Sometimes I take my kids places and honestly wonder why in the fuck I ever thought it was a good idea. Pretty much every time I take Matty to get his hair cut I feel this way. I mean, Matty has never really done terribly at a haircut but he definitely does not like it. He always cries and he usually has to hold my hand but it’s never been anything I couldn’t manage alone – that is, until yesterday. Yesterday was a nightmare – I almost don’t want to tell the story because I’m not even sure I can convey the experience in all of its terror but it was like watching a children’s version of the fucking Exorcist. And if I had to suffer that badly, someone may as well get a laugh out of it.
So, yesterday morning we looked at Matty, who was starting to look like a shaggy unkempt muppet, and decided to schedule an afternoon appointment for him to get his hair cut. In hopes of curbing some his usual angst, we spent the morning and early afternoon telling him if he was a good boy during his haircut that we would get some ice cream afterward (still unsure on the ethics of bribing my kids so don’t judge me). He seemed really into the ice cream idea (obviously), so I thought maybe we were on the road to a peaceful appointment – until I tried to threaten him with NO ice cream if he didn’t eat at least half of his lunch and he did everything short of laugh in my face, which includes eating half of a chicken nugget and shunning everything else I fed him. No, of course he doesn’t take me seriously, could you turn down those giant brown eyes and cute little voice?? I’ve created a monster.
As we gathered our things to leave the house, late as always, Seth and I bickered about where Abbott’s jacket was. Seth didn’t think he needed a jacket or socks, I thought he needed a jacket and shoes. When we got in the car, even later now because Seth and I were apparently on different continents weather-wise, everyone was angsty. It didn’t help that it was in the middle of Matty’s usual naptime. Mom fail. When we arrived at the hair spot, Seth rushed Matty inside. I took my time, walking hand-in-hand with Abbott. As Bot and I approached the door, I could hear a low pitched, grating sort of wail and knew immediately it was Matty. For a second, I threw around the idea of not going in and saying I needed to save a spot at the literally empty frozen yogurt shop next door. But I didn’t. I sucked it up and walked into hell.
The place was more crowded than I’ve ever seen it and yet my child, conveniently located at the very first chair – a shiny black and white police car – was the only one losing his mind. I say “located at” because as I was walking in he was climbing feverishly up Seth’s body like a rabid monkey, refusing to get in the chair. The poor girl assigned to the task of cutting his hair was standing there with a comb in her hand, wide-eyed with fear and an awkward forced smile stretched across her face as Matheson howled, HOWLED in her face and swung his arms at her.
“NOOOOOOO. I DON’T LIKE IT! NOOOOOOOO! AHHHHHHHH!”
I wish there was a sound bite I could share with you because it was like nothing I’d ever heard before and I live with him. Seth, usually not present for the haircut adventures and much nicer than me, didn’t want to force him into the chair. I didn’t really want to either but we really had no choice. The crowd at the door was growing and our appointment slot was only 15 minutes long. With Abbott in my arms, I tried to calm Matty down by whispering in his ear.
“Buddy, let’s just do this really quick and then we can get ice cream.”
“NOOOOOOOOOOOO! NO ICE CREAM! AHHHHHH! NOOOO. I DON’T WANT IT!”
“Okay, we just have to put him in the chair. Put him in the chair. Here. Swap me.”
Seth took Abbott and I took Matty. And at that moment, we began the exorcism.
The hair girl, taking the appropriate queues, started spraying his hair and trying to talk to him. Matty started kicking wildly and throwing his head around, screaming at her. I wrangled him as best I could and quickly put him into the police car. I tried to distract him from his inner demons with the steering wheel.
“Look buddy, you’re driving!”
At this point, he started convulsing his body and there was nothing I could do but wrap my arms around him and hold him in place against my body. The hair girl, unsure what her next move should be, eagerly asked if she could use the clippers. Seth and I were both adamantly against the idea. There is nothing Matty hates more than hair clippers (…and flies), he is a strictly scissor cut kind of kid. The girl looked at us with a blank stare.
“It will be so much faster if I can just use these?”
Honestly, in retrospect I’m not sure what the fuck Seth and I were thinking because 1) there is no way any sharp objects should have been within 5 feet of Matty, let alone centimeters and 2) it literally couldn’t have gotten any worse because at this very moment Matty went from inaudible words to basically just roaring and grunting.
“Ok. JUST GO.”
And with that, I’m not exaggerating at all when I say, the young girl just started buzzing off chunks of his hair in between my arms and body. I, not expecting to wrestle demons, was wearing a heavy sweatshirt and immediately started sweating. Matty struggled and jerked in my arms. At one point, as I played the role of a children’s straight jacket, I looked up and noticed every other calm child staring at us along with their parents. I tried to muster a smile because we’ve all been there (right?) and got nothing but sneers and side-eyes (well, ok, my apologies and fuck you for being perfect). Matty roared raspy, ear-shattering roars and screams.
“It’s okay, buddy. We’re almost done.”
“We’re almost done, dude.”
“NOOOOOOOOOO! AHHHHHHH! ROOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAR!”
“Oh my god, I am like dripping sweat.”
I was. My God was I sweating. And I had no choice but to just let it roll down my face – even if I could have managed to lift my arms, I was COV-ERED in Matty’s hair. I looked at Seth who had been snickering and half-heartedly consoling Matty.
“You’re doing a good job, babe.”
“Can you see the sweat dripping down my face?”
The girl cutting Matty’s hair and I had been dancing around each other, trying to make the extremely close, mortifying and completely terrible interaction as painless as possible. But then she had to trim the top of his head and as I shifted we ended up face-to-face. She lifted the spray bottle to spray his hair.
“OH! I’m so sorry, did I spray you?!!”
OH, FOR FUCKING FUCK’S SAKE.
“What?? No. I’m -“
“OH! YOU REALLY ARE DRIPPING SWEAT! I thought you were kidding!”
WOW. JUST – WOW.
She started giggling. I threw a look at Seth to silently beg him to put me out of my misery only to catch him trying not to laugh, as jolly as could be. Abbott, dangling from his hip, stared at Matty with the look of pure confusion – mouth open, eyes wide. I couldn’t help but also laugh. Could this fucking thing please be over? The girl got the scissors out to trim around Matty’s ears and he exerted his last ounce of fight. He went from demon-possessed having an erratic meltdown to light sobbing having concerns about having hair on his lollipop.
I’ve never tipped more for any single service in my life. I’ve also never spent more time in 24 hours soaking up the adorableness that is Matty with a new haircut – because this will be the last time I see it until he’s old enough to take himself to the MFing barber.