So, About That Time My Nephew's Kinky Curly Hair Nearly Drove Me Over the Edge

I still love my Bubsy to bits, but detangling his hair almost ended our already fragile relationship.

Mar 5, 2013 at 9:00am | Leave a comment

Let me preface this by admitting that I'm not what anyone would ever call a "kid person."

Last summer, my then six year-old nephew Shaun came to stay with me for six weeks. It was the most fantastic, most fucked up decision I've ever made in my life.

While we ultimately had a ton of fun, Shaun is the epitome of spoiled. He lives in a massive 7-bedroom three-story home down in Atlanta with just his mother, whereas I live alone in a super-small 700 sq ft open-plan loft in the middle of Times Square. He has a pool in his enormous backyard, which serves as his very own personal playground. My building boasts an indoor pool on the 2nd floor in the gym, and a seemingly nice-sized makeshift park on the rooftop.

One would think his transition from country mouse to city mouse would be a rather exciting exchange, but no. I was disheartened to learn that my "home" just wasn't working for him.

From my raised four-poster bed (complete with sheer curtains) and matching vanity to my boudoir-style bathroom and closet, everything about Le Dollhouse (the nickname of my NYC apartment) was "too girly." (His words, not mine obviously.)

As a result, we often quarreled about absolutely everything, whether it was what to watch on my one (for shame!) TV to what to eat for dinner (Chinese chicken with broccoli is his meal of choice; fried tofu and haricot vert is mine) to how many times we went to Central Park each day to play soccer and baseball (we settled on two).

One night, I even considered repo-ing his tooth fairy money. It got bad; so tiresome in fact, I finally hired a babysitter to take him out and entertain him from 9-to-5 -- that way I'd only be responsible for what I called "second shift." (I know, I know -- IJJ the Aunt is all kinds of selfish and horrible. Sing along if you know the words.)

Aside from dinner, the other big part of my evening duties included getting him ready for bed. (Kids are a LOT of work.) That included showering, teeth brushing, lotioning and -- worst of all -- washing and detangling his hair. (An activity that brought us both to tears.)

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You think you know, but you have no idea.

As you can see, he has a lot of it, and he's a rambunctious little boy who absolutely, positively hates having his hair groomed. (For the record, if you've never had to pull a comb through a kid's kinky hair, count your blessings. ALL OF THEM.)

We tried everything from wide-tooth combs to Mason Pearson brushes; everything I touched his head with made him scream like all hell, until we came across the utterly amazing Tangle Teezer ($13 at BeautyBay.com). 

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Kept me out of Bellevue.

This little handheld miracle/detangling brush dried those tears right up! It works on every hair length and texture, wet or dry. The short, flexible bristles painlessly (but effectively) glided through his easily knotted strands with the greatest of ease. His shower hour became a much more enjoyable experience for us both, and I was even rewarded with many more smiles. (Winning!)

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Happy, happy, joy, joy!

 Some days, he even let me style it up in a funky mohawk!

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Rocking a plus-size fake-me-out fauxhawk. Basically the only style he'd let me do.

Seriously -- if you find yourself fighting the good fight with a child's hair, make this investment. It saved my sanity during the last 3 weeks of his stay.

P.S. -- After proofreading this, I realized that I may have unfairly painted Shaun as a tedious temperamental monster, and that's not the case at all. Deep down he's a super-sweet boy who just so happens to prefer living his life in the great outdoors in the spacious South. We actually do really like each other! Here are a few more snaps of him loving all up on "My Indy" (that's what he calls me!).

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Look at that smile. Soooooooooooo cute!

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Red lipstick? Shaun's not a fan.

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Smothering him with lots and lots of red lipped besos anyway!

Come kick it with Auntie Indy over on Twitter: @IndiaJewelJax.