Baby Girl's First Box Braids
|Only a few days after braiding the ends of her hair |
were sticking out of the braids due to her curl pattern.
If you have been following the blog you know I'm not a supporter of hair extensions on small children. So when my 11 year old daughter wanted to get box braids I really had to think about my answer. She's growing up fast and is in the midst of puberty so experimenting with her look is part of where she is in life. Finally I decided she was ready. Not only for the hours of braiding and possible discomfort (and mature enough to let the braider know if she was in pain or needed a break), but also for the comments this change in look would bring. My daughter is beautiful and has heard this all her life. My worry was that she would get the same comments many of us have when changing our hair into a style that more resembles European standards of beauty. Comments like "You are say much prettier with your hair like that" or "You should always keep your hair that way". This can lead to self doubt and self criticism when the braids come out. But I'm aware, and I'm there every step of the way.
So for about 5,5 hours she sat through her first braiding experience at Jabula Salon, Cape Town. Not only her first braiding experience but her first African hair salon experience. It was almost like a rite of passage. I love that she got to experience this; the chatter, the constant movement of clients and stylists, the weaves, cornrows, relaxer and much more.
Of course my daughter has very loose curls so the braids won't last more than two or three weeks. But for me as her mom it was not the point of her hair being "tucked away" so I don't have to deal with it. For me it was my daughter choosing a new hair style, showing her stylist what she wanted (she googled until she found the image she liked) and getting it done, that was the point. I want her to feel she can choose for herself about her body, about her hair. That is a part of growing up. And that she feels welcome and comfortable in an African hair salon whenever she chooses to go there. One of my biggest challenges in life is teaching my daughter self love, to be assertive and to feel welcome in whichever space she wants to be in.