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Do Not Touch My Head.

March 9, 2011

Today was haircut number three.

For various reasons, I never wanted haircut number one to happen.

Some reasons:

1. I wanted my baby to continue to be a baby. I wanted him to still have remnants of what my brother-in-law’s German mother, more succinctly known as Omi, called foosy foos: the little original slick bits of hair generated in utero.

2. I don’t like it when little boys get their hair cut and then they look all bangs-straight-across-the-head. It seems sad to force someone to be so shaped up when they are so little and don’t have any say in how shaped up they should be. I also think it is sad when little people have their shirts tucked in. I guess that if we press the issue, I find it sad when anyone has perfectly straight across bangs and a tucked-in shirt.

But I finally got it cut just before our two-week trip to England, because like most Americans, I have a vague sense that we should be on our best behavior when in England. In our case, because we were staying in an 80 room manor, and were bound to mess some things up anyway, we really sort of did need to be on our best behavior.

At the salon, which is a salon for children in a neighhorhood we have to drive to get to, I asked them not to cut it too straight.

He cried but it’s not like the police had to come or anything. Afterward he looked super handsome but still a little rumbletumble, like a tiny little boy should.

Matthew took him for the second haircut, with instructions from me that he was not to come home looked like a toddler equivalent of a Marine. Matthew was so happy to have clearance to get a haircut that he was willing to abide by my aesthetic advice. Because it happened on boy’s day out, I was blissfully ignorant of whatever crying happened.

As for haircut number three, it’s been a long time coming. Recently, Henry has been saying “eyes. eyes. hurt. ouch.” And he’ll grab my hand and use it to rub his eyes. He wants me to rub his eyes presumably because I use the flat of my hand, which isn’t usually sticky, and I don’t scratch him by mistake which he’d likely do to himself, and I can estimate the appropriate amount of pressure to apply, and these are things that at two years old he has not yet mastered.

That he grabs my hand to rub his eyes makes me feel needed and happy in this way that perfectly sums up why people love being parents, though it totally sucks the life out of you in other ways. But obviously, no matter how much I being his go-to eye rubber, I needed to provide another haircut in order to not be a terrible parent.

Lately, when I say to Henry “Are you my good baby?,” he says nopf, his version of nope. And when I say “are you my good big boy?” he says nopf: Hi. A nasal “Hi” is how he says Henry. But when I ask the exact right question, which is “Are you my good Henry?” he says YAH, like a tiny Swede. Then he smiles.

So, this time, we were going to get a little boy haircut at a barber a little more than a mile from our house. We took the stroller and walked. When we were about 3 blocks away, he did a huge yawn, meaning he was getting ready to nap, so I turned and ran in the direction of home with the stroller, because I needed to use yesterday’s naptime to work on a freelance project.

Today, we drove up there. He wouldn’t sit in the barber’s chair alone, even with the little high chair part. He sat on my lap, and screamed, and writhed, and tried to escape, and acted mournful, and tortured, and confused, and itchy, and then he ate his lollipop stick in a fit of pique, and then he ate two more lollipops, and there was sugary drool mixed with tears everywhere with bits of hair stuck in it, on his cheeks and his neck and down his shirt, and then the barber threw some baby powder into the mix, and people were staring, and even when I promised that we’d look at the subway after, and get an Elmo balloon, and that we could get a cookie, and I explained about how Daddy gets haircuts, it did not get better. It got worse. Unfortunately the barber had used electric clippers on one side, and this made the half-mullet that was forming even more pronounced. And then the barber made his own pronouncement, which was that Henry was “not in the mood.”

I tried to pay and the barber wouldn’t let me, probably because he envisioned our friends and neighbors asking, incredulously, where did you get that haircut?, and he saw, in his mind’s eye, his hard-won business dropping off precipitously. And then Henry calmed down a bit (by now we were sitting in the waiting area with all the world watching), and the barber started in cutting again, and then things got worse again, and he said we should come back in a few hours.

If a haircut every two months seems bad, then a haircut every few hours on the same day would seem really bad. I knew that if we left, I wouldn’t have either the heart or the upper body strength necessary to bring Henry back. So after another break the barber, who was awfully good-natured about the whole thing, started in again. Finally I just had to leave. The haircut is not great as a whole, but from any one angle, it’s not that bad.

At the doctor, when they try to measure Henry’s head with a little numbered paper tape that wraps around, the noises that happen could be used as sound effects for a movie about people performing surgery in a time before anesthesia.

I believe that Henry would like there to be a policy where no one who isn’t on a very short list is allowed to touch his head.

And I have to say: that seems pretty reasonable.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 9, 2011 3:03 pm

    It seems that a photograph of the new hair cut is in order…

  2. Karen permalink
    March 10, 2011 9:56 am

    I’d agree with that. I would also offer that we had a similar experience visiting not one but *two* local nursery schools, not just the one time but on the occasion where we were invited back, to both schools. Preschool directors are not as good-natured as barbers, apparently.

    For the record, Mia also did this in utero for one of our counting-fingers & toes-ultrasound appts. I was contorted on one of those tables off & on for 8 hours… my bladder almost didn’t survive it.

    I’m amazed that anyone tries to cut toddler hair… this seems like a perfectly reasonable outcome. Protect your head, Henry!!

  3. Jen permalink
    March 16, 2011 9:03 pm

    you must read ‘no haircut today’ by elivia savadier. and henry might like it too.

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