Friday, August 17, 2007

Haircut Trauma

Well, the Littlun has had his hair cut.

The Boy is funny about his hair, and has been for pretty much all his life. He can deal with it being washed, in the bath - but then he loves his bath, it's his favourite time of day. What he refuses to deal with is having his hair brushed, or towel-dried, or blow-dried. He even tends to get a bit funny if you stroke it when giving him a cuddle. We have no idea why.

Our haircut plan was thrown a bit off course by the usual hairdressers' place being shut for a few days. Well, I say usual, the kid has had about 5 haircuts in his life so far, but you know what I mean. Still, we found another barber's shop that would do toddlers, and in we went. Littlun was sweetness and light, watching with interest as another little boy, probably about 5 or 6 years old, had his hair cut and styled. We played counting games and face-identification ("where's your mouth? Yay! Where's Daddy's ears? Yay! What's this? That's right, it's your nose!" etc) and then the stylist brought out a kiddie-sized cape.

"What are we doing today then?" asked the stylist.

Pip explained that all that was required was less hair. He wasn't worried about a style, just about there being less of the mop getting in the boy's eyes and being a battle to brush. He explained about the Boy having a problem with having his hair brushed and advised the stylist to just try and do a rough job as quickly as possible before he kicked off. The stylist looked at Littlun, settled happily on the big seat wearing the cape and watching things in the mirror, and uttered those fateful words, "oh, I'm sure it's not that bad."

He spritzed water all over the Littlun's hair, so far so good, and then began to comb it through. Littlun started to grizzle. It's not quite crying, but the eyes go wet and the mouth goes open and down at the corners like a drama tragedy mask, and a long noise that's somewhere between a cry and a groan starts up. But he was still sitting properly like a good boy, and Pip was next to him reassuring him that he was being a good boy.

The stylist appeared to think this was as bad as it would get, because he started to faff. And I mean faff. Taking the hair at the back of Littlun's head and snipping little feathery bits into it, trying to make sure everything's exactly even, fussing. Meanwhile Pip and I could tell the grizzle was doing the equivalent of a burning fuse, and the worst of the Mop - like the bits over the ears, and the bits getting in the eyes - was still firmly in place.

Another two or three minutes were bought with an apple and grape Snack Pack, and another two by using a phone to take pictures of Pip, Littlun and me and then showing them to Littlun with a "who's that?" The drink should have got us a good five minutes except that for the first time in his life, he didn't want a drink.

Then the proper crying started. Real Tears and plenty of snot, then hiccupping sobs. He doesn't stay still when he's like that, so instead of having him in the chair, Pip had to pick him up and cuddle/hold him in front of the stylist, and the stylist finally realised that we might not have been joking about there being a problem with haircuts and started actually cutting away the hair that was the reason for this haircut rather than faffing and styling at the back.

The top, back and sides more or less done, all that remained was to try and get the bits at the nape of the neck. Oh dear. This was the point at which the full-on tantrum of a two year old boy, who is the size of a 3-4 year old, and who has been holding on and trying not to kick off for more than a quarter of an hour, really finally kicked off. Pip had to go from cuddling him to out-and-out restraining him. People walking past outside were stopping to stare in the window. People inside were giving me the Bad Mother Gaze which I always object to as I'm not a parent - but what can you do, go up to everybody and say "he's nothing to do with me"? The stylist kept trying to get the last bit that still needed to be done, and got kicked for his trouble. Eventually the stylist gave up.

Littlun, naturally, started to be quiet again as soon as he was back in his buggy*, was cheerfully waving and saying "bye-bye" through his sniffles as we left, and was un-tear-stained and happy as anything when we staggered back into Pip's house for a much-needed cup of tea. Little GIT.

We're not sure what to do. We could go through this again and again and again. We could let the boy have long hair until such time as he can participate in a reasoned verbal discussion about the difference between "having a haircut" and "being viciously bludgeoned to death", and which of these warrants the screaming heebie-jeebies. We could sneak up on him in the middle of the night with the nail scissors and hope he doesn't wake. Unfortunately he doesn't like hats either so if it went wrong, it wouldn't be so good. Or there's always chloroform... your suggestions?

*we have tried Haircut In The Buggy. It doesn't work. It's not only awkward for the person doing the cutting, but the strop is increased as Littlun realises he's been had... and of course, there isn't then an opportunity for him to shut up when he's put in the buggy.


erasmus (aka jiva) said...

The quickest answer and this is from my sister who had a son who would do the same, is clippers.

get them on a long setting maybe 3 or even 4 then wizz away. Always start at the back of the neck then round the ears.

This also can be done in the high chair at home, saves cost on haircuts. Still best to be done with two people there.

Anonymous said...

There's a place near me where the kiddies can sit in a car whilst having their hair cut... how cool!! I agree with te clippers theory, or maybe having it done at the same time as a little friend?? That way he might realise there's nowt to fear, that said I didn't get my littl'uns hair cut til he was 2 1/2... it was a clipper round the sudes a nd a small amount of scissors on top. He's odd, hates hair washes 'water in my ears' yet just had swimming lessons and fave bit was, 'putting my head under the water. Kids eh? From a planet all of their very own!!!

Anonymous said...

yep, the easiest and fastest solution to this is buying a pair of hair clippers & do a one length buzz cut at home. they are pretty easy to do.

other then that I'm sure he will grow out of the "I don't like having a haircut phase"

Pandora Caitiff said...

Could you take Little'un to the hairdressers after a tiring day at the park or Adventure Island or somewhere? The he'd be too tired to grizzle/strop.

Or just threaten him with pigtails :)

Mary said...

Alas, I suspect that trying to make pigtails happen would be just as traumatic as trying to make a haircut happen.

Seems like clippers is the way forwards then. I shall share this research with Pip when I next see him.

Anonymous said...

I do believe I mentioned quite a few times that a head-cutter is the way forwards... ;)
for acclimatisation-purposes, a 3mm comb on it and running it over his hand while running will entertain him and ensure he knows it's relatively harmless. progress up arm (carefull on t-shirt) and see how far you can get up the back of his neck before he kicks off about it.
make it a game, keep him busy while it's going on, do it somewhere familiar, and don't stop until you've finished if you get as far as cutting actual hair.

failing that, I'll head round with Big Scissors/Immac, coupla rolls of Duck Tape and my earplugs. he'll be nice and still, he can make as much noise as he likes, and his hair will be shorter

Breck said...

Hi ,
I found it impossible to cut my sons hair. My son now cuts his own hair. He has no mess to clean up because the unit attaches to your vacuum! Just set your desired hair length and the hair is safely cut, a perfect cut every time.
Thanks for the great letters,
take care, Brad
Daniel has Asperger's disease..
I've used the unit myself for 2 years and often get compliments..

Mary said...

Dear god, relevant advertising! Although, Brad, you may prefer to make that a link.

Anonymous said...

one of these?