Three weeks after his third birthday, it was time. I couldn't take the "it's time to brush your hair" fight any longer, the curls were slowly drooping and only looked good when wet. I'd tried everything: thinning his hair, using curling gel, even using several spray bottles throughout the day to keep his hair damp, but I just couldn't take the shaggy, matted, mullet, has been hockey player look any longer. It was time for a big boy hair cut.
Part of my delay was that I hated the fact that every three year old boy out there has a buzz cut. Yeah, I get that it's easy, but I liked that my boys had long, blonde curls that bounced when they ran. I liked that they were unique. I liked that they got compliments every where they went for their adorable curls. I was proud that my kids always looked nice when we went out and at least gave the perception that we were a put together family. The other problem that prolonged the bad hair look, was that if I cut it, I knew that he'd instantly appear to look like a boy. I know, I've been talking about how much my kids are grown up since I started the blog, but acting like a big kid is different than looking like one.
I sat Henrik up on the bathroom counter with his feet in the sink, he faced the mirror. I tussled his hair around. It wasn't smooth and soft, it was thick, course and not curly. I took a breath and said aloud, "It's time!" Hank just looked at me. "Time for what?" "Time to be a big boy". I told him to sit still and I started to cut.
As I cut Hank's hair, and the curls started to fall, I started thinking about his babyhood. Each curl I cut was his innocence, his compliance, his naive outlook on life. I remembered his first smile, his first word, his first step, his first jump. (Can you tell I'm a very sentimental and probably over emotional parent?) Henrik asked if he was done. I told him I had a few more cuts, I couldn't believe how well behaved he was during this. During previous trims he'd wiggle and turn his head as quick as possible, forcing me to dodge cutting an ear or cutting on an angle. But today, he was able to sit still and listen when I asked him to turn this way or look down.
I made the last cut, told Henrik to look up and at the mirror. I actually gasped. "Mom, don't I look handsome?" he said with a proud smile. He liked it. "Yes, very handsome, and SO grown up". "Yeah, I'm big now" he said as he sat up a little taller. I brushed off the hairs from his back and let him down, he ran off. I was left looking at the pile of hair on the floor and sink. As I swept, I welled up. I told myself not to cry.
Later that day, Henrik ran around and played like nothing had ever happened. And to him, it was just a hair cut. He probably felt a little cooler in the 90 degree heat, but he didn't know that a simple haircut said so much about who he was now. I just watched him the rest of the day. Unsure if I liked the cut or not, I was stuck with it. And whether or not I liked it, I had an kid that looked his age.
After a few weeks, I look at Henrik and I see a much taller, much more boyish boy. But I like his hair. I actually like it much better than the curly locks he had before. I'll miss those baby curls, but I'm really enjoying this little boy that runs around these days. He's full of adventure, he speaks so eloquently, and he now uses this deeper voice when he uses a larger lexicon for his age. He carries him self like a kid, his mannerisms mock pre-teens and he's full of insight, on everything. I doubt it's the hair that caused this surge in his attitude and behavior, but the hair adds a lot to his whole persona.
Mock me if you want, but one's hair says a lot about them. Color, shape, size and style all indicate who we are and what phase of life we're in. Hairstyles have defined generations and shaped our country since the beginning of time. I realize that for now, I get to call the shots and I get to be the one who dresses my kids, picks their hairstyle and even decides which activities to put them in, but in a few years, I won't get to make those choices and I'll really get to see what kind of boy, or man, Henrik decides to be. To me, it's one of the more stressful, but fun parts to parenting. Call me crazy, but I believe that Henrik likes his hair. I think he notices that he now matches other boys on the playground and I think he's starting to believe that he's a kid and not a baby. While he insists he's only "Little Big" he's starting to cross the line into childhood and I cannot wait to see where it takes us.