When I went to Ethiopia to meet and bring Des and Bri home, their heads had been shaved. They were totally bald for a few days before they got some stubbly growth. (I remember thinking that it might be a bit awkward having to explain to Scott why my chest was covered with stubble burns (which was due to the girls snuggling on me all day and night).)
For the first 10 months home, we left their hair loose. And then, due to it's length and my desire to change things up, we decided to start styling it. Because I have carpal and cubital tunnel syndromes in both hands and I had no idea what I was doing, I had a hard time getting anything to resemble a "style."
For a few months, I took the girls to a weekly hair appointment. It was a good opportunity for them to get used to having their hair done without me being the "bad guy." They hated having it done so I would hold them and comfort them and let them watch videos on my phone. And at the end of each session they seemed to like the way their hair looked.
Eventually, after having surgery on one of my hands and arms and getting tired of dragging everyone (sometimes even Jack and Logan) to weekly salon appointments, I started to do the girls' hair myself. I've come along way...and still have a ways to go. I think when I can cornrow, I'll consider myself fairly competent.
And ...after 1 year of hair styling, the girls finally sit for decent lengths of time and almost seem to enjoy getting their hair done. This is huge for us...for quite awhile the girls and I would cry during hair time...it was painful and boring for them and frustrating for me. We've all come a long way. Des' current style took about 6 hours to complete from wash to detangle to style. This was broken up into much smaller increments but is still a huge deal for us considering where we were 1 year ago.
Here is a bit of the girls' hair history in photos:
June 2011, 10 months after having heads shaved
Their 1st style: the front section is parted in the middle and braided close to the scalp.
First teeny tiny short braids
More little braids with different parts
At the salon, two women working on Bri at the same time so it would be faster
Finally Mama starts doing their hair; Des in braids and Bri with some unidentified half style
September 2011, More braids...the only things Mama is semi-comfortable doing
"Uh, Mama...you need work on getting these things to not stick straight up!"
Bri in smaller braids and Des in what became her signature style, puffs
Bri with a braid-out and Des still in puffs (six in total)
December 2011, finally giving twists a chance with lots of colored bands
Bri's bantu knots upfront and loose hair in the back and Des' puffs
Braids again on longer hair but still sticking up every which way
Bri's loose hair, big and beautiful
Almost getting those braids to behave
Des wearing our "just washed and stretching" style, though this is supposed to be a transition from wash to style it often gets left in for weeks
May 2012, Bri in twists with no rubber bands and Des in puffs
Des with approximately 75 twists with colorful snaps and Bri with probably 50 twists with black snaps, the girls call this their "clickity-clack hair" because of the noise it makes with the swing their heads
Looking forward to see what I can do a year from now!