Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Drifting Off To My Happy Place

'Take me to my happy place' was the recurring theme throughout our 'experience' at the salon yesterday.  Usually going to the salon is relaxing.   I personally get my hair done in my neighbor's home salon and always have a very enjoyable time chatting and getting caught up.  Well, this wasn't for me and it was a new place I thought we could try to get Zoe's hair braided for vacation.  Up until now, I have washed and styled my daughter's hair.  I'm no expert.  Even with Blaire's hair I never learned to braid any fancy style.  Well, Zoe's hair is different.  I love reading about other friends on Facebook who are going through the same thing with their adopted children.  Success stories and shameless photos of the finished product is always encouraging.  However, the beautiful end result comes with sweat and tears.  I thought if I went to a salon and had someone who had experience with braiding African American hair we could be done with little pain.  Zoe cries at the mention of getting her hair done.  If I tell her it's bath time she always asks, 'and hair?' She's relieved when I reply that it's just a bath, no hair.  Yesterday, I had to take her braids out first before we got in the car and drove 25 mins away.  I could tell she didn't like this unknown destination and kept telling me she's scared.  (a break your heart moment right?) The young lady, ready to conquer the task, has been doing her siblings' hair since she was 12.  She wasn't overly talkative but with mom standing in front of Zoe, holding an iPad and feeding her snacks, we tried to bear through it.  The lady at the front desk interrupted us after 15 mins and told me if she continues to cry we will have to leave.  Stress factor #1.  This young girl started out doing the design I wanted (that was really simple) but ended up with 15 braids - and that was just the top part of her head!  Stress factor #2!  Doesn't she realize taking these braids out is just as stressful?  I was wishing to melt away to my happy place.  Someplace warm, of course.  A place where I have no responsibilities and certainly not a place where people are interrupting my peace.  Back to the salon, another lady comes over to try and console Zoe by telling her she needs to be a big girl and not cry.  More women kept trying to offer a better snack - like that's the issue. Yes, it distracted her for a second but only made me sweat more.  I wanted to walk out.   Have you ever been at the grocery store with young kids and they're crying and people walk by and offer their advice on why they are crying?  'Oh, it must be nap time'.  No, they are just having a temper tantrum because I told them no candy!  Another lady in the salon, told me she is stressing out!  Zoe is stressing out! (understatement)  Do you want to see stressing out?  How about the time when I first put Zoe in the bath.  She probably got washed down in a bucket with cold water outside of the orphanage.  No bathtubs there.  How about the time I got her to sit in the tub.  That was stressful.  When I watched a nanny braid her hair in the orphanage and even when we first got her home and we offered up TV and every piece of candy we had.  Nope!  Zoe's hair is thick and curly.  It's beautiful and I love it and I am learning with every hair wash and new style we try to ease up on the tangles.  I keep trying new products because there has to be a miracle cream and conditioner.  Zoe has come such a long way!  We celebrate one year on April 12.  Her Gotcha Day!  My next blog will list all the new challenges she has overcome and experiences this 4 year old has achieved in one short year.  But this hair thing is definitely a lifelong one.  I know she will grow up to appreciate her hair and what we go through (please God).
Three hours and 23 braids later we have the best hair style yet.  But I won't be rushing back.  I learned from this girl and bought a few tools to help me in the future.  This will have to continue to be a private experience so Zoe feels comfortable, so people don't see me sweat and to keep the cost down.  Everyone comments on how cute her fro looks when it's just full and she has a great bow or headband in.  And then every African American tells me, don't do it!  It dries out so quickly and more traumatic to brush out the next day.  Thankfully these hair styles last between 2-3 weeks so we all get a break.  Applaud moms with young children who spend a couple of hours on their girl's hair.   Drifting off to my happy place is fine but this is reality.  I'm not skilled but I try and trying to eliminate the tears - mostly mine.