February 8, 2011

The First Haircut

Last night when I posted on Facebook that I might cry while H got her first haircut this morning, I was being mostly over-the-top/silly. Crying? Really? Imagine my chagrin when I did in fact tear up as the scissors started their snip-snip into H’s honey-gold hair.


H took the whole thing pretty much in stride. She sat on my lap decked out in a pink, Tinkerbell cape. When the hairdresser got to the back of her head, she kept trying to turn around to see what was going on. The biggest negative reaction came when H had to relinquish the turquoise comb she was playing with while the haircut was going on. Gladly, her very first dum dum lollipop made up for any comb sadness.
You can see why she was sad to give up the comb. It was pretty cool.

Why does the first haircut evince such reactions? I know I’m not the only cry baby out there. Is it just the fact that it symbolizes a milestone? But what sort of milestone is it? She is no closer to independence. I still feed her at least half her food and wipe her butt. She’s not tall enough to climb into either her high chair or her car seat by herself. She still speaks in sporadic one word “sentences.” Yet seeing her with her straight-across-bangs somehow goes straight to my mom heart with the thought, “She’s not a baby anymore.”

One haircut and sucker and she already looks too cool for me.

We spend a lot of time as moms wishing for our kids to grow up—to hold their heads up, to sit up, to roll over, to crawl, to smile, to coo. Sometimes a milestone pops up and it’s just as wonderful as you knew it would be (like smiling and laughing). Sometimes you wonder why you wanted this to happen (like walking and opening drawers).

Hanging out with her big girl hair cut and her new shades.

It’s the transition from totally dependent baby to semi-dependent toddler that I’m having a hard time with. Why this transition is symbolized by a haircut is anyone’s guess. H’s hair grew in surprisingly even. For a while I didn’t cut it because it looked like a super cute bob that I’d paid for. But her bangs were now so long they were in her mouth, but still not staying behind her ears. She pulls out every hair holding device known to man after about 10 minutes. Despite all that, her uncut hair seemed all soft curves and innocence. Her now even hair and little straight bangs identify her as a kid. No longer is she mine to hold apart as a baby. Clearly, she’s not quite ready to make her own way in the world. But in an almost-two-year-old scale, yes, it’s her time to go and explore. A lot of that exploring does not necessarily include me. I will likely be nearby, but I won’t be the center of her universe in quite the same way ever again.

I am happy for my beautiful daughter. Yesterday she climbed the stairs on the playground and slid down the slide with no help at all. Today she spontaneously took a downward facing dog and turned it into a somersault. Seeing her grow and learn is so exciting as a mother. I still look forward to all the firsts to come. But no matter what, I just want one moment every day to hold her close, smell her sweet child smell, and kiss her head.

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