When I was gone last month, C let the boys watch the Lord of the Rings movies. I personally think those movies are way too violent and scary for eight-year-olds, but I'm outnumbered and outvoted in this household, and also, I wasn't there. One good thing to come out of it, however, is that Z became captivated with Legolas (and who wouldn't be captivated by Legolas?), and started to brush his hair to make it silky smooth like that dapper woodland elf's. Last weekend, he asked me to give him the braids to match.
It's been many years since my own hair-braiding days, so the first effort was a bit messy. The next day, we tried again, with wet, freshly-washed hair, and after I looked online for instructions for making the fishtail, or herringbone, braid. Z has arrow-straight, silky-fine hair (though a great deal more hair than I've ever had), and it tends to slip out of its braids rather quickly, so I've been restoring the side braids each morning before work. Luckily, he was on school vacation all last week, so he could wear his braids without worrying about what other kids would think/say. I asked him as we were putting in yesterday's braids if he would wear them to school today, but he replied, rather matter-of-factly, "No, the other kids would make fun on me."
I was pleased that he had this awareness, but it didn't dissuade him from wearing the braids at other times. I'm also a teensy bit pleased to have hair to play with.