Showing posts with label hair. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hair. Show all posts


little changes

You know that thing where you are trying to let someone in on your life by sharing a little, and without knowing it they question your insight about your situation and children and imply you are making a big deal out of nothing and you realize that you can't talk to that person anymore about the challenges in your family  because they don't live it and don't believe you when you talk about it? That thing. The learning in whom I can confide. It's not about anger, or shutting certain friends out, it's about picking one's audience. Being choosy about who a support person is or isn't is a practiced skill I am discovering.

A few other little changes are afoot besides me learning to hold my tongue (a little). Cookie's long locks into hawk. New hair clippers are pulling their weight around here. Though cliche to say so, 'tis amazing what a difference a good tool makes. I've used this puppy on all three boys now and I can safely say I am in love with hair clippers. I never thought I'd use those words.




Snip snip on Fikir's adenoids. Which were, according to the surgeon, "incredibly substantial." No more snoring, no more interrupted sleep, no more nasally voice, better pronunciation, more talking. It's beautiful what one hour of surgery can do for a girl. She was a brave little thing, and faced some big fears, and recovery was a slice of cake. What was just as cool was Mimi writing a letter to the their mom about the surgery and reassuring her she was better and how well she's doing. It took us almost an hour to compose seven lines of Amharic text but it was a great exercise. She and I will be getting better. Gmail is pretty cool to offer a way to type in English and it come out in አማረንያ።

This bit starts off with a sigh, because despite what I am about to share, the past few days have been fraught with destruction around the house. But on to the positive: When the safety factor keeps going down in one's house, one must get creative. Tsega doesn't have the ability to leave cords alone.  He plays with them, he unplugs them, he wraps them around things, and worst of all, wraps them around people. It was (and still is) debilitating how much time Hubs and I spend trying to stay a step ahead of a kid with serious issues about safety. The road is long and nowhere near ending. Our new intervention is thankfully working to alleviate a small particle of the stress. Phase one is pictured below.

Phase Two of Slightly Safer Tsega was taking out the bulbs from the over-head light. Tsega had been waking up several times a night (despite melatonin) and wandering around his empty room trying to come up with dangerous stuff to do. He had success often. We took out the lights so he can't turn them on and stay up all night, and on that high shelf (more than seven feet up) there is now a white noise machine, and a small lamp. Between having no cords and no lights to play with, he is sleeping better. I check on his room a few times a night and he is staying in bed more. It's a small miracle. When the going gets tough, the tough starts thinking outside the box. Sure, in a few years when we try to sell the house potential buyers may wonder why there is an outlet by the ceiling. It's the new hip thing! Everyone is doing it! At least everyone with kids with sensory processing issues!

Get on it, friends. All the cool people are doing it...


Much Ado About a Do

I did it.  It is embarrassing to admit, but a few years ago I paid $350 to do one of those Keratin straightening treatments on my hair. I wanted silky tresses again. See, I used to have them. But the hormones and perhaps incredibly poor nutrition during a few pregnancies transformed once perfectly decent hair into a logistical nightmare of four different textures. My hair is a mishmash of corkscrew curls, some frizzy waves, some straight and some confused. It was, and is, hard hair to manage, and at the time I wanted to feel good about myself without burning my hair up with a straightening iron every day.

This $350 + tip + parking garage fees on Newbury Street in Boston was to date the worst money I have ever spent in my life. The soft, straight hair lasted until the first time I washed it. Oh may it was a little shinier for a few weeks, but not almost $400 worth of shine I can assure you.  I felt like I'd been lied to. I felt betrayed by my hormones. My hair was what it was and the best science at fru fru salons in shi shi parts of Boston could not help me.

I have been working very hard to accept the new difficult texture of my hair but on top of this, until a few years ago, my hair was very blonde. Summer sun kissed it to a light blonde without a shred of help from salons. So not only have I mourned the loss of a hair color that most people pay for, but I had no idea how to manage waves and curls.

Sure, I attempted to fake the blonde for awhile. I got highlights. Many or most? woman do it, there is no shame, but I had shame. I felt like a fraud. And no matter how much I paid, my hair looked like it was highlighted. It never looked like it did before it went darker. And I hated it. Instead of feeling better about myself after a trip to the hair guy, I paid money to stress about my roots and secretly lament that it still didn't look like me.

But my attitude changed as my baby girl fled infancy and toddlerhood. Because I had a daughter who was born with chocolate brown hair. This has been a game changer for me. How on earth could I ever tell my daughter that she is perfect and wonderful and beautiful with brown hair, if I have brown hair but dye it lighter?  What would that say? Brown, the lesser color is just fine for her, but me, well, I have higher standards? How could I teach her to accept her own loveliness if I live as a hypocrite?

Anyone who claims that blonde is not still the standard of beauty in our society didn't watch Disney's recent movie Tangled, while very funny and entertaining once again slammed home the message that blonde is beautiful and best. Not only was there was not one person with brown skin in the whole film which was not lost on me the entire time, but the heroine had perfect, magical hair that was blonde, and when the magic was gone, her hair in it's useless state turned brown..  Perhaps even worse the cherry on top was at the end when her love interest essentially says "Eh, it's OK, I like it like that..." FABULOUS. Thank you! Rapunzel you are hereby allowed to feel good about your inferior hair because a guy likes it. Hallelujah your self esteem is in tact! (For now!)

I am tuned in to those messages in a major way because almost my entire self esteem growing up was wrapped up in the endless stream of compliments I got on my hair. I was also good at my violin and the fastest reader in my family besides my dad. But really, deep down, I loved my hair. I knew it was magical and special and superior. I saw it around me in movies, I heard it from everyone who knew me. My hair was desirable. This preference in our world for blonde is real, and I have been trying to shake it from my psyche because of my daughter. Because I am not blonde anymore. And neither is she. And we are both beautiful.

I decided around the time I flushed the Keratin Treament dollars down the toilet I would not color my hair again. No highlights. No chemicals. I would embrace whatever color grew out of my head and soon after I decided to embrace whatever texture I had and learn to work with it and like it.

Is my hair something I get compliments on?
Not really.
Does my hair attract attention? No.
Do I miss the attention? I would be lying about my vanity if I said no.
But I can sleep at night.
I do it for my daughter.
I do it for me.
I do it for the world.

This was something I could hang my hat on solidly for a few years: My Hair Integrity.

But this week I spotted my first grey hair. It was shocking, and short, like it had just grown in and was about two inches long. I did what any sane woman would do: I destroyed the evidence. I plucked it out and burned it.

And now I know in the not so far distant future I will have more hair choices to make. Women in our society do not embrace grey. Men in our society do not embrace grey in women.  Sure, they themselves can look dashing, handsome, mature, even hot with grey hair. Hubs is getting some and I am not gonna lie, I find it incredibly sexy.  Not for women. Women, it seems, are expected to maintain their hair color until they are dead in our society. With some very minor exceptions, I can think of no women I know who actually allow their hair to turn grey/white as they age.

And I am only 31.9. 32 looms next month. I am not ready to go grey. I am not ready to allow the greys to infiltrate the mousy brownish color that covers my head. Do I once again become a hypocrite? Do I hide what I look like and dislike myself for it to ward off an even great discomfort: looking "old"?

Do I dye darker and risk steering even further from the way I picture myself to cover greys, or do I go lighter to make it easier to cover up the greys but then once again unwittingly send the message to my daughter, don't love how you are, fix it so it holds up to what society thinks is beautiful.

A voice of reason and clarity asking Who gives a crap about this; there are far more important things in the world than hair color and texture! cuts through my fear and feelings and I meekly whisper back the answer:

I do. 

**Editors note: I do not believe when other women color their hair or straighten they are betraying their little girls or destroying society. I wish I had the capacity to color my hair and say screw it, I look hot! This is a classic case of me over thinking and making it difficult for myself to feel good.**


I Didn't Even Have to Drug Him

Before the procedure, his wet, lovely, combed through locks.


He didn't cry once. He didn't really even whine. Treats and TV are powerful motivators for my little Habesha. In my limited experience now, I will share the keys to cornrows for babies:

1) Let your kid get used to you pulling on their hair. Frequently moisturize, comb outs, box braids, french braids, puffs, ANYTHING.We've been working on this for the last two months. I built up his tolerance and the time he will sit.

2) Restraining device like a high chair if possible

3) Outlandish treats like getting to hold the entire bag of M&Ms or like Tsega here, the whole huge bag of marshmallows.

4) Dora the Explorer

5) A braider who has done kids before and is willing to come to your house. In our case, my sister in law's neighbor. She isn't a professional, but she does her grandkids' and kids' hair. And she was awesome.

Skip the salon if you can, and pray the baby keeps the satin sleep cap on so he doesn't ruin them after one day. BTW, once she started parting and got going, the whole thing took 25 minutes or so. Not bad at all!

Good luck friends!

** Update the morning after: He kept his satin sleep cap on most of the night, but even still it is obvious that because of his looser texture these babies won't be in for long. They are already fuzzy. Maybe five days tops. Bummer, but next time I will ask her to do more braids so they are smaller and tighter. Right now he has seven, maybe if we do ten or eleven it will help them stay in longer...


A Day in Photos

Read that cute graphic up there. I am joining a whole bunch of cool bloggers in a project to show your day in photos, one for each hour from you wake to when you go to bed. You all know that I cannot physically do this: one photo? Please. Please. When I do something I tend to go overboard. I have issues with this. I promise to one day seek professional help for my inability to just do a little bit in any aspect of my life. In the meantime, this is by far the longest post in the history of this blog. So buckle up amigos.

My day started laaaate. Hubs gave cereal to the older two, let me sleep and the babies were slow to wake up. Love sleeping in. Doesn't happen often. I was summoned by Samantha when Cookie had to pee and needed help. Otherwise, who knows how long they would have played by themselves, bless their mature little souls.

Tsega wakes, I bring him down to join the biggies for their third bowl of cereal.


I tell Samantha today is cold, rainy and that we will be going out later, so pick a good outfit. This is what she came up with on the first take.

Cookie Monster tells me he needs some love via a ride in the Ergo. Sometimes I think he is my most attachment disordered child. Except I guess it isn't a disorder if he tells me when he needs love. But man, he is sure needy. I will love this about him forever. Brady comes along for the ride.

Love tank filled, time for the boys to break the new-to-us train table from craigs list. It's still functional, just no storage capabilities anymore. Reckless toddlers...

9:06am L, our fabulous babysitter/Keeper of Laundry arrives and I soon realize through some procrastinating on my part, and a series of unfortunate accidents related to food and poop on other peoples' parts, I will not make it to physical therapy. I call and cancel appointment, hand off Brady so I can do some exercises at home.

As you can see, it is very efficient to exercise at home.

While I am on the floor strengthening my quads, I notice an interesting grouping of books. One's bookshelf says a lot about one, yes?
(Titles are The Power of Positive Parenting, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Children Just Like Me, Understanding Exposure, The Riverside Shakespeare, The Five Love Languages of Children, Adoption, Race & Identity, Why I Believe, Cutting for Stone, and Trusting Jesus) 

10:15am Time to turn on the "radio" for the little ones. 

I gotta take a shower, since it has been exactly four days and it is not acceptable to meet up with friends looking or smelling like I do. Before I go upstairs, I set the biggies up.

Cookie Monster colors and practices cutting. 

Samantha gets a few minutes of Starfall. She has thankfully changed from ridiculous Fairy of Migraine Neon outfit. While I am upstairs L thankfully prepares lunches and snacks for our outing.

Only thirty minutes late we arrive at the Lexington public library to see friends at 12pm on the dot.

This outing was good and bad. Good because we like friends. Bad because this library offered far too many tempting escape routes, ramps, long hallways for running, and the kids' general naughty factor was peaking. A few library workers seemed to hate toddlers were probably very happy when we left. We agreed this was not a good place to meet up again, but I will say this: the Lexington Children's section had an amazing selection of books depicting different ethnicities and cultures. I mean a vast selection. So, I might have to back for that alone. But sedate the kids first.

Someone falls asleep on the way home.

Someone is a big boy and feeds himself while I attempt and accomplish a successful car-to-crib maneuver.

The older kiddos resume coloring.

I take the opportunity to play with Brady and do some of his stretches and exercises. Tummy time first.

Sitting and reaching practice next.

I start noticing nasty unidentifiable stuff on the carpet and make a mental note to vacuum soon.

It's 3pm. Time for a late nap for Cookie and Brady. We grab some of the books we checked out from the library for a quick story time.

3:20 Boys down. Samantha is playing with dolls. I check email, work on this for the blog, but don't like how it turned out. Still like the quote though.

and then start a decorating project.

But then the little Ethiopian wakes up after a highly insufficient nap.
I hate those lights on the monitor...

I decide to ignore the awake child. He needs quiet time. He can talk for a little while. If it turns to tears, I will rethink this.

4pm: I have framed and hung this amazing piece of art.

Look closer. Isn't it lovely? My friend Karen sent this to me and made me cry. I love it so much. And I don't know a blessed thing about the painter. Need to find out who did this.

Time to start dinner. Samantha beautifully handles her assignment "shuck the corn."
She is seriously the best helper.

Cookie wakes up and demands I hand over the rinds of the cantaloupe I am cutting up for dinner. When it comes to food, Cookie adheres to a waste not want not philosophy.

Samantha helps hold Brady over while I do the finishing touches on dinner. I go upstairs to grab Tsega who never really napped and is shrieking.

A strangely sedate dinner time. Everyone likes it. No major brawls or spills.

6:20pm. Tsega is a disaster. Tired and requires bed immediately. Bath, Braids, Baba.

I am attempting to work up his tolerance to braids, as I have lofty goals of cornrows this summer. First I started with four pony tails and that was all he could handle. Then four box braids. Then two french braids which are like big cornrows, kinda. Now I can get him to sit almost still for three french braids. Slowly but surely we get closer to cornrows. He loves having it done (not the process) and likes not having to do a comb out everyday. I've noticed braiding keeps his hair moisturized and happy.

While the bedtime routine is going on with Tsega, the older kids resume coloring once again.

(They got a new coloring book yesterday and let me tell you, that $4.99 is so worth it for the hours they spend coloring in it. On a side note, the coloring book is Dinosaur Train. A show we newly discovered on PBS. They love it, and it is about a family of pteranadons who adopt a baby t-rex. They talk about adoption, how he is different from his siblings and parents, and how to find other dinosaurs like him and accept who he is. Go PBS.)

It is

I note that at some point I need to stop playing with pictures. But editing pictures is addictive and hard to stop.

But Brady is playing so nicely and the kids coloring so well... Finally I get responsible and take them upstairs.

Time for a tube-feeding for Brady

It's 7:45pm. Pjs on.

Samantha's turn for teeth and braids and posing.

Brady is now dysfunctional. I send the older kids to my bed to read while I change diaper and nurse Brady to sleep. (He is in their room right now. When he can learn to be a big boy and stop waking up at night, he can move in with Tsega. But for now, he is with the older ones because they sleep right through his crying. Tsega wouldn't put up with that crap.) Brady down. It's 8:16pm

I walk into my room and see this:

Stories. Bed. Easy Peasy.

I head downstairs 8:45pm. Mess isn't terrible. Start to clean. Make myself dinner.

I settle down for a date with Glee and my breast pump.

Brady wakes and I go help him settle down. I have having to stop mid-pump session.

Come back, 9:30 now. Time for another bout of PT exercises while finishing Glee. Notice right toenails were painted a few weeks back. Never got to the left foot. Now the paint is peeling. I am so hot.

BTW, Glee was totally emotional. 

It's 10:48pm. I remember there is a narsty diaper upstairs that warrants cleaning asap.

My lover comes home.

I stay up, finish pumping, read a few blogs, get these pics in order, do the dishes, and now it is 1:33am.

Tsega is babbling to himself in bed for who knows what reason. He will tell me if he needs me. I am just gonna let him sing.