I’m still looking around for my trophy, awarded for learning how to do Kira’s hair. It must be in the mail. Her kinky coarse hair is about eight inches long now all stretched out. We’ve never cut it. It takes forty-five turns to braid a strand. I’m thankful one hair-do lasts four weeks. I’m dismayed to spend five hours or more getting the old do out and the new do in.
Imagine my horror to get one day notice for her picture day at school! It was an emergency reaction around here. It’s too bad there’s nothing to eat in the house and costco is phoning to tell me they haven’t seen me in a few days. Kira’s hair needs work for her photos. I arrived home from the barn, late, fearful of Hannah’s stern look because Jack was supposed to be in school. She was removing Kira’s braids. It took her three hours. She saw the notice for picture day first. She knew we had an emergency on our hands. I waited in the garage organizing all the merchandise for Kirabo Seeds while they had their beauty session. I’ll distribute to our shops this week and I need to have everything in good order. When they finished the removal Kira ran into the garage wearing footie pajamas and all her hair out in it’s full afro glory. She ran around like thing 1 from the cat in the hat. I mentioned this to Hannah and we howled in laughter because that’s exactly what she looks like with her hair undone.
I had no time to spare to get that stretched out hair back into some braids. Within an hour her hair can coil back into a mat of messy curls that will take triple time for me to comb out. I washed it, conditioned it and sat down with the combs. I use every product they make to detangle her hair for each braid. I start with a comb as wide as Michael Strahan’s front teeth, and graduate a few combs down to something that would be difficult to pull through my hair.
She handles this process like a real princess. She has a snack, a drink, and as many movies as she would like to watch in a row. Occasionally she yells at me, “ow, mom, you hurt me!” She says it as if she’s one step away from calling the police. I remind her that princess’ have to suffer sometimes to be beautiful. She replies, “I don’t want to be a princess today.” Then I tell her we could shave it all off like they do to the girls in Uganda. She gets quiet with that thought.
The last do was accomplished just in time to take her to Uganda. It would be the most disgraceful thing for me to travel there without her hair looking its best. Everyone smiles in approval when they see it done up well. But if it’s an old do they frown and give me unsolicited advice. When I pack for a trip I also budget a time block in the schedule for her hair service…uh, me, I’m the provider. Last time I engaged dad. He is the one who sat with her for a movie and meticulously pulled out twenty-four gnarly nearly dread locked braids. He washed her poof and conditioned it so I could sit for the two hours and braid it. At the airport while we waited for the plane I inserted the clicky colorful beads. That’s the part she likes the most. She loves to toss her braids around and hear all the beads collide.
Last night while I braided she kept making excuses to “have to get up for something”. I knew she couldn’t wait to look at herself in the mirror so I told her she had to wait until it was all finished before she could look. She loved the new do, yellow beads and sixteen braids. She had five minutes in the mirror before I shooed her off to bed. Really, don’t you agree mama’s who go through that for hair ought to get a trophy? And I will close by mentioning I am a fish out of water here. I don’t have a history of females working on this kinda hair to guide me for what’s next. I’m at the mercy of my own problem solving and advice from strangers. I’m going to remind everyone around here of this on Mother’s Day.