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Mama Guru

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16

by Kesha of We Got Kidz

Fresh style on the left... 2 days later on the right. Sheesh.

When doing research for this post, I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice little article (little being the operative word) about how to take care of African American baby’s hair on the mainstream website babycenter.com. With that I realized that taking care of little brown baby girl’s tresses is important to most black mothers and is often times a trial that we face from day to day.

My little Ari’s hair journey began even before she was born. I began buying hair accessories and researching what would be the best regime for my child’s tresses early on. [*For my melanin impaired readers who aren't sure what the big deal is, African American babies are usually born with very thick, coarse hair that if not treated properly is prone to excessive drying and breaking.]
When Ari was born, she had the prettiest silkiest hair you’d ever want to see. I hesitate in saying that her hair was “good” because I don’t want to imply that my straight from Africa brillo pad lambs wool mix of hair is “bad”… but my Ari’s hair was beautiful. Unfortunately, I knew that this was only temporary. Inside the womb, there are all kinds of nutritious juices and berries floating around. It’s the optimum environment for little brown baby’s hair to thrive. After being out of the womb and going through a few washes, I knew that her hair was going to change to its “true” state. My goal was to make that transition as smooth as possible.

The first thing I did was to buy a good all natural conditioner. Lack of moisture is the number one killer of black hair, (and can kill a romantic night with the husband too. He, he). I’m not going to name products because I’ve learned that the most important part of taking care of African American baby’s hair is choosing products that fit your baby’s hair type. No one’s hair is the same. It’s up to you to do some assessing to determine what type of products you need for your baby.

The second thing that I did, and continue to do, is to regularly give Ari’s hair a good washing with a moisture rich, all natural shampoo. Do I do it once a day? Nope. Every other day? Not even. I wash Ari’s hair once a week. Now before you cringe, know that African Americans in general don’t produce as much oil as our Caucasian counterparts. Over washing can strip away natural oils that we need to keep our hair from being dry, frizzy, and brittle.

I’m attempting to avoid using any bad chemicals on Ari’s hair. No parabens, glycerins, or any ingredient that I can’t pronounce. Only all natural hair products for my Ari. This should prove interesting because I had my first mini relaxer at the age of six. If Ari chooses to put chemicals in her hair as an adult, that’s fine. I ultimately want it to be her decision.

We’ll see how all of this progresses. Right now I think that Ari’s hair is growing and thriving amazingly well, but I have to admit, by nature my day to day activities tend to be a little erratic. I’m notorious for having three or four projects going on all at once: cleaning out the fridge, writing a post…
Wait, the twins just did something cute. Let me grab my video camera.
See, I’m a free spirit. I hope that I can take the time to give Ari’s precious locs the TLC that they need. I’m praying that she’ll still have all of her hair by her 2nd birthday.

Stay tuned.

Here are some great links to some other sites that give some pretty good tips on how to take care of your brown baby’s tresses:

African American Babies: Hair CareBabyCenter.com
How to Grow Your Baby’s African American Hairshwill.wrytestuff.com
Baby Big Hairwww.BabyBigHair.com

www.wegotkidz.com

5

A BCk reader's daughter,Yuri, is in her sassy diva kitty costume

Halloween is practically here and some of you are probably fretting about whether or not to spend your hard-earned money on an expensive costume.  Have no fear! The following are costumes that you can create yourself with items in your home!

Movie Star Costume: Fancy Dress, Purse, Sunglasses

Nerd Costume: Slacks and Button Down Shirt, Glasses, School Books, Calculator, Other School Supplies, White Tape.

Baby Costume: Pajamas, Teddy Bear, Pacifier

Barbie Costume: Pink/purple dressy Clothing, Make-Up, Tiara(optional)

Construction Worker: You can easily make this costume out of items from your home. Ger creative! A tool box and a construction hat should do the trick.

Kitty Costume: Are you a seamstress?  perhaps you can create a kitty costume like the one shown in this post. An inexpensive fabric and some black tights should do the trick.

A Soccer or a Football Star: Does your child play any sport? He or she could easily be a sport’s star for the day!

Mummy- A  few rolls of bandages(to wrap the kid’s body), white makeup(for the face), paint black shadows around the eyes for a scary effect.

Ghost- Get an old white sheet, Cut out holes for the eyes, and round holes for the nose and mouth.

A Professional: Are you a doctor, a nurse, a mailman?   Perhaps your child can borrow your uniform for the day?

A Cook: An apron and a spatula should do the trick!

Click here to get even more creative ideas now!

Mama Guru says: Do you have any affordable suggestions?

0

Kaden, Ian, and me

I was a young mother (I still have IT if you ask me, lol). Only two months shy of my twenty-first birthday, I was still a baby when I gave life to a baby. After spending several years with my “high school sweetheart”, our relationship  took a sharp turn upon the arrival of our baby boy. No longer was it about us. The petty arguments had no room in the tiny space we called “our family”. All decisions had to be rational and make sense for his future. There was no degree of priority that stood above our son’s well-being. Like so many other young couples and families making their mark on the world, we had a plan. But even the most well thought out plan can can crumble with the emergence of life’s circumstances. Through it all, we had to make sure our son never questioned his connection to our issues. The only weight a child should carry is that of innocence. We were the adults after all.

As the years passed— birthday parties, holidays, first hair cut, first day of school— our issues became visible to our son. Finding clever ways to mask our problems proved difficult. He started noticing if mommy was sad or daddy was angry, and vice versa. His eyes captured a light less bright than that of child who was insensible. No longer was our space big enough to hold all of the baggage we had deserted over the years. There was an overflow of emotion and the entire family was buried deep in a swamp of surrender. We had given up on our plan. Why was that?

We lacked one of the most important relationships one could ever be involved in— a relationship with God. Before you click away or shout “OMG”, which by the way contains the same word, I’m not going to get all religious on you. Your reaction to this topic is insight enough. I’m just offering a justifiable explanation to the ruins of a family and a possible solution to repairing all the broken relationships in my life.

I’m not a daddy’s girl. My relationship with my biological father exists, but has not been attended to for quite some time. I have suffered a great deal because of this. I am the face behind the concept of dating a woman with “daddy issues”. The idea of abandonment, a balanced level of control, and a sense of belonging are constantly in the front of my mind. It’s even more visible being the only-child because I do not have another relationship to compare my own to. This struggle concerning my relationship with my father has made me look at my relationship with my son, and what I should be doing as a mother and woman.

I owe my father, my son, and his father, my wholly spirit. To offer what life I have to give and build a relationship that can withstand any situation…and one that includes OUR FATHER. This is ultimately the only way I’ll ever be the best me— mother, daughter, friend, sistah, woman. No matter what becomes of us, we’ll always have each other to become what matters the most. A family with faith.

-Keonté

For more on my adventures in motherhood, visit my personal blog, www.mommy2k.com.

9

One summer day, the kids and I visited the local park. They both had new toys to take for a spin; Kaden a skateboard, Mariah a princess bicycle. I just wanted to go somewhere that required minimal supervision on my part. I scanned the area discretely behind my over-sized sunglasses. I caught a glimpse of the different activities taking place – a tennis match, a basketball game, skateboarding, and an enormous crowd of people gathered under the park’s pavilions. Seeking serenity, I found the perfect spot on a wooden bench planted perfectly by the playground. I marked my territory.

We had to settle for the smaller, less engaging playground. Our normal location was being occupied. Laughter and endless chatter hovered over the area like a blanket of sunshine. It sounded like a “funky, good time”. The smell of barbeque teased the senses of those not taking place in the festivities. I noticed several coordinating t-shirts baring a tree logo with what appeared to be the family’s name. There were people everywhere. I knew immediately a family reunion was taking place.

After a few minutes, a couple and their children joined us on the playground. Kaden was still conquering his Shred Sled on the concrete path bordering the sliding board, and Mariah had ditched her bicycle for a rather steady chain bridge. I barely moved an inch out of the spot I first claimed when we arrived. I’d yell out an occasional command for the kids to receive, but there wasn’t a lot of verbal interaction. I was going for the no fuss approach and wasn’t prepared to mingle with anyone. I must have released a bit of inviting energy into the air because the couple walked over my way.

“Excuse me. Do you know what’s going on over there and why there are so many people here?” The man pointed in the direction of the celebration as if I was somehow oblivious to it all.

“Oh! That’s a family reunion. They have them here all the time.” I offered the simplest answer possible, hoping they would both understand and be on their way. Unfortunately, I didn’t get off so easily.

“What’s a family reunion exactly?” The frown marks on his forehead suggested he was not too familiar with concept. His accent also led me to believe that this tradition of celebrating family wasn’t the only thing that was foreign. I took my time explaining what a family reunion was. My teaching session proved to be unsuccessful. The couple listened, but unintentionally interrupted our conversation with a few head scratches, folded arms, and sarcastic laughs.

They stayed on the playground a bit with their two boys. Every now and then the woman would pose questions about Mariah, finding a topic we could both relate to. I observed the man simultaneously looking at the family reunion and watching his family from afar. He was intrigued, as was I by him. I couldn’t figure out why or how a celebration of family was such a far-off concept to them. I thought this was the norm. Don’t we all have family? Who did they turn to for support? What village did they belong to?

Growing up, I was always surrounded by family. Thank goodness I never made a fuss over the political correctness of a person’s role. A family friend could easily be called “uncle” or “aunt” so-and-so without having any relation at all. It was the whole “village” concept, meaning everyone took responsibility in raising a child; permission to guide, regulate, and promote their growth.

How many people know their cousin’s cousins? What about greats and great greats? Too often I meet people that only explore the immediate members of their family. I hear stories of how it will be the first time their child, and even their first time, meeting a cousin, aunt, or uncle. I find it a bit intriguing myself, identical to the thoughts of the family I met at the playground. Our traditions, customs, and celebrations were unique only to us. Still, they were no less unusual or any superior to one another’s experiences.

The family reunion was winding down. People began to flock from the pavilion area like the let-out of a concert; the show was a blast, but now it was over. Hugs, kisses, and laughs were shared amongst the various people baring the golden-colored t-shirts. Some people were leaving with goodies in the form of paper plates covered with aluminum foil. No way was all that good food I had smelled upon my arrival going to waste. And neither was the opportunity for the man to speak to one of the people leaving the reunion.

“Hello. I just wanted to see what was going on over there. Who is the Gray family?” The man had managed to build an invisible corner around a lady walking across the playground area to get to her car. She hesitated a bit, but answered him with a smile.

“Oh, we’re from the area. Do you know…” Her voice began to fade as more people poured into our once serene area. I can imagine she was explaining to him exactly who they were. I noticed his posture had perked a bit, and he openly engaged in conversation.

The woman was still on the playground watching the boys. I had motioned for the children to meet me at the bench. It was getting late, but not dark, and we needed to grab a bite to eat.

Just as I was loading the skateboard and bicycle into the trunk, the man jogged over to me. “Not again?”, I thought. As it turns out, he had gone to school with a few of the people. He and his small family had moved to the area when he was a young child, and he wanted to continue to raise his family here. He was connected to their village and never even knew it. I gave him an imaginary pat on the back for his ‘discovery’. I waved good-bye from the back of the car over to the woman and the boys. Our work here was done.

“It takes a village to raise a child.” We have all heard this African proverb over the years and may have never thought to think about who the actual members of our village are. My village consists of my family, friends, teachers, coaches, and other families that directly affect me and those around me. My village consists of individuals that pray for me and not prey on me. My village is the place I call home no matter how often I visit. My village may not be your village, but we are all connected in some fashion.

So tell me, who is in your village?

21

angelina

Angelina Jolie, and her daughters Shiloh, 4 1/2, and Zahara, 5 1/2, looked a bit lax as they arrived at LAX Airport on September 18, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

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