You might remember the last haircut Matty got, it was the haircut — no, correction, the DAY — from hell. After that day I was fairly certain he would never get another haircut again. I mean, I knew I wasn’t willing to go back to that place where the evil spirits dwelled and every time the idea of a haircut was even mentioned Matty adamantly swore up and down that he didn’t want his hair cut.
But it’s been nearly two and half months since the incident and I can proudly say we are making progress and starting traditions; last night I cut both Matty and Abbott’s hair for the first time, without any tears. Bot’s haircut took place while he was in the tub and mostly consisted of trimming up his mullet, it was quick and easy. Matty’s hair though — a thick jungle of strangely textured and oddly colored auburnish locks — took about 40 minutes, six popsicles (don’t you judge me) and a constant stream of distraction. We took a few significant precautions: no water, Abbott first, scissors only and Beastie Boys on repeat. I told Matty I was proud of him at least 36 times and for every time I said something about how handsome he looked, I said two things about how brave he was. There were whimpers here and there — he complained of how itchy it was on his neck, pulled away from the scissors when I trimmed around his ears and whined every time a hair landed on his popsicle — but there was a lot of conversation.
We talked about school, his friends, his favorite things and our Easter plans. He told me stories straight from his imagination about dragons and robots. I listened patiently as he stumbled over his words and, at times, struggled to find the right ones – too excited to slow down and think them through. It was a moment for storytelling, teaching and sharing. And as I made the final snips here and there, blending the hair as well as I could, it dawned on me that this would probably (hopefully) be the first haircut of many. I imagined cutting his hair at eight, nine, twelve and thirteen. I wondered what the conversation would be like. I wondered how long this tradition would last. I worried I would be overly emotional the first time he came home with a haircut from a stranger, insulted and saddened. I thought about Abbott and wondered how our first real haircut experience together would compare. I wondered what sort of things his imagination would conjure up. I wondered how long he would be proud to say “my mom cuts my hair” (again hopefully) and at what point I would become uncool. I wondered if they would grow up to be difficult “customers” like their dad during his haircuts, always threatening to go to Great Clips if it they take too long.
I wondered what color their hair would end up being because, after all, they’re only one and two.
To go from a haircut experience that could be likened to that of an exorcism to a haircut experience that had me dreaming of new mama-and-me traditions, wishing it could go on a little longer, just goes to show anything is possible. It also proves how quickly feelings change in the world of parenting — both for us parents and for our kids. There are not any two days that are exactly the same or any single activity that is always the same. Everything is new and I have a feeling it will be for quite a while.