Yesterday afternoon, after much umming and ahhing and wondering how much longer we could get away with not doing it, we sat Arthur down for his first proper haircut. We first tackled the fringe about six months ago – I held him down (well, on the boob) and my mum did the best she could to get the hair out of his eyes. He really didn’t like it very much – he let out Samson-esque wails of disapproval as if we were actually cutting away his strength with those lovely blond locks – and even then it made me feel sick to my stomach.
Yesterday was even worse. Well, for me anyway – fortunately Arthur handled the whole thing much better!
It’s hard to explain exactly why it was such a big deal. I suppose with any first haircut there’s a sense of a rite of passage, a transition from babyhood to boyhood that comes from altering the way nature intended him to look and complying to some extent with society’s expectations. For Arthur, his hair was a major part of his identity. He had a mass of dark hair when he was born, and rather than falling out as we were told to expect it just grew and grew, getting lighter and lighter with the passage of time and the bleaching rays of the sun. For a while now it’s been about 50-50 whether people who don’t know him will presume he’s a girl. That has mainly amused me rather than bothered me in any way, and it was almost becoming a reason not to cut his hair – especially when people told me I should. But then over this weekend, chilling with my parents and watching our little boy running around with those golden locks flowing behind him, Leigh and I decided it was time.
I’m very grateful that after bringing up four kids my mum is fairly confident with a pair of scissors. I’m not sure I would have been able to let a stranger loose on my baby, and my hairdressing skills are as yet non-existent. We trawled the internet for inspiration – I wanted to keep something of the spirit of Arthur’s amazing hair, even if we were going to have to lose the length – then sat him in his highchair, took a collective deep breath, and began.
He wasn’t totally convinced at first, though he soon settled into it.
We kept him distracted with some music, and that worked pretty well – in between the headbanging anyway. Three boxes of raisins helped too…
As did breaks for duddles on request.
By the time his patience really began to wane mum had got most of the length off – it wasn’t perfect, but it was getting there.
When he woke up this morning though there was an undeniable helmet-hair effect going on so we went in for another go. Mum was incredibly tolerant of my constant wincing and interference, and I think she did a pretty impressive job. I’m fairly sure we would have been thrown out of any hairdresser long before we got something I was happy with!
It will no doubt take a bit of getting used to having a toddler with vaguely normal looking hair, but it had to happen sometime. I’m curious to see how it will grow out again, though I doubt we’ll let it get quite as long as before. After all it’s going to be so much easier to wash all the food out of it now it’s shorter…