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The Trials and Tribulations of Hair Genes

When our daughter Aubrie was born with Shirley Temple ringlets, we did what all good parents do. We trained her like a circus monkey.

I was at a homeschool function one time when a mom remarked about my curly hair. I told her that it was natural and that my husband, Matt’s, was too. All three of our kids inherited our dark, curly hair.

Our first daughter, Aubrie, had Shirley Temple ringlets. We were constantly being stopped so people could admire them. So, we did what every good parent that has a Shirley Temple look alike does. We trained her like a circus monkey.

We taught her to dance when we said, “dancy dance Aubrie.” She could be in the middle of eating and she’d drop her spoon, stand up, and dance.

I’d put her in dresses with frilly socks and take her out. When people would admire her, I would tell her to "dancy dance." And, like the good circus monkey she was, she performed on cue.

Looking back, I wonder if that had an ill effect on her. I could be wrong, but her aversion to dancing as a teenager might, possibly, conceivably, albeit slightly, be in direct correlation to her youth.

Elyse, on the other hand, had baby fine, stick-straight hair. Until she turned six. Her hair then exploded like microwave popcorn into a mass of curly, thick hair. Which, of course, she hated.

She would take her paper scissors and cut a nice, thick patch of hair at the root, right in the middle of her head. Of course, I tried to even it out so it wasn’t so noticeable. Other than shaving her head, she stuck out like a sore thumb. An adorable, brown-eyed sore thumb.

Boy was born with little hair, except at the very top of his head. He had a patch of hair that curled like a kewpie doll. Of course, I thought it was adorable, and made sure that curl was always there. To add insult to injury, his sisters would dress him up like a ballerina and secure a bow to the curl, making it even more noticeable.

It, too, grew in like a storm in Kansas. Now, we can barely get a comb through it and it grows faster than we can cut it.

The kids are learning to cope with their hair. Aubrie has a firm grip on her curls, as well as an industrial strength straightening iron. Elyse figures if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em, and leaves her curls alone for the most part. Dakota has resigned himself to the fact that other than shaving his head, he’ll have to live with the cards he’s been dealt. Besides, he looks just like his dad. Fortunately, he’s happy about that.

One day, Aubrie's dad will walk her down the aisle. At the reception, I'll get to dance with her new husband. We'll have come full circle when she gives me his hand and whispers, "dancy dance mommy."

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