Raising a Redhead: Not a Task for the Faint of Heart

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MRR Stock Photo:)

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This is how redheads do Easter!

You may look at the title of this post and say, “how is raising a redhead different from any other child?” And I understand your skepticism. But, you have to believe me when I say, there’s something special about the redheaded child and I hope to inform you in this post.

The Genetics

An unexpected caveat to becoming the parent of a sweet little boy three years ago was also becoming the parent of a redhead. Now, I am not a red-head, my husband is not a redhead and we have no redheaded relatives to speak of. But, I have learned, in order for little Parker to have become a redhead, we both have to carry the gene. And so we do.

The Stereotypes of Redheads

Now, you may be ignorant to the stereotypes of redheads. If you remember Chuckie from Child’s Play, the red-headed child does not get the best rap. Then, of course, there is the vampire—traditionally red headed and pale skinned. Freckles usually adorn the face of a stereotypical red-head and a complimentary cowlick (in boys) or tangled curls (in girls). To learn more about the stereotypes, I consulted www.raising-redheads.com (Yes, that’s a real site). In it, several stereotypes are listed for redheads: crazy, fiery, hot-tempered, unpredictable and spunky, sassy. The list goes on and on. If you have read any of my posts about Parker, you know that these are not stereotypes, these are facts. But still, some people take offense. Like the blonde joke, the ginger joke is not well received by all redheads. To push the envelope further, South Park ran an episode where they (very hilariously) claimed gingers to have no souls. Some people (and rightfully so) have lost their sense of humor in all the poking fun of redheads. And, while it’s understandable, I still operate under the idea that I am part of a very exclusive and private club. MRR. Moms raising redheads.

The Secret Club

Have you ever known someone who drove a Jeep Wrangler? Everyone in Jeeps wave to each other as they pass. It’s a cool tradition, like you are part of some special club. Only Jeep owners allowed. Cool people, who ever so coolly wave and give a nod of, “I know what you got, and I like it.”

Having a redhead is kind of like that.

When Parker’s locks showed their first tinges of red, I thought it was a fake out. I was described as being strawberry blonde as a child and thought his would grow out to blonde or brown like his Dad’s. But, by 12 months he had a head full of red curls.

You first start getting looks in the grocery store, “Look at that red hair!” You start to notice families with red heads. And, most of all, you start to feel like you have just been initiated into some kind of club. And you it comes with some great perks— people gushing, people being a little more patient when they see him misbehave (see Ginger stereotypes) and people, just in general, loving to see a real live ginger child like they have seen in the movies and on TV.

I first knew I was in for it when his little personality was developing. He was hilarious, sensitive, ready for a party and, always willing to speak his mind (even if it was in expletives). Parker makes his presence known no matter who is in his company. He’s a whole lot of toddler in a very little body. And with that comes: a temper, a great sense of drama and acting ability, an inquisitiveness that is utterly exhausting and an ever so keen sense of humor. From this short list of qualities, I have made a list of survival techniques for raising a redhead. If you are a new Mom who sees the ginger locks starting, might be good to buckle up and get ready for what’s down the pike.

1. Be ready for a debate at every turn. Think that just the treat of a movie later will get you through the day? No way. This redhead needs something a little more immediate. Do you have any skittles on you? Yes, he’ll take those please.

2. No Tantrum is Unnecessary. Even if he doesn’t get what he wants, he has successfully worn you down for the next time he wants something. It’s all a part of a larger plan, don’t you worry.

3. His Sweetness is His Secret Weapon (The Eddie Haskell Effect). Smiley and sweet can very quickly turn to angry and irritated. Be aware that the moment where you say to yourself, “What a sweetie,” is probably when he has taken all the loose change he has found on the ground and stuffed it into the DVD player. So, just keep on your toes.

4. Siblings- Partners in Crime or Ultimate Enemy? Be careful to pay attention to how he is using his innocent siblings to further his own interests. Especially if said child does not talk. Makes it very hard to decipher who exactly put the tampon box into the bath and stirred it around until it was cardboard soup. That being said, watch for aggression with the sibling. If he doesn’t dish it out chances are he could instigate it.

5. Cute is his middle name. No redhead would get away with anything if they weren’t also adorable. And he is. With his creamy skin, his auburn-y red hair, green eyes and glasses, he’s got “ I can get away with anything” written all over him. And he will try, again and again.

So, if you are someone or know someone who is raising a redhead, time to get serious. There’s a lot to enjoy about being in this select group of children but there’s also a lot of chaos in store as well. But, you will be very glad you have been inducted into the exclusive Moms Raising Redheads Club—because even with their fiery personalities and high maintenance temperaments, there’s some real special about having one of your own.

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This was about when the red hair became apparent!

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Mountain tantrum? Oh yes, yes, redheads do that.

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