True story: I cut my toddler’s hair and the result is a cross between a pixie cut and an emo shag, as if I used an ax in places and a razor in others. To say it looks unflattering is an understatement, like how Texas is big or the Empire State Building is tall. To say it looks as terrible as I feel about inflicting it upon him would be absolutely accurate.
When my son was born, the obstetrician glanced at his dark, curly locks, glanced at me, and said, “he has your hair.” That lasted for about three hours, at which point Baby’s hair started to fall out. A totally normal occurrence, the nurses rushed to mention. By the time he left the hospital, he boasted a chrome dome. He didn’t have eyebrows either, so the overall cue ball effect more or less worked.
Eventually his hair (including eyebrows) came in, and he started to look less like Alien Emoji and more like Daryl from The Walking Dead, a comparison I’ve noted before. Gone were the brown swirls he was born with, replaced with blonde, heavy hunks. All Baby needed was a crossbow, some blood splatter, and a few tiny tattoos, and we’d be set for Halloween.
Not so now. A few weeks ago, my husband asked me to give our kid a trim. His hair had become an enormous puffy halo, hanging in his eyes and pooling around his collar. As he sat in the tub one night, I took the safety scissors and started cutting. A chunk here, a piece or two there. I grabbed the strands on the left into a loose ponytail and chopped. I finger-combed the strands on the right and snipped. He squirmed, I squared his shoulders. Occasionally I pulled back, eyeballed my work, and cut again. And again.
I was a woman possessed. I was Edward Scissorhands, Vidal Sassoon, Sweeney Todd of Fleet Street (you know, because I was singing). I suppose I should mention that I was on a lot of cold medicine at the time. Like a lot.
In the game of hair, my son is losing. Big time. Oh, I try to console myself with the idea that super-short asymmetry is in this year, but, alas, his head isn’t a pair of shorts. His bangs slope, from Roman emperor on one side to face curtains on the other. The hair over one ear flutters out in a Farrah Fawcett flip. And the back? It looks like I carved out steps for a wee creature to climb.
The day after the haircut we walked to daycare, as normal. Were people staring? I couldn’t tell. It definitely felt that way. We got on the elevator and held it open for another mother and her toddler. She half-smiled as she exclaimed, “Wow, I guess he got hold of the scissors, huh?”
I nodded. I didn’t correct her. I didn’t mention the squirming or the cold medicine, nor did I say anything about who played barber in the bath. But, Kind Elevator Lady, it was me!
At age 2, my son doesn’t care that he has an awful haircut. I’m not even sure he notices that anything is different, except that he can see his beloved taxis and trucks more easily. He certainly didn’t mind taking the blame.
My husband was a different story. When he saw my handiwork, he didn’t use the word “divorce,” but he came close. Long story short, he cuts his own hair, and from now on he’ll be cutting Baby’s hair too.
It’ll be a while, though. In the meantime, we do our best. We put a few strands here, push a few strands over there. We plaster down the front with a tiny amount of pomade. Come to think of it, there’s one small silver lining to all this: we’ve got this year’s Halloween costume picked out.