Monday, August 22, 2011

A Little Off the Top

There were two things that surprised me upon seeing my son BC for the first time after his birth.  The first was how small he was. Well, he wasn’t small per se. He actually weighed 8 pounds & 15 ounces. But we were expecting him to be much bigger based on how big he measured in utero and because I weighed a hair under 11 pounds at birth. 

(Not BC, but rather a Slimy Stunt Baby)
The bigger surprise to me was how much hair he had.  Thick dark hair. And not just patches, he had full coverage.  In retrospect it probably looked thicker than it actually was due to the styling gel-like properties of placenta. 

After a couple months, BC’s hair began to recede and thin out.  I figured it had been a fun ride, but he would soon be just like all the other bald babies out there.  Once his hair started dropping it didn’t stop until it was a mere memory.  It had only been a few months so hopefully he wasn’t too attached to it.

Naturally I was surprised during the second half of his first year of life that when BC’s body grew, so did his hair.  He’s always been near the top of the growth charts in both height and weight (and head size, but that’s a story for another day).  Similar to his birth hair, his “new” hair was unique for its waves and twists.  It was cute, so we let it keep growing. And growing.  And growing…
Shortly after his 1st birthday, BC’s hair did something interesting. His slightly wavy hair turned into tight ringlets.  Think “Annie”, but not red.  And without the weird bald guy and mangy dog hanging around.  BC had always been a hit with the ladies, but this new hair made him a chick magnet.  I was happy to see he inherited several of my best traits. 

As his hair grew, it didn’t look as long as it was since the curls tightened it up. But some of the curls still fell into his face.  He spent a lot of time pushing it out of his eyes, until my wife convinced me that he NEEDED a haircut.  I was apprehensive but she showed me the websites for a couple of hair salons that specialize in kids and I finally acquiesced. I knew he needed the cut, but didn’t want to see him butchered.

On the following Saturday morning, we headed to one of those kid-friendly hair joints. The place had balloons out front, so how bad could it be?  I’d soon find out…

We stepped inside and saw all of these cool mini sports cars that were barber chairs. There were a slew of 
TVs on the wall to divert the little ones’ attention from the task at hand and colorful murals on all of the walls to distract the bored parents.  There was also the sound of a pediatricians’ office mixed with a haunted house.  Shrieks and wails filled the air of this brightly colored haven of hair.  

A woman with a thick accent and a Sideshow Bob-esque mop on her head greeted us at the front and led us toward one of the Cars of Doom. Or at least that’s what BC must have thought it was. It all seemed innocent enough to me, but then again I’ve been getting haircuts for decades. 

As we approached the chair we heard a kid screaming his brains out, as though the hairs had just been removed one-by-one from his scalp with rusty tweezers.  My wife said to me “Oh, that poor mother. Her kid is acting like a putz!” As the mother led her freshly-shorn kid toward the door, we recognized them as people we’d recently met at a mutual friend’s party. At that party her kids were terrors and made a huge mess all over the friend’s house, writing on the furniture, etc. I figured this was just her payback.  

So I lifted BC into the red sports car chair and said to my wife “see, piece of cake”. Famous last words. Within one one-hundredth of a second of the cape being put around his neck, before the barber-lady even had the scissors in her hand, BC was screaming like Angela from "The Office" at Burning Man. I’d never heard noises like this before. I put the camera down as my wife started to comfort our little man. Sadly, nothing helped. He was miserable, crying and nearly hysterical. The “stylist” looked at us and in her thick accent said “What iz de pro’lem?”.  Um, isn’t it obvious?  The kid isn’t happy. Let’s get this over with, um-kay? 

We tried soothing BC to the best of our ability. Nothing helped. Not even the super-sticky lollipop or the stale animal crackers the place offers as consolation to the miserable kids. If they were smart, they’d also offer earplugs and shots of Cuervo to the parents. 

After 15 minutes of this torture, it was finally over. I’m not sure how the woman knew she was finished, as there was just a curly mess in and around her hands and on the floor, but that was it.  We were released from the torture chamber. Hair samples noting the happy occasion of the First Haircut were slipped into an envelope. We were also handed a “Certifucate of Commemeration” [sic] where BC’s name and the date were filled in by the receptionist.  The certificate was most noteworthy to me because it contained at least six typos. Now I know why the place currently boasts a 2-star rating (out of 5) on Yelp.  

What I learned from this experience is that I hope my son doesn’t mind his hair growing into his eyes in the future, because I can’t imagine going through this traumatic experience again anytime soon. And I do mean traumatic for me and my wife. I’ve brought BC with me to watch me get my hair cut a couple times since then.  He sees that the crying during the actual cut is minimal and once I get my lollipop I’m good to go.  Here’s hoping he feels the same next time. 

Thanks for reading! Your comments are appreciated.  Tell your friends...
--JJ aka The Dude of the House

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  1. Oh man, this made me think of the Monkey's first hair cut...the girl was giggling and the Bio kept remarking on 'how adorable' it was while our child freaked out and balled his eyes out. I grabbed him and headed for the car. We waited a while before trying again. It was painful for both of us. But now, he's a pro (at 5) and will even tell me when he feels he needs a haircut. I feel your pain...and even thinking about the screams makes me shudder.

  2. This is right up my alley. I'm a hairdresser and my kids (hairy little beasts that they were) got their hair cut sitting on the kitchen counter. With a TootsiePop in hand.And yes, they've eaten LOTS of @McDonalds. That said; it's freaky for little ones to have a stranger touch them especially when they have no idea where they are. I've always had my clients hold their kids in their lap backwards and do the cut that way. It's not perfect do but crap they're 2 right? It works. Try to take him to the same place everytime to the same person. Preferrably one with kids. As always, fun read. Great job.

  3. I really wish I hadn't read this. Our son is just over a year old and hasn't had a haircut, but is in desperate need of one. I guess I'll just go look for some manly barrettes.

  4. @Lil'Devil Mama: You are fortunate to have gotten past this miserable stage.

    @Mamamash: read what Lil'Devil Mama wrote and rest assured that it will get better.

    @analogyqueen: Isn't that why the kids' salons put all of the kid friendly stuff all over the place? I told my wife about your suggestion about sitting backwards and she's going to try it next time. Too bad you don't live closer.

    Thank you all for reading!


  5. Oy! I'm sure this was difficult for all 3 of you. I love BC's curls though. They're the best! I can see our experience going two ways. G will either smile and flirt with the baber-lady or he will be in hysterics and probably won't let her cut his hair. We shall see!

  6. "styling gel-like properties of placenta" Not possible. A placenta is a membrane. This is like saying you can style your hair with plastic wrap. The stuff that gives such great hold and style is called vernix. It's a great skin moisturizer as well. Just sayin...