Mekonen's Hair-Do!!

Wow. I keep resolving to write more on the blog, since I'm far off my usual posting schedule. But none the less, when some down time comes, I'm too tired to type out any thoughts! So thanks to all of you still reading even though my posting has been minimal this month!

I have had numerous people over the past several months ask me about Mekonen's hair and how I do it. Since I found myself writing the same things over and over, I figured a blog post was in order instead!
Hair-type is the biggest contributor to the kind of hair-styles you can do on your little one. Just because someone has black hair doesn't mean it can turn into any black hairstyle. Black people have just as many varying textures and kinds of hair as white people. I say all that because even if you follow certain black hair care routines you may get a different result than you were anticipating. This is where lots of reading, asking questions, and pure trial and error come into play before you find the right combo of products and hair-styles for your little one. We live in an all-black neighborhood and I have gleaned some great tips from some of my neighbors. Here's what I've learned over the last few years and through trial and error!

Texture/tightness of curl- Most of my black friends have very thick hair, tiny, tight spiral curls, and a more coarse texture. This kind of hair works best (they say) with more oil based products. I have tried several different black hair care products of that nature on Mekonen and they do not work at all. Mekonen's hair is way more soft than it is coarse and his curls are more loose. Because of this, his hair would not absorb the oil enough and it would almost drip off, or it would leave oil marks wherever he rested his head. Then I switched to a more lotion based oil product and that still wasn't working well.

I tried many products in the black hair care section, and some that were pretty expensive. After lots of trial and error, I found that an over the counter spray in detangler and Garnier Fructis Leave-in-Conditioner works great for Mekonen.

It is usually the case that most kids shouldn't have their hair washed more than once a week. When Mekonen doesn't wear his hair in twists, I need to wash it every two days to keep it fresh and not too frizzy. (I know, seems to be the opposite, but we've found that works best). But, if Mekonen wears his hair in twists, I wash it and twist it once every 1.5 to 2 weeks (sometimes more or less depending on how well he keeps his sleep cap on).

Okay, so now, on the the "how-to" of twists. This style, and the way I do it, can be done on all black hair textures and types, the "look" just might end up different depending on their hair. A black friend of mine came over and basically gave me the lo down.

1. Wash and pat their hair  "dry". Some say to comb it out with a wide toothed comb in the tub or after using detangler, but I've stopped that battle. It hurts his head too much and doesn't seems to make a difference, so why torture him? I do make sure that I scrub his scalp really well with my fingers when I wash it to prevent product build up though. Never rub their hair with the towel, or wrap it up in a towel. Gently squeeze it out, or pat dry.

2. Arm yourself with a good kid movie, a sippy cup, and some snacks. Our process with Mekonen's hair is about an hour long, and it holds for about 2 weeks.
3. Style as soon as possible If it starts drying out too much before you begin using the product and twisting it can create frizz.

4. Soak, I mean soak, their hair with the spray detangler. (The cheapest store brand kind has worked just fine for us).

This is where some things may vary depending on your child's hair texture and the prodcut you are using. This is just what I do.
5. Use a very generous amount of Garnier Fructis Leave-in-Conditioner. I fill almost my entire palm and massage it through his hair. Work the conditioner through for a good 3-5 minutes. Don't skimp on the time. Usually when his hair turns out frizzier than I want, I find it's because I didn't massage the conditioner in enough. Think of coating every single strand.

6. Twisting.
The more temporary style (1-2 weeks)
Start from the bottom and underneath. Take individual sections (however big or small you want) and begin twisting them. If you are using a lock cream you will want to put the lock cream on each twist before twisting. I haven't used lock cream yet and just use the same Garnier conditioner for the twisting, but I don't put more on every single twist. Just as needed. Make sure you twist the hair underneath first and work towards the top layer. Otherwise, you won't get every strand of hair in the twist and it will create a frizzy look.

The more "permanent" style
I have yet to twist in the more permanent way because I'm afraid I won't be able to get it out. The more "permanent"twist style can dread the hair and the only way to get a dread out is to cut it. However, my friends say that you can twist it in this permanent way and just take it out at 2 weeks like the other way, and it'll be fine. With this style of twisting (you mostly use the lock cream for this, although I don't see why you can't use the conditioner), you are creating a twist inside a twist. Again, start from the bottom and underneath, and work your way to the top. Take the section you are wanting to twist and divide it into 2 sections. Twist those 2 sections around each other all the way down. Then take the twist as one section and twist that.
(I have super bad lighting photography skills. So ignore that! )

7. Maintaining the style. The biggest reason this style is successful on Mekonen is because of the sleep cap. If Mekonen doesn't wear a sleep cap, the style will only look good for about 2 days. We use the adult size caps because of how much hair Mekonen has. The child size ones are too small to fit over his hair and cover his whole head. We have him wear a silk cap every nap and bedtime, and also put it under his snow hat. He does well keeping it on most of the time and he looks so darn cute! When you take the cap off the hair will be smashed down, just carefully and lightly "fluff" the twists out. Daily touch-ups can include twisting front pieces that might have frizzed by twisting them again with conditioner or whatever product you are using. If I have a hair serum, I often put a good amount of that in my hand and lightly finger it through his hair.

 The smashed down after sleep cap look. Haha. Just fluff it out and it's fine! 
8. Most black people I've talked to say not to permanently dread or lock your child's hair because it's unhealthy. They say only keep hairstyles for about 2 weeks, then take it down. If you are doing a tight hairstyle (like braids and such with a girl) that you should alternate between a tight style for 2 weeks and then a "free" style like leaving it big and curly with a headband or something for the next 2 weeks to let the hair "breathe" and the scalp recover.


Merry Belated Christmas!

Wow. What a busy start to the New Year. I have been trying to muster up the energy for a couple weeks now to catch up our the blog and I just couldn't! We hit the ground running upon our return trip from PA and I am still feeling a bit overwhelmed. Both kids were really sick for a good ten days, and then Jon got sick. All of that on top of working and other scheduled activities, I am just too tired to do anything extra. I am still not as organized and de-cluttered as I like to be after Christmas, which is driving me insane. And so, without further ado, here's a recap of Christmas!

This year we spent Christmas Day in Indiana with Jon's family, which meant we got to spend Christmas morning at our own house with just our little family of four. This was my favorite part! :) Here's Jon reading the Christmas story early morning out of Mekonen's Bible.
The kiddos with their stockings and gifts! Mekonen was loving the Thomas wrapping paper. Evie spent most of the time throwing around the wrapping paper and trying to figure out what all the commotion was. 
Mekonen and one of his favorite gifts: a stuffed Corduroy bear from the Corduroy stories. He loves those books right now. When he opened up Corduroy he took him out and was staring at him with amazement and said, "You will be my buddy!" and gave him a big hug. We got Evie her first rag doll with her name engraved on the dress. 
 After breakfast and gifts at our house we headed up to Jon's parents late Christmas morning. 
Evie got her first tea set. :) 
 Evie looks a lot like my baby pictures here. 
 Mekonen got a Thomas scooter from Uncle Jeremy. He loooves it. 
Happy Birthday Daddy!!! Mekonen always thinks the cake and presents are for his birthday. This year he understood that Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus' birthday. So, with Daddy and Jesus' birthday the same day, and Mekonen's also 3 days later, he was wildly confused. haha. 
About 6am the day after Christmas we piled into the car and drove 12 hours to PA to spend Christmas with my family. Crazy, but so fun. We walked into my parents house, changed our clothes, and Christmas began! :) 

 Castro Family Christmas Chaos. The way it should be. :) 
 We had such a full week and such a great time with Grandma, Grandpa, aunts, uncles, and lots of cousins. Mekonen was passed out every night from exhaustion but would wake up bright and early asking if Manny and Aderyn were awake yet. 
My brother wasn't able to come Christmas day so he came a few days after. So good to see his bright smiling face. Love. 

We had a wonderful Christmas celebrating Jesus and the hope we have that started in a manger. Oh how different our lives would be without it. 


9 Months Old

Mekonen turned 3 years old on December 28th, and this cutie cutes turned 9 months old the same day!

At 9 months old you are:
  • You are mimicking noises and of course we think it's the cutest thing. You love to smack your tongue and will laugh in response to someone laughing at you. It's fun to see you developing into a little person. hehe. 
  • You started walking around with a toy walker on Christmas day and less than a week later were cruising around Grandma's furniture. It really is a funny sight to see because you are so tiny. (sorry for the stellar camera skills). 
  • You are finally eating some finger food- just puffs! You still gag and gag on Cheerios, but you eat puffs a little better, gagging here and there, but you love them!
  • You still want nothing to do with a sippy cup and if we give one to you, you just end up chewing on it. 
  • You still like to wake up in the middle of the night and cry a bit, but at least not every single night now! What happened to 0-6 months when you slept through the night without a peep? 
  • You are expressing your little temper these days and yell very loudly when something doesn't go your way. uh-oh! 
  • You are in love with your blankie. You find it so soothing to put it right up to your mouth and make these little clicking noises with your tongue. When you sleep, you like it lightly touching your lips. Thankfully you don't suck on it though. Eww gross. 

  • Your favorite food is sweet potatoes, and a mix of pears, carrots and squash. Your favorite fruit is apples and blueblerries mixed. You are a plain girl when it comes to food. So far you are not a fan of mixed stuff (besides the pears, carrots, and squash), and most recipes with meat in the them make you mad. haha. 
  • You are starting the stranger anxiety stage and prefer your Mommy to most people. When a stranger talks to you, you turn your head into my shoulder like you are being shy. When people are in the room, and then they leave, you often cry. You are just like your Mama...you love having lots of people around.
  • And the best yet? Your first word is "mama" and yes, you actually do say it in reference to me. *love*