Last night, we gave hairstyling a try. M3 has natural hair. That's the way it will be until she is old enough to make a truly informed decision about what she would like to do with her hair. We have taken careful care of her hair--lots of moisture, one non-sulfate shampoo a week, you know the drill.
Her hair has grown a lot since she has been home, but it has never been quite long enough to to do a 'do. I've been checking on a semi-regular basis, though, and much like the ear piercing begging that took place daily until it happened, I had begun to grow weary of the, "Mommy? You make uh my hair pretty when it get big?"
So, I slowly acquired my arsenal of hair styling supplies as suggested in the numerous informative posts at my favorite hair blog. Everything from a rat tail comb to clips to beads to styling cream to non-metal elastics. And, even though I was fairly confident M3 had enough hair to do something, I did not anticipate a couple of things when we began.
First, I did not anticipate how long this process would take, especially the first time. We worked for nearly three hours. I now know that when we go to do something like this again, we will need to devote an entire afternoon to it, with breaks built in for both of us, and I will need to find a more comfortable way to sit/stand to do the work. My back was killing me by the time I was done. I'm sure some of it was my hairstyling posture while the other part was the tension I had in my shoulders and neck from the sheer effort I was putting into the styling.
Second, I did not anticipate how difficult it would be to braid hair that wants nothing more than to twirly gig itself right up snug with a little girl's scalp. Couple that desire with hair that is wet and slippery (from styling products) and you have yourself a real interesting project. Add in a kid who fidgets more than she ever sits still and you have an idea of how exhausted I was when the process was over and done.
But, M3 was very happy with the results and bounced off to school with a skip in her step (even skippier than usual).
I, however, was disappointed to see that the non-metal elastics I used were less than stellar and they would not last another day, let alone a week. I also noticed that we will need some stronger styling aid (alcohol-free gel?) to keep those braids nice for longer than 24 hours. So, back to the drawing board and we'll try again with a new fervor in another week or two when her hair has had a chance to rest, grow and recouperate and my hands have done the same. I also think her hair is just a teensy bit too 'small', as she calls it, for too much in the way of braids given the type of hair she has and its current length.
We're still experimenting. The good news is, she didn't come home from school saying that any of her friends asked her what happened to her hair. I, honestly, worried about that pretty much all day. If M3 likes something, she rarely, if ever, cares what someone else has to say about it. Need I remind you of her choice of outfits when she wanted to play babies and couldn't find her sunglasses?
Yeah. The child has her own sense of self and her own sense of fashion, to be sure. But, I like that about her. Not really afraid to let her fashion flag fly...even if no one appreciates the look she's trying to achieve. I thought someone might give her a hard enough time that it would make her mad or sad and I worried she'd feel like I did something to her rather than for her and I'd have a major parenting fail moment. And, after the Monday I'd had, I really couldn't take a youngster's disappointment to boot.
But, no such disaster occurred. She had a 'green' day and didn't say anything to her Dad or to me about anything not-so-nice happening at school. She was still very excited about her hair and only raised minimal fuss when we explained we needed to take it all out tonight (only took about 1/3 of the time to carefully remove it all) and we would play with her hair again soon.
I felt pretty accomplished, I'm not going to lie. It may not have been perfect (Lord knows it was NOT), but it was not bad for a first try by a person who has no earthly idea how to do anyone's hair, including her own.
Here she is as her 'work' was in progress. She isn't in pain; she's just acting goofy and whipping her beads back and forth.
She really did look super cute with all that hair bling. :)