My 7 year old Daughter has more of my genes than I expected.
Despite both mine and Hubby’s genes are quite strong, I knew from the minute she was born, she had the one gene I had hoped and prayed for her not to have.
The dark body hair.
The minute I saw her naked wet body I saw the thick patch of hair on the back of her neck and just above her tiny bum crack between two cute baby dimples.
For months, every time I sat and feed her, bathed her, rubbed her down in lavender cream, I rubbed those patches in hope for them to eventually disappear like the baby hair on her head.
But it didn’t work. I just wanted her to not have this bit of my DNA. And this is why.
In Preschool I became self aware of how dark my hair was. Now I’m naturally olive in skin colour but Caucasian. I am Australian born, seventh generation on my mothers and ninth generation on my father’s side.
I was bullied a lot at school, mocked and jeered at. But all were from boys for the time being. Even in front of their mothers. Even though they would get an earful about it, they would continue every other day.
My hair on my head was dark brunette to nearly black, my legs and arm hair was black. Thick, long, bushy black.
My family moved around a lot, not suburb to surburb in one town but cities away. I found it hard to make friends and when I did we moved again. I became socially awkward.
But at every new school I still got bullied. I got teased. I tripped one day and scrapped my knee and that enticed new teasing like I tripped over my hair on my legs, I was mistaken for a boy with certain hair styles, or a wog which now it isn’t insulting but at 7 I didn’t know what a wog was.
My mother wasn’t exactly supporting, but I can’t remember many happy memories from my childhood, just boring ones, sad ones and lonely and angry memories.
At age 8 I highly recall an incident at school. I had no friends except my Neighbour who was 12. I was teased horrendously that I ended up breaking down and crying. The next day I went to school and at first lunch I was pushed down to the ground, my hair pulled, someone punched me while I laid there crying. I was only 8. And all I recall was them yelling at me to shave my legs.
Then at second break the same day, the same group of kids were talking to the principal and I saw them point at me. The principal came at me and I got a revving for being racist. These group of bullies are aboriginal. They claimed they were provoked by my calling them black. I cried trying to state it wasn’t true and he rang my mother. I remember sitting on a bench crying when my neighbour came up and comforted me.
I told my mother what happened but I don’t know what was done after that. After that day, I begged my mother for me to shave my legs.
Four years of begging. I was finally allowed to shave my legs when I turned 12. And that was my 12th birthday present. A razor. That was it.
I was a different school again by that time but I was still getting teased because of my dark body hair.
And that is why I was at a crossroads with my 7yo daughter. My 5yo daughter was fortunate enough not to have this gene. So after many countless conversations with my husband, many pleads and stories of my childhood, many coffee dates with friends asking for advice, I decided to have a look at the chemists.
Now I found the perfect electric razor but I didn’t have the money there and then for that item so I looked on till I found pads for hair removal. I ended up buying them and after numerous conversations in my head, I decided that my daughter has had enough.
She was getting teased, she would cry all the way home about how mean people are, how they always pick on her leg hair and arm hair.
I know damn well telling a staff member at school wasn’t working, telling her to snap back with a witty comment wouldn’t have it because she is too kind. Even when her feelings were getting hurt, she didn’t want to hurt theirs. I told her to smack one in their face but yet again she is to kind.
So I sat down on the weekend with her legs on my lap as I rubbed circles in to her legs. After a while, it was making a difference. Her hair was falling out and straight away her self confidence came back. After a day at school after her legs became bare, she said she had a great day. Not a single person teased her about her legs. She didn’t cry once after school which was the first time this year and she was so much happier after just one day.
Now I had a miserable childhood. I was sad and the problem could be fixed but was never solved.
My daughter had the same problem and after a few months of researching other mothers with the same dilemma and some helpful advise from friends, I snapped when my 7yo came home crying yet again over her legs. So I solved the problem, I didn’t wait till it was socially accepted and she was of age, I didn’t wait till it was her 12 birthday and I defently didn’t wait till she was bashed because of some thing so stupid.
So I might be getting in early with my daughter’s happiness, but I eliminated my daughter from being a target to school yard bullies and I don’t regret it. Her legs at 7 years of age was equivalent to a 13 year old boy.
Its not something I will be doing with her every week, as it helps reduce hair growing rate, but it will be held of until absolutely necessary. So five times max a year, but if I avoid winter maybe 2-3 times a year because I don’t want her to have my problem at the age of 18, the start of adulthood and having to shave her legs every 2nd day, because it sucks!
My daughters legs won’t see a razor for a few more years hopefully, so by the time she needs to shave her legs, I’m hoping its not as frequent as me.
My daughter deserves a happy childhood and if it means getting rid of her hairy legs to prevent bullying, than so be it. She has an awesome network of family and friends and that’s some thing I never had as a child. And she also knows its okay to see some of them through school because some of the network are teachers and teacher aides that are my friends and I’m forever grateful to them, helping my girl when I can’t. And she also knows to see her favourite teacher in the whole school who is the most awesome and out going woman and i reckon she will make a wonderful aboriginal elder in our town many years down the track.
It really does take a village to raise a child and my village, my village is awesome.