. This piece originally ran on MochaDad.com, where you can find many more of Fred’s delightful stories on fatherhood, as well as his new e-book, Mocha Wisdom, Volume 1.