We can’t quite put our finger on what it is about haircuts that sends Oscar into a straight-out tizzy. He has had only positive experiences, never been traumatized by the process, and has (or had) probably the nicest hairdresser anyone could hope for.
After his last haircut, which could best be classified as a minor disaster, I asked, “Why such a tumultuous display at the salon? He offered to “draw a diagram” to explain himself. I told him that this wasn’t the time for diagrams but rather solutions. He told me he didn’t like the hair going down his back and in his eyes–that it was itchy and irritating. I asked him what we could do about that for the next time, and he came up with the idea of bringing a spare shirt and his safety goggles from his tool set.
Sounded good to me.
Yesterday Oscar even offered to go first–before his brother, who, not at all surprisingly LOVES a haircut and sits in the chair with a lollipop and stares at himself lovingly for the duration– and to sit “like a big boy” in the chair as opposed to on my lap.
But then it all fell apart.
We wound up having to go into the salon’s restroom for the haircut for the noises Oscar was emitting, with me holding him on my lap as our poor hairdresser tried her best to negotiate his gyrating head with a sharp implement in her hand.
Oscar knew what the consequences were and promptly handed over his Polar Express train to us when we returned home–without even being asked. But knowing that this couldn’t continue, we talked–for a long time–about why this kind of behavior is not acceptable.
I told him that for at least the foreseeable future–until he could garner a little self-control in this setting–we would be doing haircuts at home. Unfazed, he sat in the kitchen chair, asked me to give him a little haircut; and as I clipped a half-dozen hairs or so, he sat quietly, still, and smiling.
He said he was just more comfortable with me cutting his hair–that he liked my scissors and the way I cut.
Unprompted, he then asked if he could write a letter of apology to our hairdresser, and ended it with “I hope we can still be friends.”
At the end of the day, not every question can be answered and not every problem has a solution. But this time, after tears and a lot of talking, we were able to figure things out. And though I have absolutely no idea how to cut hair, you can bet I will try my best. But what made me most proud in addition to his willingly accepting his consequences was Oscar’s readiness to make amends, to make things right. That is the boy we see every day, the boy that I wish our hairdresser and the half-dozen ladies in the salon yesterday had seen, the one I know they’ll see next time when Oscar simply accompanies his brother to his haircut.