Monthly Archives: May 2015

Uncombable hair

Lucie en BobbieIt was January 2009 when I gave birth to the prettiest girl in the world. She had the cutest dimples, she pooped a lot (we phoned the doctor in despair on the first night who put our mind at ease by saying that it’s quite healthy to poop a lot) and she had some hair. It was black and it didn’t last long. It was replaced by a white, dry, straw-type of hair that we couldn’t tame and didn’t seem to grow very fast. It was the strangest hair we had ever seen.

One and a half years later – yeah, it was a surprise for more than just a few people – I gave birth to another ‘prettiest girl in the world. ’ This one had the most beautiful mouth and the bluest eyes I had ever seen. She had some hair too. She lost it and it was – again – replaced by strange extremely blond, dry hair. It was straight, but since this was our second strange-hair-kid we knew that it might turn curly in a while.

The girls have a big brother with perfectly normal hair. We have always wondered where the hair comes from. Not only because we want to know, but because everyone seems eager to know. Let me share some remarks that people make at least once, but more often twice a day (all well meaning, let me be clear about that!)

‘Were they born in Africa?’
‘It doesn’t seem to run in the family (while pointing at Joost)?’
‘It looks like crimped hair, is it really their natural hair?’
‘Wow, that is the weirdest hair I’ve ever seen!’
‘Can I touch it?’
‘Do you highlight it?’
‘It looks like frizzy hair, yeah, I’ve seen this hair before.’

Of course I’ve asked hairdressers if they could enlighten me about the hair-type. They gave answers, but it was never fulfilling. The unsolved hair problem always lingered in the back of my head. Then someone suggested asking the dermatologist for an explanation. I had never even thought of that! We went there (for me, yes, sigh) and the girls came along. We sat down and while we waited, I took the strangest picture I’ve ever taken of the girls. (Oh and there’s the strangest video too – have a look at Instagram if you want to get a glimpse of my everyday life).

Anyway, the dermatologist walked in and we first discussed my skin. He said something about getting older, which he tried to soothe by stating that we are all getting older etc. And then I could finally ask the question. He looked, touched, googled a bit and showed me pictures of children with exactly the same hair! It took him less than a minute! Turns out that my girls have the ‘Uncombable Hair Syndrome’. It’s rare, they will have it  forever and it’s a very (very) random name for a syndrome.

Next time someone asks me where their hair comes from I get to explain that they have ‘uncombable hair’! Wow. I don’t know, I think I will just stick to my old sentence: ‘Thank you, we also have no clue where it comes from, but it’s gorgeous indeed.’

You fall and bounce back

IMG_9284Boris: ‘Mom, do you know what I said to Callie (the babysitter)?’
Me: ‘I have no clue.’
Boris: ‘I was eating chicken when I suddenly said: ‘Oh no, I totally forgot that I’m vegetarian!’
Callie freaked out and said: ‘Really?!’ and I said: ‘No, just kidding.”

Boris is nine and he’s growing into the kid I would like to hang out with. Should Joost and I get credit for that? I don’t know. We’re doing our best, but both nature and nurture play a huge role in the process of growing up. Which role do parents have in the ‘raising children’ adventure? I guess it’s risk management. If you take a closer look, it’s about guiding them and about stepping in when things get difficult. You’re like the pilot on a plane. You push the right buttons and use your knowledge when necessary, or when things get difficult.

A difficult thing is coming up in Boris’ life as his best friend is moving. With this move he enters another school district and thus has to attend another school. Those boundaries are very strict because, well, rules are rules (welcome to America!) In my head different options popped up:
• What if I would beg the school to allow the friend to stay?
• What if Boris would switch to a non-zoned private school?
• What if we would move houses?
It was all non-realistic. I knew that and after a while I could think of more logical options.

Boris and I talked about it and discussed who he would like to be in class with next year. He named a few boys and I asked the school if he could be in the same class as these boys. In the meantime I started wondering how I could ease the process. Or maybe I should let go of being a control freak and just go with the flow, have a little faith. He might be fine and bounce back.

I had to think of a conversation we had in the car the other day when we were driving home from Martial Arts.
Boris said: ‘There was this boy that called me butt face.’
Me: ‘Why did he do that?’
Boris: ‘I don’t know. He said: ‘You’re doing it wrong, butt face!’ So I guess that was the reason.’
Me: ‘What did you do?’
Boris: ‘I ignored it. Calling names is never the solution to a problem. Plus we learn at Martial Arts that you have to be respectful to each other at all times.’
Me: ‘Wow, that’s very wise.’ (They actually listen and learn something when they practice sports – take note moms!)
Boris: ‘Yeah, I always try to avoid sparring with him anyway. But uhm, mom, I did do the move again with him, but then really hard.’
He looks at me with a grin.
(We high fived. I actually shouldn’t write that down but I will because it’s the truth and honestly? I would have handled it the same way.)

This has – at first glance – nothing to do with making new friends, but it’s an indication that he will find his way. Maybe stepping in as a parent when things get difficult is the ongoing process of giving them confidence and letting them go at the same time. Assuring them that they will make it, that they will fall and get up again. That they won’t lose friends, but that they will stay in contact with them and that they will make new ones too.
I certainly hope so.