Tiny Punk Rock Girl: Letting our Kids Do What They Want With Their Hair

Hair is a great teaching lab for children to develop their senses about body autonomy- Dr. Laura Kastner

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 You know how some people just radiate who they are unapologetically and unquestionably so hard that it makes you want to follow suit? Grayson is that chick. This is Grayson. She is 3 years old, a true threenager, and she is a budding radical non conformist with a healthy sense of ownership of her own body.

Grayson and her big brother Eli are friends with our 4 year old Selah through preschool, so I have had the pleasure of hanging out with G when she comes over for playdates, and more recently, have had the opportunity to play with her hair.

Grayson has insanely beautiful apricot red naturally curly hair that grows straight out into a cloud of fuzz and ringlets, and it has brought her a lot of attention in her life. Any curly red-haired person can relate. People want to touch it and make a big deal of it. Grayson is quite unconcerned.

A few months back, her brother Eli got a haircut. His long curly locks came off, revealing a more independent, grown up kid. Inspired by the power of his transformation, Grayson decided she wanted her haircut too.

She asked her folks, and they agreed. They asked me if I would trim her hair for her. Of course, I jumped at the chance.

DSCF4280All color photos in this post were taken by my friend Bill Anthony🙂

Grayson came and sat in my hair chair and I brushed her hair out. She smiled and shut her little eyes as I pulled and tugged my way through her hair, acting like a happy cat getting groomed.

I trimmed her ends for her, while she sat still and at full attention. I sensed her satisfaction with the whole experience, a little boost in her self, a little ownership of her choices. It is such a subtly powerful shift that I witness in people when cutting their hair.

I had a feeling that this trim was the beginning of something bigger for her. I knew that she would be back for more. She wanted to see herself in a different way, she wanted a bigger change, she wanted to make the choice, she wanted to feel big like Eli. A trim was not enough.DSCF4301

The next week, she came over and wanted more hair cut off. (Her parents, by the way, are impressively cool about letting her decide what to do with her own hair, which is an important point that totally drives this whole experience.)

So, we shaved her sides. She spent quite a while examining herself with this new look. She liked the look of herself, liked the experience of transformation. She really liked the larger pile of hair on the ground afterward.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 1.43.33 PM

This far into the process of Grayson going full punk rock girl and getting her head shaved, I started thinking about the importance body autonomy for young children.

Body autonomy, as defined by Getting to Calm author and famed clinical psychologist Dr. Laura Kastner,refers to the human right of people to have control over their own bodies. This right grants people self-determination regarding how their body is used or treated, personal boundary inviolability, and choices about who touches one’s body and who doesn’t.

 We, as parents, have a responsibility to make sure that our child’s health is maintained , which includes feeding, cleaning and protecting their bodies from harm. But ideally, we explain our reasoning and respect their need for control as much as possible. Even with food, it is our job is to supply healthy food at appropriate times, but it is the child’s job to decide what and how much to ingest. Because health decisions will be mostly non-negotiable, encouraging your child toexplore his or her unique tastes and whims with hair style is an ideal way tosupport your child’s understanding and rights to body autonomy.’

DSCF4364A week later, Grayson told her parents she wanted her hair all gone. Her dad Asa said this about the request: ‘There was a definite ‘oh shit’ moment for me, when I realized that the only reason we weren’t letting her shave it was because she is a girl’  So, being the cool parents that they are, they shaved her head for her. A beautiful example of supported autonomy between a parent and a child.

Dr. Kastner continues…’ I learned early in my adolescent development training to encourage parents to let kids make their own hair decision. To do so is harmless. It’s respectful of their burgeoning identities. Parents control so much of their children’s lives that they should rejoice in having hair as a safe realm in which they can support body autonomy.

 Encouraging personal exploration in safe ways builds self-knowledge and competence! As parents, we can sometimes have big opinions about “what looks best”. However, if we dig deeply enough, we know that our notions about physical appearance and hairstyles are culturally constructed, influenced by our identities (not respect for our children’s budding ones), and potentially biased by our needs to bend our children toward conformity.’

IMG_2127-3 Grayson is a great example of a child who has a very healthy sense of body autonomy (and a great sense of style). She rocks her shaved head proudly and beautifully, exploring herself in a creative and expressive way and experimenting with non-conformity. And damn it if we don’t need more non-conformist, think outside-the-boxness in this world.

Dr. Kastner sums it up…..’What’s wrong with conforming, you ask? Naturally, teaching your children to obey many social rules is imperative and your job as a parent! We want them to settle squabbles nonviolently, pick up litter and show kindness. However, when itcomes to their bodies, do you want them to learn to subjugate themselves to others’ opinions about their bodies, desires to touch their bodies, or others’ beliefs about crossing personal boundaries? I don’t think so.

Giving children control of their bodies at a young age will empower them to standup for their rights later in life. You can talk to your toddler or young child about hair, knowing that you are communicating deeper meanings. This is your hair and you get to choose how to wear it. You know best about what feels best to you. The great thing about hair is that if you don’t like it, you can change it!’

 Thank you Grayson, for demonstrating this lesson in such a badass little way.

Sick Day, Hair Chalk, and a Pony Doll that only a Child Could Love.

7U6A9285Last night, I barfed my brains out almost literally, while my kids barfed next to me. We apparently had a freakish stomach flu. The next day, I was supposed to co-teach a Social Media for Hairstylists class at VAIN, and had to cancel, which disappointed the shit out of me.

Needless to say, the girls stayed home from school and we found ourselves feeling slightly under the weather and also stir-crazy and bored with the meak menagerie of crafting supplies at home. So, I took them to the BABE CAVE! It was the kids first official studio day with mom.

I had to set some initial ground rules……No bickering, no negativity, breathing through frustration, etc…..The Cave is a sacred creative space, after all. 7U6A9384They agreed, after a bit of backtalk.

When we got their, I pulled out my craft kit, and the girls dove into the hair chalk. I found this artist chalka couple years ago that is made for art but perfect for hair, and it is cheap and easy to find. The kids are obsessed with it.

7U6A92717U6A9379Fully chalked, the girls moved on to other projects. Marley made Goddess Eyes with yarn and sticks, ( Which was the PERFECT start to finish project for a creative 8 year old)7U6A9409

and Selah………..Selah. First she rubbed my crystals all over her face for a while.

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Then, she directed me through the construction of a terrifying pony doll named ‘Nightmare Moon,’ a project which consisted of me cutting out a winged-pony out of a doubled up old t-shirt that Marley had previously tie-dyed, 7U6A9395

digging around in my beautifully chaotic thread box to choose thread to sew it with,7U6A9419

sewing it together and then sewing yarn hair on it, 7U6A9439

then violently stuffing lumpy beans down it’s extremities hoping it wouldn’t explode, and then……… loving it entirely for it’s perfect weirdness. Pinterest, you won’t see this pony within your beautifully refined DIY’s.7U6A9441

7U6A9431All in all, I would say it was a good day considering it was a flu day. 7U6A9455

Hope you all are enjoying your June, (without the flu.)

xoxo, HTHG

Motherhood and Life, Her Way.

7U6A7852I know this is a hair blog, babes. But every once in a while when something stirs me enough…..a person, a story etc…..I feel the need to share it with you. This is one of those instances.

A few months ago, a beautiful woman sat down in my hair chair for the first time. She was getting her hair done for the first time since enduring a hellacious twin pregnancy and birthing two perfect babies, a boy and a girl.

7U6A7890As I did her hair, she told me her story of how she decided to have babies on her own, without a partner. What she described about her life and choices  was both captivating and empowering.

I mentioned towards the end of our time together that I am working on building my photography portfolio, and she excitedly said she had been looking to find someone to take candid shots of her and her babies.

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2 weeks later, we embarked on a photo shoot which involved her and I, her incredible newborns, a team of women on hand to distract, hold, prop up, feed, and swaddle the babes as needed, several important family heirlooms for props, and torrential rainfall.

Her photos turned out gorgeous, and really conveyed her dark, beautiful powerful sorceress-ness contrasted by the sweet innocence of her babies. After we shot, I asked her if she would let me ask her some questions for an HTHG interview, and she obliged.

Friends, I give you Charla Pereira…..Mother, Badass, Boss lady, Doing it Her Way.

Charla…Where did you come from, where did your parents come from, and how did you end up here.
I am quite a few things – Portuguese, Anglo-Indian, Romanian gypsy, Ukrainian, German – the babies now also have Croatian and Scottish to add to the mix  – my dad was born in India / Calcutta / my mum in Canada / she is first generation Canadian. I was born and raised in Canada as well.  My grandfather always said that my widows peak made me a seer. The gypsy in me goes where I want, do what I want and create my world how I want it.
You are a designer at Microsoft? Tell me a bit about how you landed there and what you like about designing.
I am a Senior Design Manager at Microsoft Studios Canada, I eat the world with my eyes, I want everything in the world to be easier, prettier, and more fun.  I have painted the world around me since I can remember and before that. Microsoft has allowed me to work on projects that excite me and make me feel like I am able to bring the future to life.
What is your superpower, as a woman/mother?
HMMMMM – I don’t know. I think all woman are in general super heroes in so much – If I were to say what everyone says to me about how I am it is that I know my babies instinctively – again I believe all women of course do  – I think it goes back to my deep watching of the world around me – in a sense it is photographic to everything around me – but its deeper, its emotional not just physical.

Knowing peoples emotions before they know them and having the same reaction to my children that way – I love being able to know them better than anything in the world.  It’s something everyone always notices about me – how my empathy mixed with my seeing abilities creates this ability to see into peoples energies, needs, and how I can help them.

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You decided to have babies without a partner. Tell me a little bit about that choice, and why you are glad you made it.
I’m more than glad I made it!!  I have been married, been in love, plan to be again but wanted to be put my energy, love and effort into having children rather than a relationship at this time.  These babies are perfect. I knew that the universe wanted me to have children – I knew in my heart and soul.

I don’t believe you need a partner to have the things you want and thank goodness for technology you don’t need one to have a baby either. I also think it comes to seeing others so unhappy in their relationships, what happens to those relationships when you have children etc. I didn’t want to chance that – I wanted babies and I wanted them to be all mine.  Mostly having a partner is not a priority for me. Before kids the priority was me, my work, my art and then it just morphed into wanting children to share it.
I was struck by the support you have in your team of women who have help you with your babies. SO cool. Describe a typical day/night with you and the babies and your crew of ladies?
I had the worst pregnancy ever. Hospital and almost losing them, bedrest for 6 months, nerve damage, diabetes and a list of other crap – my mother, the most amazing woman is to be praised for keeping us alive.  
I am so grateful for these amazing ladies, friends, and mothers coming to my aid and giving me and the babies love and compassion.
I was so lucky to have the doula that I have, Angie Dobbins-Frisbee. She has been available day and night, supported me with breast feeding the twins, making enough milk, sleeping a little. 

She introduced me to a team of doulas that helped me around the clock to make sure the little babies were able to thrive and I didn’t die in the process.
I don’t think that there is anything better than the energy of woman, young old and in-between, around babies.
The nurturing, support, understanding and love that just comes out  – watching this for me has been so amazing – you can feel this strong woman energy all around. It’s really beautiful.
A typical day for us is nothing typical, everything changes!  I observe how they are that day and how I can make that day the best day ever for them – and not die of sleep deprivation in the process!
Obviously you have NO TIME to spend right now on your hair, but I’m curious…..What is your general hair MO? Ponytail everyday, no wash?

My hair is long, up and away from being pulled lol – but always a part of me to express my creative side…….when I have the time.

Charla, we salute you! Thank you for sharing your story with us and empowering us with your experience. I look forward to shooting more photos of you and those sweet babies some day.

 

xoxo, HTHG

Tea and Braids: Tradition for family

The other night, we had tea and braids night at my house. It was an excuse to quietly bond with my kids before bedtime. It doesn’t happen often that we get to hang out together, quietly doing projects. Key word quietly. My daughters know how to use their voices.

7U6A5746The girls love Sleepytime tea and Wildflower Honey, collected by our cousins in the Montana Rockies. It feels like a special ritual, and it helps calm them. I am in love with my ceramic mug by my favorite potter, Adrien Miller. 7U6A5751

I have been teaching Marley to sew, a skill that I have collected in tidbits from both my parents, and both my grandmothers. My mom and her mom were very dedicated to following patterns. My dad and his mom were quite bold when it came to winging it and sewing by hand.

I consider my rudimentary sewing skills to be some of the most treasured practical skills that I have. Marley can now thread a needle, knot the thread, make stitches, and tie off the stitches at the end. I recently tried to throw away a tattered old pair of her underwear that had holes, but she insisted on mending them instead. She now proudly wears them, and I proudly pretend I am Caroline Wilder, raising pioneer children. Next stop, making balloons out of pig-bladders to play with. Simple pleasures!

Also, Marley mended a gaping hole in one of her favorite blankets, then tore out the stitches, deciding she liked it much better with the hole.

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7U6A57577U6A5781While she sewed, I brushed and braided her hair, which is like fine spiders silk but as dense and pale as pound cake. In the back ground, an uninterested fairy with droopy wings pretended to be the princess of the puppies.7U6A5766

7U6A5777For fun, I wrapped Marley’s dutch braid into a bun and pinned it with my incredible long steel 2 prong pins that I am obsessed with. I get them from an online shop called Mennonite Maidens. You should seriously check these chicks out.

Do you have daughters or long haired sons? Tea and Braids is a lovely evening-time bonding tradition for children and their parents. My girls love having braids in their hair, and then mermaid-y waves for the days following.

xo, HTHG

Lazy Gal Buns

lazy gal bunsHey my dears. Here is a quick lazy girl hairstyle that I have been rocking lately because my hair is (Finally!) long enough to wear all braided and twisted up high. Halleluja!

This is a great mom hairstyle because it can be done super quick and it will stay in all day long while you wrestle, run around, and then lock yourself in your room for some peace and quiet.

I like Lazy Gal Buns because they give a nice amount of volume all over, and because the buns are on top, it looks super cute from all angles!

Lazy Gal Buns

As always with braided hairstyles, prep the hair with Masterbraider wave and braid spray.

Begin by parting the hair down the center. Gather hair up on one side, nice and high. Braid the entire section and secure the end with a clear elastic. Pull the braid apart to loosen it up.

Repeat on the other side. Now, take your braids one at a time and wind them into a loose bun. Tuck in the ends, and pin them into place.

Pull your lady parts down from the temple area, and from right in front of the ear.

Now you can laze about in high style. And don’t feel bad about it! Everyone needs an unjustified lazy day sometimes.

xo, HTHG

 

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