I have the awesome privilege of being not only the biological mother to a 15 month old little guy, but also a mother through adoption to a little lady I happen to think is the most precious girl in the world. My first born was born when I was 18 years old, on another continent, although I only met her for the first time 3 whole years later, when I came to live in South Africa. It is a long story, but one that my family and I cherish.
When she was 6, my husband and I were finally able to get the paperwork signed to declare that, officially, this little girl was legally OURS. Along with needing to get used to living and functioning together as a family, I had a lot of learning to do when it came to my daughter’s hair. Our little SeSotho princess has the tightest curls on her head of anyone I have ever met (and for someone who lives in Africa that is saying something!). I was determined to communicate my love for her by doing my best to care properly for her beautiful, black curls.
Together, she and I learned a lot. Whilst most girls her age here have chemically straightened their hair, we wanted to avoid this. I told her that her natural hair was beautiful the way it was and that we didn’t need to put dangerous chemicals on her head to “fix” her hair. We also learned to read the ingredients lists on styling products, and avoided those with “nasties” in them. Coconut oil, in all its natural goodness, became a friend!
We also learned that, sometimes, good things take time. First it was waiting for her hair to grow in; the staff at the children’s home where she lived had thoughtfully given her a fresh shave the week before she came home. When her hair finally did grow out, it would sometimes take a few hours every week or so to painstakingly and gently comb out the knots and then braid her hair. It would have been easier to just straighten her hair and throw it up in a ponytail, but for our family, at least, easy and quicker doesn’t always mean better.
So, having learned these lessons, when we became pregnant with my son there was pretty much no way we could have considered anything but cloth diapering. I am as leery of the chemicals in disposables as I was of the chemicals in hair products. It is not an inconvenience to have to avoid nappy creams with my son’s cloth diapers, as we prefer not to use them anyway; coconut oil remains a constant fixture in our home which is used not only on my daughter’s tresses, but also my little guy’s tush!
And when are discouraging of our choice to cloth diaper, because it takes so much time, I am able to honestly answer that the small (and really, it is small) investment of my time is a gift to my child, not a burden. Cloth diapering does take more time than disposables, but we know that quicker and better are not always the same thing. When I carefully fold and put away my son’s colorful array of cloth, I get the same sort of feeling as when I carefully style my daughter’s hair.
I guess that’s what doing hair well and doing diapers well have in common; they both feel a lot like love.
Bio: Belinda Lamprecht currently lives in Africa with her husband, working for an international missions agency and raising her two kiddos, one who joined the family through adoption and one…ahem…the old-fashioned way. You can read more about their experiences at www.reaboka.wordpress.com