Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cutting HmG's Hair...big mistake?



Before the Chop
After the Chop


When HmG let me know she was ready to do her own hair, I thought there was something special I had to do to make it easier for her.  I remember brushing her soaking wet hair into a ballet bun for a competition and thinking to myself, "this is a whole lot of hair." Would HmG be overwhelmed?

HmG's hair grows naturally in layers, but all of her layers were long.  The layer from her crown to nape stretched down to her waist.  She has a lot of strands and each strand is thick.  I thought to myself there was just no way she could handle it.  We talked about it briefly and decided to chop off three inches, hoping it wouldn't be too noticeable to others.

First, the chop was very noticeable to others.  I was dismayed to watch HmG explain over and over why her hair was suddenly so short.  She had to explain it for months.  After a few months she stopped thinking a hair cut was a plausible answer and simply agreed that her hair was much shorter.  This would have been no big deal except that while no one said it directly, their dismay was clearly communicated.

Second, her hair was more manageable but it was also very different. The shorter length shrunk more, making HmG's hair look even shorter than we expected.  If her long hair shrank 40%, her shorter hair shrunk 60%.  Add to that the breakage HmG experienced while learning to detangling without ripping her hair out of her head, and we were easily working with a five inch chop as opposed to a three inch one.  The styles HmG loved looked very different, and disappointing since she was aiming to look the way she had always looked.

Was it a mistake?

Yes--and one I won't repeat with her sisters.  I quickly learned that shorter and more manageable hair is an inevitable part of the learning process once our girls start handling their own hair.  HmG didn't need the head start I gave her.

I regret making her have to adapt to new hair when she would already have to adapt to a new process.

I regret calling so much attention from others to her, by having her hair look so much shorter. At 14, HmG's  self consciousness was already understandably hormonal.

I regret not trusting her to have her own experience, and overcompensating for a negative outcome.

I regret not talking to her more about it.  Neither of us are afraid of hair cuts, but I'm not sure she understood the change involved in cutting off that much of her hair.  I'm not sure I understood it.  I never expected her shorter hair to shrink more.

I am thankful that HmG is very adaptable.  The process has been very forgiving and her hair is growing back with a vengeance.  I am reminded again that no stage of learning is void of mistakes and that it feels fantastic to get up and keep trying.  At the end of the day, a hair cut is still just a hair cut, because nappy hair grows back just like any other hair.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Joys and Pitfalls of Mg2's Braidlocks


The joys...
1. She loves them.  In the beginning, I worried that Mg2 would change her mind about having braidlocks.  I watched her carefully on our first Princess Day after installing her locks.  I wondered if she felt like she was missing out on something as her younger sisters enjoyed their loose hair.

When I finally had a moment alone with Mg2,  I whispered, "Princess Day is every day for us, right?"

 She smiled and nodded.

"Are you sure?  It would be very easy for me to take your locks down today if you like..."

"I love my locks mom.  I want them to look just like yours."

"I can't promise you that.  I promise that your locks will look just like yours."

Hugs and kisses ensued and we moved on.

2. Mg2 is fully responsible for her own hair and care is easy.  Detangling was the most difficult skill to teach HmG.  With locks, Mg2 has no worries.  We have set up a routine for her to wash her locks every Saturday morning with a diluted sulfate free shampoo.  Her final rinse is with diluted apple cider vinegar (1 tsp to 8oz of water).  After blotting her locks with a towel, Mg2 pours a dime size amount of safflower oil in her palms, rubs them together and runs greasy hands through her damp locks.  They air dry quickly.

3. Mg2 enjoys styling her locks.  She generally wears them down...like mother like daughter, huh?  Unlike me...if it ain't broke...Mg2 loves to experiment.  I've found her braiding and twisting and curling with all sorts of accessories.  She so inspired me I ordered some Lock Loops.  The result?  Curls, glorious curls and lots of bounce.

4. Styling is optional.  Mg2's locks are the optimal wash and go style.  We've really enjoyed this in a time crunch.

The pitfalls...
1. She loves them. My locks have evolved and changed so much over time.  I hope Mg2 will continue to love her locks as as she does today, as they mature and  probably look different.

2. Mg2 is fully responsible for her own hair and care is easy.  Sometimes it's too easy and we forget about them.  Was today wash day? Sometimes Mg2 is being a ten year old who is not overly concerned about sticking to her hair routine.  It's on Mocha Mom to remember to remind her...trouble is Mocha Mom is juggling so many balls that the locked hair ball sometimes gets dropped.

3.Mg2 enjoys styling her locks.  Sometimes the styles are...interesting.

4. Styling is optional but becoming a lint magnet is not.  Mg2 is ten years old, and not overly concerned about her hair as she goes about her business of sprawling across the beige carpeting, dressing up in fuzzy costumes, and laying across the freshly mowed lawn.  I'm constantly picking bits of something out of her locks.

If I could go back and make my decision again, knowing what I know now---would I still choose to lock Mg2's hair?

Absolutely.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Why Braidlocks?

If follow me on Facebook and watch my YouTube videos, then you already know that I recently started a set of  locks for Mg2  by braiding up her hair.  I've recently been asked why we chose to start with braids and thought  I would spend some time explaining it in more detail here.

There are multiple ways to start locks, perhaps more ways than we will discuss here.  Choosing which way works best for you will depend on your personal situation.  Consider your lifestyle, hair texture, sizing, and the way you would like your mature locks to look.

Most people are familiar with comb coils and twists. However, people also start locks by freeforming, backcombing, interlocking and braiding.  Let's have a closer look.

1. Freeforming   involves letting the loose hair clump and matte in whatever formation it likes.  This may yield locks of various sizes and shapes depending on hair texture and performance.

2. Comb coils or finger coils are installed by coaxing sections of hair into formations resembling ringlets.

3. Twists may be formed with two strands or three strands.  Three stranded twists may be more elongated and trap the strands more firmly, preventing them from slipping out of formation during manipulation.

4. Backcombing is a method effective for any texture of hair, but often used by people with loosely curled and even straight hair.  It involves taking the desired section of hair, teasing it back with a comb and rolling the matted section between your palms.

5. Interlocking is a method which involves using a latch hook, or any needle like tool which will allow you to manipulate a section of hair like you would a rope, string, or thread.  The section of hair is then weaved into a specific pattern.  Sisterlocks are installed with a trademarked method of interlocking.

6. Braiding sets the hair in a braid pattern of any desired size and formation. Three stranded twists, the same pattern used to make ropes may also perform similarly to braids.

When I was researching locks for myself, I looked for a method that would work for a person who needed to wash/rinse their hair daily.  I needed something which would hold loosely coiled hair.  I have multiple textures on my head, and the hair from the back of my ears down to my nape is silky with looser coils. I needed something that would work for small locks.  I needed something I already knew how to do well, because I wanted to be able to install my locks myself.  I learned about braidlocks on Nappturality--special shout out to Cheleski, aka M. Michelle George, author of The Knotty Truth.  I locked my hair before her book was published, but it continues to be a great resource.  I reviewed her book on YouTube, so if you're interested in locks, I think it's worth every dime.

I chose braidlocks for Mg2 because she loves my locks.  We've discussed that locking is such an organic process that we can't always control the outcome.  While locks may look similar, no two heads will be exactly the same.  Mg2 understands this, but wanted to give her hair as much opportunity as possible to look like mine.  I actually think her hair will look even better.  Her hair is thick and lush and shrinks in a very compact way.  She can wear a style for a long time without it looking like it needs to be done over.  Her baby locking stage will probably be beautiful.  Mg2  has a really layed back and practical personality. The more I learned about locks the more I thought of her.  She surprised me though.  I never expected her to ask for them so soon.  I thought....maybe when she's 14.

Check out my video on YouTube where Mg2 unveils her locks.  I explain the grid we chose and gush all over my baby.  I am so excited for her.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Scalp Series: Self Exposure

I been coming here for years and being transparent about all sorts of things without feeling bothered. My Scalp Series (6 videos) on YouTube has ruffled me up a bit.  I am surprised to suddenly be feeling a little shy.  I still feel very connected to the old me and while my thinking has changed, I remember exactly where the old Mocha Mom was when she made those choices.

I've posted the first video and am thinking you can follow the trail once you get on YouTube to see the rest.  Maybe you've watched and and think...no big deal.  I'm really asking to hear your thoughts on this one.  Can you relate?

Sunday, January 6, 2013



Is motherhood going to kill me?

I remember being twenty-one years old and not being able to understand why my mother couldn't adapt when my choices for myself deferred from what she wanted for me.  I liked my choices and thought my mother should be happy because I was happy.  I never imagined what it felt like then to have to let go as a parent.

I'm not talking about letting go of the big things that mean life and death for our kids.  I'm realizing that letting go of the little things can be just as excruciating.  Little things like a daughter insisting she likes a side part better than a center part when as mom, I especially like the way this daughter looks with a center part.  It's keeping my mouth shut and smiling pleasantly when she says, "the side part looks good too, right Mommy?"  The truth is there's nothing wrong with the side part, Mom's just attached to the center part.