Friday, June 27, 2008

Hair Cuts: The Long and Short of It

Have you ever wondered why little boys who are “special” tend to have longer hair? I never did until I found myself with a little boy who was increasingly special. It’s easy. They hate haircuts.

In the beginning, both of my boys hated them. Well, they hated their first one. Come to think of it, I did, too! It was a memory we’d all like to forget. After moving back to southern California, we stayed with my parents for a few months until our house was finished and we were able to move in. It was great—in sort of a Walton family kind-of-way. The boys were almost three and had not really had their hair cut so it was at that cute, wispy, longish stage. Tim and I agreed it was time. My father said he could do it. He had a pair of electric clippers. All you had to do was put on the right number comb and buzz away.

They say a greased pig is hard to handle. Well, try a three year old forty-pounder with a firm resolve not to cooperate with an electric trimmer! It took both of the men I love and admire most—all four hundred pounds combined of them—to give my three year old boys their haircuts. One held the legs and arms and the other one buzzed. I have never before, nor have I since, heard such screaming and crying! It made me cry. It was awful. Everyone was absolutely exhausted afterwards. Campbell was pathetic after his bath that night with a shorn head. “Mom-mom, where my hair go?” He kept rubbing his head and feeling for the one curly lock he used to rub on the right side of his head when he was sleepy. Wylie regained his composure after a long nap with blanket blue, but he never said a word about that haircut. It was the next one he protested.

Despite the drama of the first experience, I was determined to keep their hair short. It looked so handsome and was easier to care for. So, once we moved into our new home, I purchased a set of clippers for myself. Optimistically, I set up barber shop in the kitchen and got out my towels. Gathering the boys, I thought it would be easy as pie. Wylie took one look at those clippers and immediately began to scream and run away. Campbell was too slow. I nabbed him.

Chasing Wylie down, I thought to myself “This is just a test of wills and I’m going to win”. I was not prepared for how vehemently Wylie would resist. Without the assistance of a two hundred pound male, I was left with just my own arms and legs to subdue Wylie and hold him still enough to cut his hair! At the time, this was just one more “adaptation” I thought I was making to baby “B”’s behavior. When the resistance to the haircuts resulted in screaming and crying to the point of vomiting, I truly began to ponder what life was like inside Wylie’s head. Was it the sound of the clippers? Did the cutting action really hurt him physically? Was it just a quirk? As I kept wondering, his hair grew longer, and longer.

No comments: