Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cutting off the curls

barber shop poleI gave Mikko another haircut today. It had been months. I had more recently trimmed up the straighter hairs up top that were persistently falling in his eyes (a sad consequence of my family's inheritable cowlicks), but I'd left the back to grow wild and ringlety. After awhile, though, I feared the worst: a mullet. Much like my brother's 1980s hockey haircut — undoubtedly chic at the time, and an attraction for all the young ladies, but I didn't want to be That Mother who made her son look like a goofball all for the fear of scissors and an excess of sentimentality.

So, since the shagginess and unmanageability were growing, I went ahead and wielded the shears. And I did it while he was nursing! Are you impressed, or what?

You shouldn't be. It's not a very good haircut. Fortunately, curly hair hides a multitude of snipping imperfections.

I sighed, though, to see those bouncy, springy ringlets fall. Every time I cut his hair, I feel the tears at the back of my eyes to look at him, all shorn and still beautiful, but not as adorably shaggy.

This time in particular, I guess because we could see his neck again, and the shape of his face, he looked older. Like a little guy, and I love my little baby.

And I don't want to be one of those mothers (on the other hand) who bow to public pressure to make their boys look boyish at all costs. No one ever thinks he's a girl, despite the curls, and I wouldn't care either way. If his hair looked good long, or if it poofed in an attractive manner, it would be one thing, but it was looking a little bizarre. But I did have this fear that in cutting it I was making some sort of gender statement that my boy must not have long, curly locks, when really I was open to the idea if it had worked. And now his haircut just looks so boyish, and I had this flash to when he'll be a teen and maybe cutting it just this short, or even shorter, so that just the barest hint of his curls shows through in a vague impression of texture against his scalp.

And then there are all the old wives' tales thrown at me by countless onlookers, not all of whom are old wives, about their sons having curly hair until — dunh dunh dunh!!! — they cut it. And then it grew back straight. I guess, maybe, sort of, that could possibly be true. I don't really think so. But now I've gone and risked it, haven't I?

Mostly I probably just envy him his springy ringlets and wish I could have them on my head. I love to play with them, like Ramona Quimby — boing! boing! — while his little head's cuddled against my chest when he's feeding. I miss them. I hope they grow back soon.

Photo courtesy Kelsey Johnson on stock.xchng


Missy said...

that's what's so nice about hair, it always grows back! make sure you save lots of those little curls to look back at though.

i had one of those 'he's growing up too fast!' moments today also.. it's finally chilly enough in mississippi that walking around all day in underwear isnt an option, so i put on some of his warm clothes and they are too short!

Betsy B. Honest said...

Ah! My 15 month old boy sprang a big halo of curls over the past six months and EVERYBODY thinks he's a girl. I just can't chop em though. Not yet. I just can't.

Lauren Wayne said...

They're already growing back, wild and woolly. Now I have to decide whether to keep them trimmed or not. Hmmm...

Lisa C said...

I wish my boy could have longer hair...but every time it gets past that "nice boy's cut" stage, it gets all scraggly and unmanageable. His hair is mostly straight, though, and thin, so even harder to keep long. But I'm with you...whatever haircut/style looks best on them. Or, at least reasonable, right?

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

Yep, your post mirrors my own feelings, except in our case he does get mistaken for a girl. ;) I don't care because he doesn't care. If he did care, we'd help him out.
One addition I would make is that we've made this partially his decision, and up until now he hasn't wanted a haircut - he's seen us get our hair cut, and we've asked him many times if he wants to, but it's always a resounding no.
The reason I finally made the appointment is because he finally said yes!
And then, in case you missed this part, we didn't even end up getting it cut!
(sigh) Now I'll have to psyche myself up for this all over again.

Lauren Wayne said...

I guess I should revise and say that now sometimes people do think he's a girl, but it always just amuses me. I think it's solely due to the curls. Because, you know, curls = female. Ha ha!

And I did see that your hairdresser had a family emergency; that's so sad. Maybe Kieran will change his mind again before the next go-round?

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