I went kinda hard at my daughter
I have the most beautiful, preciously precocious child you have ever seen. She's almost three years old, and she's a boundless energy bomb. She has the distinct honor of having me as her mother. I surround my child with blackness. Pictures of her family. Paintings of black women. Children's books featuring black protagonists. Cartoons and movies with black characters. I am immersing my baby in blackness and, hopefully, love of self. Like almost every other black mother of my generation, I'm raising my daughter to love and embrace her natural beauty. For her, this means no pierced ears until she's old enough to ask for them. And of course, no chemical alterations to her beautiful head of hair.
She loves climbing in my lap at night to have her hair braided. She knows to bring me the Shea Moisture detangler, a wide toothed comb, and some tangle free bands. "Mommy! Itsss time for plaits!", she hollers while dumping the supplies onto the bed.
With the same enthusiasm, she announces that it's time for puffs. Every morning. With joy and energy. But this morning, my darling daughter didn't ask for puffs.
I figured she was just sleepy. She's a night owl, just like her momma, and we share the same bed time most nights.
So I said, "Hey Munchie Girl, you want some puffs?"
"No, Mommy!" Hands on hips.
"No puffs, Mommy! I want da pony tail!" Hands still on hips.
I should have caught myself. I felt my head slowly drop to the side. I felt myself assuming the posture of incredulity. If she were 6 times her age, I would have easily said "The **** you just say to me?" But my actual reaction was just as bad.
I lectured my two year old daughter. On the majesty of the African diaspora. And hair. Seriously.
"You do NOT wear pony tails. You wear puffs! Your puffs are beautiful. Mommy has puffs. Gramma has puffs. Your hair is beautiful. Your hair is special. Your hair is your heritage. For centuries we have worn our hair with pride. For centuries, we have recognized the beauty in our racial uniquness..." And on and on and on.
I caught myself when I realized that both she and my husband were staring at me with confusion and surprise. Did I really just lecture my two year old child on the beauty of black hair? Did I really let myself react with such aggression at the simple idea of a ponytail?
My husband looked at our beautiful child and said, "Boo, do you want one or two?"
"I want da one pony tail. No," with a quick look at me, "I want da one puff."
She thinks "puffs" means two, and "pony tail" means one. She wanted one afro puff.
I gotta calm down my militancy...