I took my very soon-to-be 16-year-old son to the local hair salon this week to get his first real haircut. Well, not his very first real haircut. For the past eight years or so, I’ve been giving him a buzz cut in our bathroom as he sits in the tub.
Let me be clear, I have no haircutting skills — at all. In fact, when my first-born was about two years old, I had this thought: “How hard can it be to cut bangs?” I wish I hadn’t had that thought… For about three months after, I had to listen to every person we met along the way remark, “Did your Mommy cut your hair, sweetheart?” Ugh. This is why there are actual schools and training for those who are interested in working in this field. And why the rest of us should just leave it to the professionals!
My son has the thickest, most coarse hair of anyone you’ve ever met. He never had lice as a kid — I’m sure the little buggers died just trying to get down to his scalp! Grown men (especially those sporting a particular male-pattern of baldness) used to exclaim at the sight of how much hair he had on his head when he was just an infant. I’m not joking!
When he was in preschool, he asked if we would let him grow it out a little bit. I didn’t care. And secretly, I was hoping he’d end up with a cool mop of hair with longer bangs almost covering one of his eyes… Nope! His hair just grew on the top of his head like a giant mushroom cloud. I actually have a picture of it! It’s amazing — he looks like he’s wearing a brown colored Q-Tip as a hat.
We eventually stopped laughing and took him in for an actual haircut where I asked the stylist if he thought his hair texture would ever change and allow for something other than just a really short buzz cut. He said to my son who was watching him in the mirror, “Sure! When he hits puberty, it’ll probably be a lot different!” Then, he looked over at me and mouthed the words, “NO. IT’S PROBABLY ALWAYS GOING TO BE LIKE THIS.”
So, THAT’S why I’ve been cutting his hair in our bathtub for close to a decade. (That, and the fact that I’m cheap! I figure I’ve saved roughly $2K over the years by cutting it myself…)
His hair grows so damn fast that it needs to be cut every three-four weeks, although I try and make it last about six weeks when I can. Well, I was on an epic road trip with my oldest over Spring Break (you can read more about that if you become one of my subscribers… They get ALL the insider information!) and so, I was behind on cutting his hair. Like, really behind. I think it had been close to eight weeks since his last buzz cut. I just couldn’t fit it in with being gone and then all that happened the first week back from break, blah, blah, blah…
But there was also an interesting thing happening to his hair. The extra time between haircuts had meant that his hair actually had a shape to it! A shape that was decidedly different from his usual “Brown Q-Tip Head.” So, I told him it was time to see if a professional could do anything to give him an actual hair style, something more than I was ever capable of! To be honest, he usually ended up looking like a cuter, human-sized version of a Monchichi doll! (Do any of you actually remember what that is? Click here for reference…)
We checked in a few minutes early, I got my beer (how awesome is it that the parent of a minor gets offered a beer to sip on while their kid gets a haircut? I was immediately on board with this decision, even if he ended up looking just like a more expensive version of a Monchichi doll!) and the stylist set to work.
My kid, as I’ve already said, has a ton of hair. So it was not surprising to me that his haircut took almost an hour to complete! It was probably the beer influencing me, but I sprang for an actual shampoo washout and the “product” that he might need moving forward to replicate the magic that the stylist created.
Because that’s what it was… magic.
In about an hour, my son was transformed from my little boy to the six-foot-tall, handsome young man that stood next me at the register. Now I know many of you experience this moment when your kiddo is quite a bit younger… Plenty of Mommas with sweet little boys who have all sorts of curls that they know will disappear after the first haircut, let their baby’s hair grow long, long, long — trying to delay that moment when their baby becomes a kid. I might be an extreme example in this, different only in that my boy’s hair was not growing ever longer each year, but instead staying exactly the same, despite the passing of time.
When I saw him sporting his new look, a small smile of satisfaction on his face — despite his nervousness that a new look was impossible — I saw him transformed right before my very eyes.
He may not be my little boy anymore, but he’ll always be my baby.
How about for you? Do you remember the first time that a haircut transformed your baby into someone completely new and instantly grown up? How did that feel? I’d love to hear your thoughts.