My youngest little guy, C., absolutely detests having his hair cut. There is no act more heinous or insulting to my little boy than taking a pair of scissors to that thatch of baby blonde. And I am honestly at a loss. The set up is as good as it gets. We put on his favorite Wiggles movie (yup, I know all the words). We offer animal crackers. He gets to sit in Daddy’s lap. The scissors don’t even touch him, there is nothing that could possibly hurt him. And yet, cutting C.’s hair is like trying to wrestle a feral cat. He screams, head-buts, swings hay-makers, and kicks with all of his might. Even my 6 ft. 4, 215 lb husband can only barely contain him. And, in the guilt ridden tradition of mothers worldwide, I feel horrible. Are we ruining him for life? Will his nightmares be filled with his mother towering over him, cackling evilly, as she leans in with razor-sharp knife like scissors looking for his precious little ear to snip? Will he refuse haircuts entirely when we can no longer contain him? Will he be borrowing my hair elastics and driving his perpetually “wiffle cut” father crazy with his long flowing locks? Not because he is making a statement but because he has been so horribly ruined by us at the mere age of two? Oh the shame. Can you believe I actually had to sit on him and pin his arms with my knees to get his bangs cut straight and just “right”? For what? For my reputation as a good mother who looks after her children and keeps them clean and manicured. For my mother in law who will be seeing her boys in about a week. I want everyone proud of my boys and saying how nice they look. That’s the truth of it. His terror, screams and desperate struggles are simply trumped by my controlling tendancies to maintain my so-called valuable “rep” as a mom. Great. Terrific. Hand over the “mommy of the year” award. I am failing at this parenting thing one haircut at a time.
So, once the haircut was over, I took my sniffling sweet boy out on our porch to calm him down. All he had on was a diaper but he was wearing his fair share of boogers and chunks of cut hair regardless. Whimpering and red eyed, he seemed utterly heart-broken. How could I do this to him? What could I offer him to make up for traumatizing his childhood? WHAT was enough in that moment.?
“Hey C., you wanna popsicle for being such a good boy?”
“YeaaAAAYYYY!!!!” (His “yeah” and “yay” are always mixed together, but that’s C. He truly celebrates whatever he affirms with a “yes” in his life.)
And then he smiled and hugged me and ate his purple popsicle. I think I might even be forgiven. I think he isn’t so bad off after all. I think his dreams might remain pure and filled only with Mickey Mouse and Captain Feathersword. I think all might be well again in his universe. I think.