The Dreadlock Dilemma

Jafta has been asking me, with increasing fervor, to cut his dreadlocks off. He really wants a buzzcut like his friend Nate, and like his cousins Austin and Derek. I think that he is at an age where he is noticing the physical differences between he and most of his friends. His hair is a major difference, and he wants to look more like everybody else.

I know that this is the right thing to do for him, but I am just wrestling with it. I know it sounds so shallow. It's just hair, right? But for some reason it brings up strong emotions for me. For one, he has had dreadlocks since he was a baby. It's the way I am used to seeing him. I always have a hard time with change. In fact, early in our marriage, a haircut was Mark's way of getting back at me any time we had a big fight. (of course now that we are both marital therapists we never disagree on anything. mmmwwwwaaahahahahaha!) I know that cutting his dreadlocks will make him look older. He won't look like the same little boy I am used to.

I also feel like his dreadlocks have been a labor of love. Hair is a major issue in transracial adoption. It took me so long to figure it out, and I worked very hard at cultivating those dreadlocks and giving him a good, afrocentric head of hair that wouldn't scream, "my mama's white". I soaked up every bit of information I could find on maintaining dreadlocks. I am pretty proud of those darn dreadlocks.

Wow, I've just given lots of reasons about me, me, me and what I want. And I guess this needs to be about what Jafta wants. So, sometime this week, I think we will be heading to the barber to give Jafta a "hight and tight" buzz. And I will do my best not to cry.

6 comments:

  1. He's too young to know what he wants and you are the mommy... ok, just kidding. I'm only saying that because I too love his dreads...

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  2. Kristen, I having the opposite problem. Kai's hair is pretty long right now and I want to cut it for summer. He is adament (sp) that he doesn't want to cut it. I figure if he's old enough to express his opinion about it, he is old enough to make a simple decision. It almost killed me when we cut off Judah's locs. I am waiting patiently for it to get long enough to start them again.
    Blessings...

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  3. Say it isn't so!! I love the hair!! It's so Jafta!! I know he will be adorable whatever!! Can't wait to see you all--hair or not!! Love, Nancy

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  4. Say it isn't so!! I love the hair!! But he will be adorable either way!! Can't wait to see you all--hair or not!! Love, Nancy

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  5. Your a good mom, very conscientious.. thoughtful. Love your blog, by the way. I read it for inspiration...

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  6. Found this blog... and this post by accident. Your son is gorgeous... I am going to have to read on to see if you cut them. My Haitian son had dreadlocks, so I totally get this. It has been lot of work, but it looks so good on him now. Although there are times when it is tough to fit it into my busy schedule to sit and tighten them, I also know that it is such great one on one time with him... and at 11, it's getting harder to get that physical time with him.

    Thankfully, he is at an age where being different is cool, so he has no intention of cutting them... as he says "Mom, the girls think my hair is cool!"

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