So at the end of G's Story Chapter 1, G has been home a year or so...year and a half. I have done tons of puffs in every kind of arrangement, lots of box braids, twists, piggyback braids, and some veil styles. I never really did master cornrows. I could do them but they seemed to give my hand a cramp. I wish I had given it more of a solid try! Here were my first actual cornrows. They were really not bad-looking, objectively speaking.
I think the hard part for me with her hair was that it was still pretty short in the back. Because I cornrow like Katie does, by gripping the hair with the pinky and ring fingers as I go, the short hair was hard to keep a hold of. If I could have cornrowed with my fingertips, like I see many people do, it might have been easier.
I also have always liked G with some height at the back of her head, which is why I love puffs or styles like what I did with the cornrows...leaving it free in the back. Same with this veil style, below. Of course leaving the hair free brings its own challenges too! You have to stay on top of detangling it. And at this age, the "roll around on the floor, play with the dog, get in the sandbox and weeds and twigs" age, free hair seemed difficult. As a single mom, I always seemed to be in a hurry, so having her sit through detangling and combing every day never seemed to work out. And I did not want to be one of those moms who wouldn't let her just be a rough and tumble kid all because of her hairstyle.
Looking back, I think what I lacked in actual hairstyle ability, I tried to make up for in beads, snaps, and yarn falls LOL. I loved trying out new products I bought to sell on Snapaholics on G first. I was lucky in that she was at an age and is of a personality that LOVED to have bright colors, lots of beads, the rainbow look, etc. Pretty much anything i wanted to try, she was game for.
So we continued in our blingy bliss until I started seriously thinking about locking her hair, in the spring of 2008. I loved the way long small locs looked, and I thought she'd love being able to have her hair long and swingy. I mean, how gorgeous is this?!?!
Almost unreal, isn't it??
The other big thing for me is that I liked the idea that you could tighten locs whenever you like; for an hour a night, skip some nights, do two hours, do a half hour, whatever. With unlocked hair, for me, once I committed to taking a style down, I had to put it back up in some kind of style right away. This was a big time commitment, and one other reason why I did so many puffs!
The final, and most important, reason that I wanted locs for her is that I figured by the time she was maybe 10 or 12, she would have such long, lovely hair that she would NEVER want to chop them off, start over, and get a relaxer! So I guess I'm hoping it's a bit of "natural hair insurance."
I knew that starting locs with twists would not work for us, since she swam a LOT, and neither of us wanted her to wear a cap. So braidlocs it was, or, as I have come to call them, Mommylocs!!! New braidlocs will not unravel....once they are tightened with a latch hook, they will stay, as long as the ends are either secured or tightly twirled.
Here we are in June...I had already started microbraiding.
I took my sweet time putting the microbraids in. I started at the nape of her neck and went up, then made some bangs. Whatever hair was not locked I just kept in two puffs. As we got closer to the 4th of July (loc-birthday!) the puffs got smaller and smaller.
I ended up putting snaps on most of the loc ends. I think I would have done them all but I ran out of the stars! I always loved hearing her coming a mile away. Tick, Tack, Clicky Clacky!! Although of course for our very first day of a full head of locs, we had to be holiday-appropriate...
As you can see I followed a straight grid pattern, begun with a regular down-the-middle part from forehead to nape. This is crucial if you plan to put in ponytails with the locs and need a straight middle part. For girls I highly recommend a grid pattern. For boys it's less important.
For the ends, you just need to braid down as far as you can, then twirl twirl twirl the ends to make a spiral. You can also roll it between your fingers (I call it boogerrolling). Whatever will produce a nice spiral end. like this:
I wish I had taken the time to count all of them, but as of now I still never have! When I look at all the bangs she has in that picture from June, I cringe, because we have lost some bangs over time. Microbraids, especially with thinner hair, are VERY fragile. Kids can be rough (so can cats) and I feel like we have a whole different set of bangs than we started with! I am also amazed to see the growth the locs have had over 2 years. Her ponytails now must be 4 inches longer than that!
To end Chapter 2, I will say this about locs....remember that locs are not really LOCS until they've...locked! So if you are thinking about it, just remember that for a long while they will just be a set of box braids or microbraids (or twists) that you are free to take out anytime if you decide you don't want to loc. Different textures of hair will loc differently. Some may take a long time and some will loc faster. Even if they do start to loc up a little bit, it would not be a huge deal to remove them with the help of lots of conditioner and a rattail comb or any other sharp-tipped object.
What do you Moms think of locs, do your kids have them? Do they like them? Please comment. Would you consider them, or no? Reasons? Love to hear from you all!
So stay tuned for Chapter 3....Life with Locs!