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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    An issue with the MIL

    This isn't a huge issue, but thought I'd get some other opinions on it.

    My 17 month old has beautiful hair - my husband is Egyptian with tight, tight black curls, and I have brown, wavy hair. Somehow, Leonidas got blonde hair, but he also got gorgeous loopy curls. He's still young, so his hair is still thickening, so often times it gets frizzy by the end of the day, or after he naps.

    I don't do anything to it, unless we're going out then I spritz some water on it, tussle it up, and it goes into lovely defined curls.

    The problem is my husband's mother - I've shown her a few times how to do his hair (if they are going out), but she frequently douses it in water, and slicks it down. They sometimes have him overnight, or for a day or two, and when I see pictures from their visit with him a few days later, he constantly has his hair damp and flattened, and he looks ridiculous.

    My husband told me years ago that his parents used to do this to his hair when he was younger too - he thought it had something to do with them being immigrants, and wanting their children to look more "white" and not so "ethnic". In fact, his dad STILL does a comb-over on himself - which obviously looks ridiculous. Their hair is NOT designed for comb overs!

    I obviously have a big problem with this. No one would mistake my son to be part Arab - he didn't inherit the dark hair, or the dark skin, but even if he had, I certainly wouldn't be trying to hide it. By her flatten his hair, I feel like she's disrespecting my wishes, but also setting a horrible example for my son - like he should be ashamed of how his body is - and it's just his hair!

    So I guess my question is - should I say something to her, or just leave it alone? Basically his parents disagree with all aspects of how we've chosen to raise Leonidas (not circumcised, not vaccinated, no traditional medicines, etc.) so there are definitely bigger issues that we've dealt with, but this is one of the few that will keep recurring basically forever - and it's visible.

    What do you think?
    My hearts:
    Leonidas Alexander Sanad - 12/12/12
    Theron Saudok Khayne - 09/24/14
    Jericho Caroliena Amal - 05/09/16

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Pacific North West (Canada)
    First off, I think you should vaccinate your child.

    Now that that's out of the way, I think you should just say "Ach, I hate it when you do his hair like that, don't you love to see his beautiful curls?" and leave it alone. If she keeps slicking it back, then whatever. You'll probably feel better if you say SOMETHING but don't make it into a big thing.
    Azula Rosemary
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  3. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    New England
    Is it horrible to say that I can see where your MIL is coming from? I'm not saying she shouldn't respect your wishes, but wanting to fit in and that need to assimilate when coming from an immigrant culture is very strong. Hair issues run very deep among many cultures who now make the US home, especially when the norm is NOT curly or ethnic hair. She's not doing him any harm my slicking it back. I'd leave this one alone.
    Zoe Milena and Lucas Emmanuel

  4. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    east of the sun, west of the moon
    How does hubby feel about it? I'd get feedback from him. Also, soon enough your son is going to be old enough to tell his grandma himself that he does or does not like his hair straightened out. I know I was pretty young when I started yelling at my mum when she'd do my hair in a way I didn't like, because she's told me on multiple occasions! haha
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  5. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Los Angeles
    We have an identical ethnic mix (my husband is Arab, I am blonde, children have beautiful strawberry blonde ringlets). My in-laws used to slick down my son's hair too-- or worse, leave it as a big puffball. I have lots of products and spend time each morning taming the mane back into the Shirley Temple ringlets.

    My in-laws have said a few 'self-hating' things in the past that have left me feeling a bit uncomfortable. Things like "thank goodness the children don't look Arab," etc. [And they don't-- if you'd like to click on my profile, you can see a picture of my baby daughter]. They are wildly proud of their ethnicity and heritage, too. There are bizarre colonialist remnants in their rhetoric; one of the most common bragging scenarios amongst Arabs is to say "I have blue eyes in my family" or to call someone "fair."

    Arab women in general spend loads of time straightening their hair, if they've inherited the curls. The cultural ideal of beauty is long, thick, lustrous, *straight* hair. It's very difficult to have these sorts of conversations but honestly one of the best things re: my son is when we take him out and strangers remark on his little curls. When they've seen how much positive attention he gets, their attitude has dramatically changes.

    And finally-- you know it's coming-- there is NO reason not to vaccinate. None. "Natural immunity" is weaker than acquired immunity; there is no such thing as 'vaccine injury;' the link to autism has I hope been completely, relentlessly, thoroughly disproven; there are no 'toxic chemicals...' but there are plenty of reasons to vaccinate.
    Blade, MD

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