Monthly Archives: October 2008

To loc or not to loc…

that is the question. After much wavering over the past month or so, I think I am going to loc Micheline’s hair. I’m not wild about really big locs, and absolutely hate natural ones where the hair is allowed to just mat up…especially on white people with straight hair. Yeah, I know. I’ve read that anyone can lock their hair, but heelllloooo…those with nice hair locs have curly hair. Or did someone not explain that to those who are loc wannabes? If you have to put big hunks of wax in your hair and have it matted and look like my cockapoo’s fur when she really needed a trim, then perhaps locs were not meant for you.

I love doing Micheline’s hair, but I fear damage from repeated braid styles and cornrows. I’ve read to let her hair “rest”, but her hair is impossible when left free, and I refuse to damage it with relaxers. I want her to feel that her hair is beautiful, but she often tells me she wishes she had hair that hung down like her friends have. With locs she can have that as it is free to grow without breakage that comes with manipulating her hair so often for hairstyles.

After seeing tiny locs started with microbraids, and seeing Sisterlocks ( gorgeous but waaay out of my price range) I decided to go the microbraid route. I actually love the look of tiny locs. We put microbraids in this past weekend and she has about 130 of them. I had hoped for more, but even though she has very coarse and kinky hair, she doesn’t have alot of it. If I made the braids any smaller, I feared that she would lose locs as they grew out and the weight of the hair pulled on the bases.

I’m still not 100% sure I want to keep them and let them loc. One of the main reasons I wanted to loc it was so she wouldn’t have to sit for hours on end every two weeks as we do a new hairstyle. Her hair is not the kind that holds a style for 4-6 weeks like some others can. Instead, it can look beautiful for the first two or three days after a new style and then her braids or twists start looking incredibly fuzzy. A style that is only a week old might look like she has had it in for over a month.

The other reason I am thinking of locking her hair is so that she can be more “wash and wear” which has always been her desire. We won’t have to worry about twists shrinking up when they get wet, and with very small locs she will be free to wear it down, pulled up in ponytails when it is long enough, curled, and even cornrowed if we so choose.

My big hesitation is that I like very cultivated looking locs. If her hair fuzzes out in a cornrowed style after only a few days, will her locs become too messy looking? I know they go through phases as they start to loc and that you have to be patient during some of those phases, but I don’t want to dress her up for church and have her head look like she just crawled out of bed. For those who have tiny locs, is it way too time consuming to be weaving in the loose fuzzies?

My biggest fear, however, is that if she decides later that she doesn’t want them, it pretty much requires cutting them off and giving her a TWA, otherwise known as a teeny weenie afro. It has taken us two years to get the length she currently has after she cut her own hair and a salon shaved the rest off. I feel like I’ve fought hard for the hair growth that she currently has and have pampered it much.

Some websites say that you can actually undo locked hair, but that you will lose quite a bit in the process. From what I’ve seen, that is only true if you twist it to tighten the locs, rather than use a tool that weaves the new growth through the loc. The latter is what I plan to do, so I think once we commit, we are in it for the long haul.

I would love any input and advice from those with locked hair to help us decide. She is totally fine with it so far, but seven year olds can change their mind quickly. Here are some pictures of her hair as we were putting it in microbraids. You can see even after putting fresh parts in it, that her new growth is so tightly curled that she doesn’t have the clean looking parts that those with a looser curl have. On the bright side, however, she has such a tight curl that I think it will loc fairly easily.

first quarter of her head is finished

first quarter of her head is finished

half of her head is done

half of her head is done

this is not the best angle to see her hair, but here is the finished product from the front

this is not the best angle to see her hair, but here is the finished product from the front

view from the back

view from the back



Filed under Hair care, locs

Where Oh Where…

has my sanity gone? Micheline and I are headed out to a pumpkin farm tomorrow with her first grade class and she is supposed to wear her class shirt. It’s black with yellow embroidery above the left pocket that has her name and the words “****’s (her teacher’s name) Busy Bees.” I told her to go get it out of her drawer because surely it was clean since she hasn’t worn it for 3 weeks and I do loads of laundry each and every day. Guess what? No shirt.

This was not a good day to lose a shirt because my dryer broke last week and I am backed up on laundry. I have some baskets of clothes that need washing and some that need to be hung out on the line to dry. We bought another dryer today off of Craigslist, but the connection for the gas doesn’t match up, so no dryer again tonight.

Jeff and I first looked all throughout her room; no dice. Looked in dirty laundry baskets. No shirt. Looked in just washed baskets of clean laundry. Nada. Started looking in the odd places such as behind the couch, under bunk beds, behind the dryer. Hey, who knows where it might have fallen! Still no shirt. We then started getting desperate and after a full search of our entire house, including through the boys’ drawers and closets and even our closet in case I might have put it there for safekeeping, we still came up empty handed. He even looked under the seats in the car and in the trunk since they just went camping two weekends ago.

The thing that has me really puzzled is she also has a shirt from kindergarten that’s similar. Royal blue with her name embroidered and “*******’s Dynamos.” It’s missing as well. Did she dress up dolls in them and then hide the dolls somewhere? Give the dolls to Goodwill? Did a thief come into our house who was only interested in pilfering school class shirts? Either the shirt is gone, gone, gone, or my sanity is. Be quiet…I don’t want to know where your bets lie.

Leave a comment

Filed under Parenting

Takin’ a break

Since my kids are on fall break, we decided to take a rest from the daily grind of life today and take the kids to a cave nearby. Unlike my older children who still remind me more than 10 years later how much they hated this trip, the younger kids loved it. Understand that I told the older ones that if they got their chores done, they would earn a surprise. They interpreted this to mean someplace like a mini-golf place nearby that has go-karts and an arcade. A tour of a musty smelling cave with a guide was truly not on their agenda.
Factor in a brother who said, “Are you talking about the Mexican Free-tail bat?”to the guide when the guide asked if there were any questions after his little speech on bats and bat guano, and the older two girls were mortified. First, their parents had to drag them off to a stupid cave, and then their brother embarrassed them.

The kids today had a good time in the cave. I, on the other hand was a tad bit stressed. See these holes?

The cave was full of them. I had visions of Ben’s cochlear implants getting knocked off and dropping down, never to be seen again. One has an otoclip where it clips to his glasses.I have decided the other one definitely needs one as well.

On the way home, we stopped and let the kids climb all over A mountain which is painted red white and blue to honor our troops. They loved it. Here’s a few shots of our day.

And last but not least, a few of my children showing their true colors, being rather disgusting. I can deal with it.They might argue and fight at times, but they truly love each other, and I think this picture shows it well by how relaxed they are with each other and how easily they can have a good time together. Others have asked Alyssa which siblings are her “real” siblings. Of course they mean biological siblings, but I think you can see here, there isn’t a fake one in the bunch!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Words of Wisdom

Tonight, Micheline said something very cute, but unknowingly very profound at the same time. With her ADD, she has a hard time turning off her mind at night and struggles to fall asleep. She was asking for a Melatonin, but I am trying to wean her off of it. She already takes Guanfacine, which takes the edge off of her restlessness, and with both that and the Melatonin, she seems to be too tired during the day.

As I handed her dose of Guanfacine, she said,
“I need an atonement.”
“What??” I replied, not sure that I heard her correctly.
“I said, I need an atonement.” She then tried to self-correct to “Melatonement.”

As I inwardly smiled and tucked her into bed, I thought of how true her words were. We all do need Christ’s atonement in our lives. The fact that He died for my sins is the greatest gift that I have, and the knowledge that I have that He lives today brings joy and peace to my heart. Without my Savior and His atonement, there is no hope. With it, the possibilities are endless. Yes, my dear daughter, you do need an atonement, but it doesn’t come in pill form. You will have to learn to recognize when His spirit speaks to your heart, whether it is in the beauty of a sunset, 10 tiny toes on a newborn babe, when we read scriptures as a family, or when you turn to Him in prayer. He is there for you and always will be, but it will be your job to learn to recognize that. It is my job to teach you how.

Photo Credit Artwork by Simon Dewey

Leave a comment

Filed under Parenting, Religion

Hearing in Stereo?

Not quite yet. Ben’s implant was activated four weeks ago, but the amount he is currently hearing out of the left side is minimal. I knew it would take awhile. After all, it took six months the first time around for him to recognize the sound of a phone ringing.

He does love wearing his new implant, which is a huge plus, but they were only able to activate 9 of the 22 electrodes due to the others causing facial nerve stimulation. That was a huge disappointment, since his right ear has 17 of the 22 electrodes turned on and I had hoped for a similar response.

A friend, in offering some hope, reminded me that Ben’s doctor turns implants on very quickly–within one week after surgery–while most surgeons still wait at least 4 weeks for all of the swelling to go down and the site to heal fully. She likened Ben’s activation to a premature baby, and just as you don’t really judge a preemie by their actual birthdate, but rather by when they should have been born, she suggested that I look at Ben’s activation as premature. The audiologist did say that we might be able to turn on a few more electrodes when more of the swelling has gone down, which can take 4-6 weeks to fully resolve. A rep from Cochlear Corporation will be here next month and said she also had some ideas to tweak his maps so that hopefully we can turn on more electrodes without stimulation to the facial nerve.

We go on Tuesday for another mapping and then his first trip hopefully into the sound booth to see what he is actually hearing out of that ear. Judging from how he is doing with that ear isolated during speech therapy, it isn’t much so far. We are back to square one of trying to distinguish between two simple Ling sounds, or noticing environmental sounds. I have a listening program that we did with him when he was 5 years old that has him distinguish sounds in a small, closed set, such as pictures of a dog, a cat and an airplane. We will start working on sounds such as those that he is already familiar with and see how he progresses. At least this time around, he already knows what those animals/objects sound like, whereas when he was 5 years old he had no clue.

Meanwhile, here are some pictures from his surgery that I never posted. The hospital was a dive…room was dirty and the nursing care was very poor. Maybe I’m too critical since I used to work as an RN, but a fresh post-op patient at least ought to have a set of towels, a clean gown and a basin in case he gets sick, not to mention a water pitcher and some ice chips. We had nothing, and it took more than an hour for him to get his pain meds when we came to the floor after leaving recovery. He was writhing in pain, face down in a fetal position by the time they gave him some meds. Thankfully by the next morning he was feeling much better and we were able to bust out of there. A bonus was a huge Great Dane therapy dog in the lobby on the way out. Sitting on Mom’s lap, ready to go back to the O.R. He has his Koala from Cochlear Corp, which also has a (fake) cochlear implant.

He was snoozing away, pain free for quite awhile in recovery.

Once we got his meds and he woke up for the evening, he immediately asked for his Gameboy. Priorities, priorities, priorities.

His sister, Lynn, came by at dinner time and brought him a stuffed bear and some balloons. He ate his dinner and then promptly threw it back up. 😦

He was thrilled when a nurse gave him some sherbet ice cream as we waited to be discharged. This was the first time he felt good enough to really want to smile. Once we finally got his meds after he got to his room he only had minimal discomfort, but the meds kept him feeling kind of dopey.

He was all grins when he came upon this horse dog. It was a therapy dog on its way up to visit children.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cochlear Implants

Calming techniques

Having a child with a mood disorder can be exhausting. Add to the mix another child with ADHD and auditory processing issues and I start to feel a bit stressed in the afternoons when dinner needs to be made and homework needs assistance. OK, so I lied. I feel incredibly stressed in the afternoons when everything is comin’ down at the same time. I saw these suggestions for calming techniques and really liked them. My favorites are probably going outside and being near water. There is something about nature and especially the sound of running water that is very soothing to me. Although I already use some of these techniques, I was able to glean some new ideas. Teaching your overstressed children to use some of the techniques is also a great idea.

Like the author, I too am not enamored with the life size “rat” at Chuck E. Cheese with the blaring music and flashing lights. I think every parent who leaves there sane deserves some kind of medal. Maybe they should hand out headphones of soothing music and trickling water sounds to all the parents who venture in. Heck, charge a few bucks for the rental and “the rat restaurant” as our family not so affectionately calls it could make some more dough…besides the dough they already use for their not so tasty pizza. The next time you go there with your jaw clenched and your nerves on edge and they offer to rent you some headphones for soothing auditory input, remember you heard it here first. 🙂

Better yet, a tip from a frugal Mom…bring your own. Other parents will wonder how you are so calm amidst the chaos.

Photo Credit

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized