The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Mohawks & Curly Hair

Unlike most babies who look like old men with their sweet, bald heads, my son was born with a shock of blonde hair.

In his hospital pictures, Gabriel’s hair stands up in a Mohawk, looking like a teenager seeking attention. Only instead of wearing the accompanying scowl and studded bracelets, Gabe is shrieking, pink-faced, kicking his feet from where they’re bundled into his tiny yellow onesie.

I can’t deny that I was smitten by that hair from the very beginning. As he grew, his Mohawk morphed into white-blonde curls that began to fall around his face.  By the time he was two, they’d expanded into a mop.  But there was something about the way the cork-screw curls flopped around his head as he waddle-walked that brought smiles to people’s faces. 

Only our nanny disapproved. “He looks like girl,” she scolded in her broken English as she combed her own daughter’s jet-black hair into orderly ponytails and nailed them down with bright-colored ribbons. “He looks like messy,” she said under her breath. 

I didn’t care. I refused to let anyone else cut Gabe’s hair, making sure to snip off only the bare minimum. 

We got used to total strangers’ regular commentary. “Where’d you get those curls?” the older ladies would ask Gabe. At three years old, the question perplexed him; by four, he just smiled before he shrugged and ran off. 

“Oh those curls,” women were always saying with longing. “If you only knew how much we pay to copy these,” they’d say while petting Gabriel’s head like it was an irresistible puppy.

Then at five years old, other boys started getting buzz cuts.  To me, they looked like stock issued GI-Joe dolls with matching molded plastic heads. 

“I hate these curls,” I caught Gabriel saying one day as he stared miserably into a mirror after kindergarten.  

“Why?” I choked. 

“Girls like curls,” he grimaced, trying unsuccessfully to flatten out his hair.

My husband and Gabriel began making noises about a father-son trip to the barbershop.

“Think of all the money we’ve saved over the years,” I tried to bargain with my husband.  “Twelve dollars a month in seven years. That’s almost a thousand dollars!” I enthused. 

When Gabe was eight, they launched a surprise attack, setting off for the barber without telling me. When they returned, I thought Gabe looked awful.  Like a pinhead, barely recognizable as himself. 

“It’s what he wanted,” my husband shrugged as I fumed at him behind a closed door. “It’s his hair.” 

I couldn’t wait for those curls to grow back. 

Now Gabe is nine and I know my husband’s right. I have to let go, mostly because if I keep making such a big deal I’ll only push Gabe to exert his independence even further. 

For now, he’s decided he wants his hair ‘medium short,’ and those beautiful curls are not meant to be.

Just wait, I think. Time is in my favor with his hair. As he once said – “Girls like curls.”

By Mary Beth McClure

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