While at the RenFaire last weekend, we spent an obscene amount of money on hair braiding. It was a little more affordable last year when The Dormouse wanted her hair braided and The Caterpillar didn't have enough hair and/or care if her hair was braided (or on fire for that matter). But as of late, The Caterpillar has been going through a "braid my hair too" stage and every time I do ANYthing with The Dormouse's hair, The Caterpillar wants hers done... "and I want two braids... no three braids... no... FOUR BRAIDS!... five braids?" (It's a good thing she can't see the top of her head where I generally place one braid and am done with it.) So when they BOTH need their hair professionally braided at $mumbleImembarassedtosaymumble dollars a pop, it starts to add up. But we told them they could do it and I never like to go back on a promise, so we bit the financial bullet... and it killed both our wallets... to death.

The women who do hair braiding at these types of events are amazing. They weave bits of hair through their fingers (Go, Go, Gadget, Loom-Fingers!) and finish in ten minutes flat what would take me forty to do - with a finished product that looks twice as good. They can also do it while putting in their lunch orders, fishing out money for whoever's doing the lunch run, chasing my kids' heads around the room, and never once complaining that they won't sit still. I have not yet mastered any of these skills. What they can do with a tiny little bit of willow-the-wisp hair is nothing short of amazing:

Since I knew I was going to forfeit my lunch to pay for their hair anyway, I let The Dormouse choose the most complicated hairstyle they had available. Also, because I was fascinated by the possibility of this one in particular and wanted to watch how the girl would accomplish it.

See that? That's not just your normal three-strand braid. That is a braid made of five strands. It's like she weaved a little carpet over each side of The Dormouse's head. If I hadn't watched this girl and saw that it was possible, I'd have told you that you'd need four extra fingers to accomplish this one.

Since we spent a small fortune on these fine, fine braids, I let the girls go without washing their hair and sleeping on their hairstyles for several days or as long as was reasonably prudent, whichever comes first. This morning when they both woke up looking like members of the Holy Family in a renaissance painting, I finally took the braids out.

This was probably more exciting for The Dormouse than getting the braids in the first place because she knew she'd get to go the whole day with a giant mop of curls... something people in my Clan of the Stick-Straight-Haired People never get to experience.

This is what The Dormouse would look like if she had good hair. Sorry honey. You can blame Grandma... I know always did.

The Caterpillar's curly mop didn't turn out quite as well, but if they ever put out a casting call for a sequel to The Bride of Frankenstein called "The Frankensteins and Their Love Child Take Manhattan," I think I have a costume strategy for the audition:

The resemblance is uncanny, no?