Grace has had braids for about two months now. I have to tell you...I love them. I love how easy it is to "do" her hair. I love how they look on her. I love them in pig tails. I especially love how much SHE loves her braids.
Her first braids were done by a friend that I had come to our house. You can read the details here. Grace did a great job sitting for her 4 1/2 hour braiding session. Since that first attempt, Grace has decided it is not that much fun to sit still and have your head pulled at (even if you get to watch 4 hours of television).
After about six weeks with the same braids (and one touch up session with my braider friend), I decided it was time to revisit Grace's natural, curly hair. The braids were starting to come apart, her natural hair was sticking out of the braids, and we had been on vacation and had done a lot of swimming...the braids had run their course.
Here is Grace's response to having her extensions cut off...
I started by trimming the long braids before I took them out. I wanted to see how her hair would look with shorter braids. I really liked the shorter braids and wanted Grace to look in a mirror and check them out...she REFUSED. She was so sad that her "long hair" was gone. She was VERY upset. I honestly can not remember her being as upset about anything...ever....it was like I was cutting off her fingers, not her fake hair/braids. She was horrified by the idea of having short hair again.
It took a long time to take out all of the extensions and while I was working on it, Grace decided to draw a picture (between sobbing). She drew a picture of a cute little stick figure girl with a big smile on her face. The little stick figure also had long hair. Grace said "this is a picture of me when I was happy...I had long hair..." Oh the drama...
We finally removed all of the braids and it was so fun to see how much her natural hair had grown. It seemed to be at least an inch longer! Everyone in the family was excited to see her sweet curls again. We couldn't keep our hands off her little head.
Grace finally agreed to look in the mirror and decided that her "fro" did look pretty cute. She picked out a rainbow headband and was happy to strut her stuff...for about two days...then, she fell into her hair slump again and begged for long hair!
So I found myself at it again. I headed back to Sally Beauty Supply to get the necessary materials to give Grace the "long hair" she so desired. I admit that I was also excited to have the extensions back. They had really grown on me. She looked so cute, and with our summer activities and being outside, swimming, etc. the braids just work so well.
After watching a pro do Grace's hair the first time (and doing some touch up braids a second time), I decided that I would try to tackle the extensions myself. By doing it on my own, Grace would not have to sit for the entire 4 hours at once. I broke up the hair sessions so that I spent about an hour doing parts, gave her a break, and then got back at it for another hour or so of parts. A few hours later, I braided about half of her head. I saved half of the braids for the next day. Grace loved having the freedom to take breaks. It worked really well and I believe that my braids look just about as good as the ones done by the expert. I decided to make the new extensions a little shorter. They seem to be a more natural length for a four year old. Grace can still whip them around and I can still get them into pig tails.
I can't begin to tell you how much easier it is to maintain her hair this way. In the morning, I spray her head with Olive Miracle Braid Spray. That's it! At night, I use jojoba oil (I buy it at Trader Joe's- great deal) on her scalp and have her sleep in a satin sleep cap (a long version that fits around all the braids without squishing them). The hair routine could not be any easier. I have even found that redoing a couple of the braids on the crown of her head from time to time, freshens up the style and it will last even longer.
Our goal is to have the braids/extensions in until school starts. Grace with start preschool with her natural hair. I think we will all be happy to see her sweet curls again, but, in the meantime we are enjoying her cute little self with her cute little braids!