Since birth we have garnered much attention and many questions about my youngest daughter’s hair. When I say since birth I mean the OB nurse exclaiming, “Look at that HAIR!!!” before I even laid eyes on my child. The same nurse called nurses up from other floors to look at the redheaded infant who just entered the world.
We get the craziest of questions and comments on a regular basis:
Do you dye her hair? At 4 years old?! Lady, come on!
I hear redheads have a fiery temper. I bet you have your hands full. Yes, there is some truth to that, but she is a great child! More importantly your blonde hellion over there is ripping through the store like a tornado while you assess my child’s stereotype.
Can she go out in the sun? She’s a red head – NOT a vampire!!!
(And the one that has taken me the most by surprise) What position did you do to get her hair that color? Well first, let me give you a basic lesson on appropriate stranger conversation then we will move on to genetics (FYI red hair is a mutation of the MC1R gene on chromosome 16).
My child’s hair is not just red – it is the color of a bright, new penny. It is bold and bright! Her incredibly pale ivory skin and blue eyes seem to set it off even further. Incidentally, red hair and blue eyes is the rarest combination in the world. Being that red hair/blue eyes are both recessive, both my husband and I had to genes for this to happen. According to popular red head facts, she is more rare than a four-leaf clover.
I understand she is unique and quite beautiful, but it does come with challenges:
The sun.! It’s one of our biggest challenges (and arguments). Basically we have to apply copious amounts of sunscreen (and apply and apply some more) The poor child hates it and for years it was like wrestling an anaconda.
(Apparently you CAN get sunscreen by the gallon)
Skin sensitivity. Redhead skin is beyond sensitive – ALWAYS an issue. Early on I was told to keep Benadryl on hand because redheads and allergic rashes are synonymous. Oh, yes! The first few sent me into the pediatrician’s office thinking she had some crazy skin disease. It is also said that red heads are highly sensitive to hot and cold extremes. Again, yes. If the temperature goes even slightly above or below a tolerable level we hear about it. And guess what hot weather brings? A massive heat rash, as well as a beet red face that would alarm most people.
Rude People. A handful of people call Sarah “Little Red.” She enjoys it and is not at all offended by it. I guess she feels it is more a loving term since I have called her “my little red” for a while. I’ve noticed she doesn’t mind “Ginger” though she prefers “Ginga Ninga!” It is when people use her hair color as an insult that really burns hurts. When the mean girl says “You are the ONLY one with that hair!” it tends to be deflating. One of the worst is yet to come – one that all redheads hate to hear – one that I am sure will come when she reaches high school age. “Does the carpet match the drapes.” It is the most commonly dreaded question posed to redheads. Parents – teach your kids that it is NOT ok!!!
I am thrilled that my daughter loves her hair and already says she will never dye it. It is nice to see her embrace her individuality at such a young age, but a mom also knows that the rude comments can hurt. I tell her all the time that I always prayed for a redhead with blue eyes. I did! I remind her that I was always mesmerized by the beauty of red hair and that she is an answered prayer in more ways than one. I also remind myself of that as I wrestle her to cover that ivory skin in sunscreen.
If you are interested in more cool facts about redheads here is a great overview.