June 10, 2020

the youngest one in curls

The youngest one in curls knots.  I intended to do the cross out in the title but blogger won't allow that.  Do you have the Brady Bunch theme song in your head now?  You're welcome.

Curly mentioned one night in early pandemic days that she had a knot in the back of her hair kind of near the base of her head.  I encouraged her to use conditioner to work through it.  

I feel like this photo does not do this knot justice. 
You had to feel it.  It was massive.  Do you love
 the curl hanging from the bottom
of it, like 'Hey, still willing to be cute here.'
Long story short (and my own parental shortcoming admission here - I never followed up and physically examined the knot), the next time I heard about the knot it had taken on a life of its own.  Mini admitted that she had tried in vain to detangle this beast behind closed doors in their room, to no avail. 

When I had Curly show it to me, I almost fell over.  It was the size of my fist - a solid mass of matted hair with one lone curl springing out from the very bottom of it. 

I googled how to get out a HORRIBLE knot and I armed myself with the necessary bottle of recommended conditioner and warm olive oil.  I instructed Curly to hop in the shower and come down with an old towel.  Thankfully I had the foresight to have her sit on a stool pulled up against the counter by the kitchen sink, since we were in for a long, hard battle. 
Her scalp was SO RED.

It was paramount to torture and I question if I should have waited to take her to a professional, but stuff was still not open yet.  Plus I think Curly would have been more uncomfortable sobbing at someone else's hands.  Besides I have heard varying dates about when Curly thinks it started, and adding more time to her 'situation' threatened to only make it worse.  

FYI - one theory is that her hair malfunction stemmed from the last time she wore a wig for Irish dancing.  Damn this 'fun' past-time.  I told Curly we will be moving forward without the wig, and any teacher or judge that doesn't like it can kiss my big ass.  

This makes Curly distraught, going against the grain.  I am telling you though, thanks to the pandemic - I feel like we start over to a new set of rules.  Don't do shit you don't like or that seems silly - attaching a wig to a beautiful curly head of hair is a fine place to start.  (excuse me while I tuck my soap box back under my computer table).

40 minutes later, yes 40 - it was over.  Mini took
 some video of the removal but I just
watched the clip, and it is too sad to share. 
After several minutes of getting almost no where in operation free Curly from dread lock central, I resorted to a kitchen fork.  Please don't judge.  Turns out we own NO comb (or brush) that could penetrate the knot.  The fork was used to poke holes in the knot where I would insert more conditioner and oil, and continue to poke away.  Bit by bit I would tear at the hair and get little sections to separate one after another.  The poor girl squirmed and sobbed while I worked at this mass of hair.

Mini, my assistant, handed me stuff as I needed it, and Eddie worked to keep the patient soothed by rubbing her back and assuring her I was making progress.  All three of us banned Reggie from entering the kitchen, fearing he would tease Curly endlessly.  

In case you are unaware, some 14 year old boys are insensitive.  You've been warned.  

Oh sweet mother, this might have been the hardest ordeal I have ever experienced (as far as physical pain goes) with one of my children AND I was the one administering it.  My stomach was in knots - oh, dear lord the unintentional yet perfect pun.  When we were done, there was a pile of hair on a paper towel lost in the process, and Curly looked altered - her face red and her eyes slits.  BUT WE WERE IN FACT DONE. 

Curly was thrilled that it was over, as was I.  I think the process even took a toll on the supportive bystanders:  Mini and Eddie.  Once Curly's face re-inflated so that she looked less puffy in all the wrong places, she embraced her new ability to run her fingers through her hair.  

I also made her raise her right hand and swear to NEVER, EVER allow a knot to remain unaddressed for MONTHS.  Yes, people.  This thing grew over several months, apparently, grabbing neighboring curls and weaving them into the mass until she could've started singing Reggae.  

So, any bathing, or hair mishaps you would care to share?  Kids who cut their own hair, or shaved off their eyebrows?  Anyone have any issues when kids started bathing themselves?   I mean, Curly is 12 and has been bathing herself for YEARS without incident.

Reminds me of Eddie cutting off his eyelashes with his scissors while at his desk in first grade in like the first week of school.  I discovered this while reading him a bedtime story and looking down to see that he had no eyelashes on one eye.  I think he was bored, and hell - who doesn't want to test out their new school supplies?  

But hey, I was asking you all to share so I will shut up (even though I have more tales to tell, of course).


Kari said...

OMG I could never do that hair. My girls have my hair; thick and wavy and it gets tangly but NOTHING like that. God bless you and her. LOL

Amy said...

My kids have mixed hair. My oldest has very thick, curly/wavy hair and ended up with a similar knot when she was ~10. I lucked out though - one of her aunties volunteered to take care of it. That wonderful woman spent 3 hours detangling the knot! The child learned her lesson and never let it happen again. My middle daughter doesn't take care of her hair very well, but we know to keep an eye on her and not let it get too bad - she has very thick, very curly hair. The youngest girl lucked out and got my hair. Whew! But every single one of my 4 kids has taken scissors to their hair and every damn time it's been right before school picture day. SMH.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Poor curly!! I can't imagine how this must have felt for her...and of course, my heart was hurting for you too. I'm glad that is behind you all and she won't allow it to happen again.

My lolo has fairly thin hair so, the only thing she did was get gum stuck in it one time. Linds has thick wavy hair, but not tangly. We went through a phase when they were in like 1st and 3rd grade where we dealt with lice a few times. We'd get rid of it and two weeks later it was back. I thought I would lose my germ hating mind. But, then I realized I was getting really good at removing nits with no chemicals. Then I had friends kids coming to me for nit removal and even one of my girlfriends who had butt length hair came to me after she caught them too.
I was the lice whisperer and I still have my tools for when I have grand kids. *sigh*
Maybe lice won't exist after covid?

Neither of my girls cut their hair because I hid the scissors! Me? I cut mine a few times because my parents weren't so savvy.

Laughing about the eyelash cutting; oh my!!

Beth Cotell said...

Poor Curly! And I am with you - why should you have to put a curly wig on top of her curly hair? I bet everyone will rave about how realistic her "wig" is if you go without it!

Nicole MacPherson said...

OMG the poor thing! Yikes. That looks so incredibly painful. I don't even like combing out knots in my fine, non-curly hair so I can't imagine how that would be.
I remember when my friend, whose daughters all Irish dance, told me that they had to wear wigs to compete, I was very surprised. Her hair looks like the wigs they use, with all those lovely curls - I agree, she shouldn't have to wear one.

Ernie said...

Kari - the relief I felt when Curly could start doing her own hair - it was life-giving, I think she felt more relief than me. Pretty, but yikes it can hurt someone.

Amy - I think Curly would have opted for a patient aunt with 3 hours to donate to her cause if she that had been offered. I suspect I was on the fast track with my 40 minutes . . . but dear God, I needed it to end. It was so awful. Tank once cut one of Mini's best curls when she was in 4 year old preschool. I thought I might die. She had long loose curls and it was the one that framed her face.

Suz - Curly's initial vote was to cute the whole thing out. Um, NO! I have already done enough with the haircut I gave her last year. When Curly fell off of a jungle-gym and broke her wrist when she was 4, I gave her a bath afterwards and wood-chips floated 'downstream' in the tub. The next bath - MORE wood-chips, I was like HOW DO YOU STILL HAVE WOOD-CHIPS IN YOUR HAIR? LIKE WHERE ARE YOU STORING THEM, I THOUGH WE GOT THEM OUT IN THE LAST BATH. She could be like Mrs. Tuttle and store her pencils in there from Carol Burnett? Lice - NOO!!! We have avoided that, thank heavens. My sister's kids got it and we had JUST been with them. I heard the news and took one look at Curly and begged the dear lord to spare us. Thankfully it bypassed us.

Beth - Early on in dancing I fought the good fight and avoided the wig, but once she got to the big leagues the teacher was like 'she needs to do this'. Now the wigs that are the current style (oh, the styles change because it is fun to buy updated wigs for kicks now and then) look nothing like Curly's authentic hair. They are big and wavy, and did I mention BIG. Her teacher fears that her 'look' will be distracting for the judges and she will be glossed over. I really don't want a reason for judges to discount her but SERIOUSLY? I can blow dry her hair and make it big. Curly doesn't want to get in trouble and disappoint her teacher. Exhausting.

Nicole - No joke, it was excruciating and when I thought 'Oh, I will add this video clip' - I reconsidered because it sounds like I am torturing her. I think that was part of the reason we did the thinning shears in the first place, because it was so hard for her to manage AND it needed some shape. And the Irish dancing nonsense is going to be the death of me. I have SO enjoyed this time when she just does zoom classes and I don't drive, plus I have not had to attend competitions and attach a wig to that hair. (see Beth's comment for more fun wig info).

Anonymous said...

Poor thing - that sounds just horrible!! My youngest has beautiful curly hair, to the middle of her back, and now she takes good care of it but she didn't do well in the past. When she was 14 we went to the beach, she got tumbled by a big wave, and got a ton of sand in her hair. I discovered then that she had basically a TON of dandruff - and the sand was now embedded in it. I soaked her head in Head & shoulders, washed, combed/scraped the scale out bit by bit, soaked in H&S again, washed again, combed some more, conditioned. Not the way either of us wanted to spend several hours of our beach vacation!

Ernie said...

Anonymous- ugh, so great to look at but oh the chore to care for it. I forgot the girls' product the year we went to Yellowstone. The high-end detangler was sorely missed and I feared other hotel guests would report us for abuse as they could surely hear the girls complaining through the walls.

Anonymous said...

My friends routinely cut their hair in High School.... at High School. I dunno why it was a thing but there you go. I have seen some crazy hair cuts *live*, with electric clippers and everything. Can you imagine sending your kid to school and they return with half their head shaved? But no ones parents freaked and eventually that phase ended (prob because no ones parent freaked lol). And I never ever let my friends cut a single hair on my head. It was stick straight 90s bob tho so prob too intimidating.

Hair dye in insane colors was also big. Manic panic. I remember plaid being achieved by one very cool girl. Now I think how did our hair not fall out? How?

But I digress cause what I really wanted to say was Curly must be the sweetest most patient person to have endured all that *and* you are too (and your kids on Support Crew)!I love how this is a story of family unity and love. Also Curly’s hair is *glorious* & how insane the dance people want it covered by a wig! Ugh!


Ernie said...

Maddie - not sure where you went to high school but I had not heard of hair cutting happening at the school, but when I was in high school early 90s, 'clickers' were the thing. Girls in our all-girls high school carried little curling irons in their purses powered by petroleum or plutonium? Something I would think should not be carried around in a purse in high school. The girls and boys schools ate lunch together, thus the need for curling irons. The bathroom nearest the cafeteria was covered by a thick cloud of Aqua Net and the smell of burning hair. Agreed - glorious hair, and the family unity - well, yes and no - remember we had to bar Reggie from the kitchen so he couldn't make fun of her later. Seeing as her face was as red and puffy as a tomato afterward, I would guess even Reg would not have been so low as to make fun of her if he had witnessed the scene. :)

Charlie said...

Ernie I feel your pain. My daughter is mixed and has beautiful curly hair that she’s grown long, it was very similar to your daughter’s. I have spent many hours attacking knots in exactly the same place. I use a Tangle Teaser hairbrush (do you have them in the US?) and tease it out strand by strand. Taking lots of breaks to let my arm recover. Now she’s nearly 15 and can do it herself I am not missing that job! Good job to your other two for playing supportive siblings!

Ernie said...

Charlie - I do not have a tangle teaser hairbrush. I will have to get one. I think if Curly was the oldest, I would be equipped with all the tools for her hair type, but I never really got on board with what her hair officially requires. Curly does most of her own hair management now too (well, thus the knot to end all knots!) and I am so happy to not have to deal that the hair-after-bath regiment.

Wendy said...

Holy moly, I feel for both of you! What an ordeal. I have naturally curly hair, and I'll make some recommendations: Kinky Curly Knot Today -- have Curly use this at the end of each shower to detangle and don't rinse it out, because it's a fantastic leave-in conditioner (something every Curly Girl needs)

A good pick and wide tooth comb. A brush should never touch curly hair, ever. (And neither should thinning shears -- they are the worst thing ever. Don't let a hairdresser ever use them on her.)

Most hairdressers never learn to cut curly hair, so they usually have no idea what to do with it. If you can find one that specializes in curly cuts, hang onto them! :) And her hair is beautiful -- I'm so glad you guys got this all sorted out.

Ernie said...

Wendy- love the advice. I will deffinitely look for those things to add to her repertoire. I am hoping that the number I have will lead us to an awesome curly hair expert . . . once her hair gerows back enough for us to require it. Maybe when she's about to go off to college.