Working with Rosie's hair is enjoyable to me on many levels. I love the tactilily of it, touching and stroking hair is nice. Then there is the added bonus of nice smelling oils and potions that make my hands almost as soft as her lovely curls.
The whole craft of it is absorbing to me - what styles look good on her, are functional for busy 4 year olds who like to rough-house and hug white fuzzy dogs, what feels good to her and can I get my working time to match her sitting time? There are all the tips, techniques, tools and gurus of any craft which means hours of happy information gathering and expirementation on my part.
And finally, there is the fun of hanging out with her for a chunk of time. Making hair time enjoyable is an art unto itself, which I in no way profess to have mastered. We have used the computer and DVDs, but I really want our time to have more emotional resonance to it. I want Rosie to remember shared moments, not just media enduced comas. So I try weaned both kids off the movie. We've added in time for puzzles, games and (gasp) Polly Pockets. This allows us to talk, tell stories and generally be hilarious while I have my fingers in Rosie hair and she holds her body something like still.
I've seen lovely pictures of African American women and girls sitting around the kitchen together working on each other's hair. Now when the girls from the kitchen pictures talk, it turns out those warm fuzzy pictures sometimes belied hot words and even hotter chemicals. I've also seen fascinating old pictures of tribal men in Africa braiding for each other. I like to think our kitchen table is part of the evolution of those stories.
Since before Rosie joined our family, I've collected a library of resources on working with African American hair, mostly children's. Books like It's All Good Hair, Kids Talk Hair and Kinki Creations started me out with a basic understanding of how to care for Rosie's hair as well as how to avoid some common issues. My skills, though, have noticibly grown since I joined a Yahoo! Group created by adoptive moms about African hair and skin care. As usual, personal instructions and feedback work great wonders. One of the moms from the group has even started creating YouTube videos showing her techniques. Hearing her narriate while watching her do has emboldened Rosie and I to take on some more intricate styles.
Here is what we did this past year. Let me know what you think - I'm looking for inspiration to add to the braiding, twisting, free and puff fun as we move through 2008!
(Again, with the whining about formatting in Blogger - I could NOT figure out how to get all the pictures posted. So I hope you enjoy the collages Picassa created to help me share the Beauty with you!)