April 8, 2014


What is it about hair? We carry our babies around and stick our noses in their hair. We breathe the scent of shampoo, breast milk, clean, and love. No matter the color, it grows in fits and starts—baby fine and often uneven. We are proud of how much they have or amused by how little. Somehow, it seems nearly criminal to cut it. We have, after all, created a miracle on two legs. Perfect in every way, why would we seek to alter that miracle by doing something as ordinary as cutting hair?

You can see why J has only had extremely half-hearted hair cut attempts. He had an “official” first hair cut at his birthday. He was so squirmy I had to stealthily chase him with scissors to even it out afterwards. After that I’ve just trimmed his bangs when he starts to resemble a sheep dog.

The other night, it was time for a shearing. I’d put it off for a week because I kept forgetting until bed time. Cutting a 16-month-old’s bangs is a two person operation. One person must sit the baby on his lap while the other attempts the trim. We dragged a chair into the kitchen, draped an old towel onto Josh’s lap, and deposited J. I brought out H’s safety scissors (safety first, people), and got ready to do battle.

I got one clip done before J thought he’d like to struggle. Somehow Josh had the idea of distracting him with food. A bowl of cut up watermelon was on the counter. He grabbed it and started popping watermelon in J’s mouth. Sweet and delicious, the watermelon kept him happy a few minutes more. Then Josh popped a piece in my mouth as I crouched in front of them quickly trying to even out the hair above J’s eyebrows.

J’s eyes lit up. You could almost hear him think, “You mean I can feed her?!” The next thing I knew, a piece of watermelon was being shoved in my mouth by sticky, chubby fingers. I laughingly chewed, while keeping one eye on the hair cut and the other on the pleased grin plastered on my son’s face. Several more pieces of watermelon followed. Both my hands were busy cutting hair, so I had to bob and weave to help J successfully aim the chunks into my mouth—flickers of pink fruit flashing in my periphery. The whole time, I’m laughing and thanking him for being such a sweet boy and such a good sharer.

Josh declared the haircut reminiscent of Dumb and Dumber. I smacked him. I am by no means terribly adept at cutting hair, but it’s straight, and the rest is entirely shaggy. It hangs over his ears and curls up at his collar. It is endearingly messy. But he might grudgingly get more hair cuts in the future just for the chance to see his eyes shine and his nose scrunch in delight as he tries to feed Mommy whatever else happens to be at hand.

Post hair cut swinging.

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