Hands Off: My Daughter's Hair is Not an Exhibit

"What do you want for dinner tonight?"

"Peezahhhh!" said Olivia excitedly.

Note: Try turning down an 18-month-old with a big smile and eyelashes to boot.

I dare you.

Hence the reason we eat pizza like four nights a week.

This night was different though.

Instead of popping a frozen one in the oven, we loaded up the girls and went to one of our favorite local pizza places.

We walked in and found a table in the back of the restaurant.

It was busy.

Apparently 5:15 is when all the cool people wanna eat a dinner buffet.

There was a large, excessively loud, group of people next to us talking about farming and horses and [for some reason unbeknownst to me] Preparation H.


I can't make this stuff up, you guys.

Totally appropriate dinner-talk, right?

Anyway, I digress...

Minutes after we sat down, I felt darts of eyes staring at our family.

People staring and commenting about us is nothing unusual necessarily.

But this was excessive.

And you know it's excessive when Chris leans over the table and mumbles nonchalantly, "Is everyone staring at us right now?"

When the large group [finally] started to wrangle up their rowdy kids and disperse, we felt a sense of relief the angels in the heavens started singing.

But then it happened.

The silent "Alleluia's"  running through our heads were suddenly interrupted when a woman walked over to our table and -- without permission or warning -- started running her [greasy-from-pizza] hands through my daughter's hair.
"Oh, wow! Her hair is so big!" she said as she continued running her hands through my daughter's hair.

I swallowed my shock, anger and hunk of pizza and asked her told her as politely as I could to get her hands out of my daughter's hair.

She made a comment about her "red bow," and as she walked away, Chris mumbled, "It's pink."

We continued on with our peezahhh night, but days later I'm still thinking about the whole incident.

The fact of the matter is this:

What happened with that woman at our table is not okay.

So, here's a letter to the stranger who ran her hands through my daughter's hair -- and all those tempted to do the same:



Just don't.

I know my daughter's hair looks different than yours, and that you might have the best of intentions with coming up and groping it.

But don't.
We spend a lot of time conditioning, moisturizing and styling her gorgeous, curly locks during our special "hair nights" every week.

Of course compliments are welcome.

But my daughter's hair is not part of a museum exhibit.

Her hair is not on display meant to be gawked at or touched by strange hands.

She is not a pet.

She's my daughter and her hair is beautiful.

She knows this.

I know this.

And I'm glad you notice and might agree.

But seriously.

Unless we're friends and she's got a piece of waffle stuck in her her locks from breakfast, I expect you to be respectful of her boundaries and keep your hands to yourself.


Momma Bear


  1. Amen!! If my daughter had a nickel for every time someone decided it was okay to touch her hair, I'm pretty sure her big bank would be full by now. So unacceptable.

    1. Oh, Erin! Sounds like at this rate, she'd be set for college by the time she was 18?! :)

  2. Hi Shelley - I found your blog after you were featured on the Adoptions from the Heart facebook page. :) your girls are absolutely adorable!
    And thanks for the warning... I had someone ask if they could touch my son's hair, and I gave permission (he was just over a year) but I felt really funny about it. I don't know that I will again! My daughter is only 10 months... thanks for the warning. Some people are so oblivious.

    1. Hi Laura,

      I had no idea I was featured on there! That's great -- welcome! So glad you're here :)

      Would love to hear more about your fam sometime!


  3. And she said it was "big?" Hmm. I wasn't there, but my impression is that that's not nice either. Someone once told me that my daughter's hair is so "kinky." I was like, "Maybe you could find a less offensive adjective?" How about beautiful? Different than yours but equally wonderful? Really really curly? The word she used just didn't sit well with me and I got protective.

    Anyway...it's an adventure (an awesome one!) being our adopted babies' mommas. I love following your story. :)


    1. My thoughts exactly, Hannah.

      Word choice is so important. I'd love to hear more about your family when you have time (us mommas gotta stick together!) :)


    2. You're so sweet! Well, we have 14 month old boy/girl twins we adopted at 3 weeks old. It's a crazy story how we arrived at our family. We only had 3 days to prepare to bring them home and we had hardly anything prepared but people just poured stuff into our home that by the time they came home we didn't need a thing. We hadn't even done our home study yet when our agency made our match. We had only been approved for about a week. It was nuts! If you want, I wrote about it on my blog if you'd like to give it a read. :) http://hannahbunker.com/adoption/

  4. I feel for you and in some ways understand. Although my adopted daughter is the same in skin/hair color, she has down syndrome. People see this as a reason to pick her up and hug all over her. And as if she doesn't know what they are saying, they ask all sorts of dumb questions about her intellectual/physical abilities. :(

    1. Thanks for sharing, Karen.

      I'm sorry to hear you and your daughter have dealt with people's lack of boundaries, too. :/ How do you respond when this happens? I'm always looking for good insight from people who have been there.


    2. Shelley,
      I am so new to this that most of the time I stand there wordless. I wish I had a good answer. I have learned to say "no" to any contact but knowing what to say to peoples rude comments are much harder....I hope some day I can come up with a polite yet informative answer for people.

  5. What amazing restraint you demonstrated. Hands to yourself, people.

  6. In Thailand, it is absolutely not OK to touch or even pass anything over someone's head, even if it is a child, because they consider the head to be sacred. They are really on to something, in my opinion. I can't understand how anyone doesn't realize how inappropriate it is to touch a stranger's kid!

  7. She is absolutely daeling, and I'm sure her hair is too. But seriously, what the heck? You just shouldn't be groping on people's hair. Boundaries people!

  8. I could see it coming but who runs their hands through a strange kid's hair?! Really...who does that? People who talk about Prep H at the table, I guess...

  9. When I read stories like this, I think, "It's a good thing I'm raising boys!" [And for the sake of my sanity, they have short hair- so far.] My husband says my looks are worth a thousand words, so I can't imagine what my look would say if a stranger touched my child (unless of course, the stranger were saving my child's life).