Haircuts Don’t Hurt

“Haircuts don’t hurt! They won’t give you a boo-boo, okay?”

That’s what I kept telling Joshua Bear while we sat in the little salon at the mall yesterday morning. There were only two hairdressers working when we walked in, so we had to wait a bit. The salon is divided by a wall; young children have special seats and DVD players on one side, and the standard “grown-up” salon is on the other side of the wall. Joshua actually waited very patiently for a hairdresser to become available, and Toy Story 3 was a big help with that.

What wasn’t helpful? That would be the other little boy, right around Joshua’s age, also waiting for a haircut…and clearly not happy to be getting one.

The couple and their son Mason were walking into the kids’ salon as we were approaching the desk, and I could tell right away that Mason was not going to sit quietly and let someone cut his hair. I briefly spoke with his his mom, and she said he was getting a haircut so he’d look good for pictures with Santa and a lunch date with Grandma. Sure enough, when the hairdresser approached and started cutting, Mason screamed and cried and flailed. And then he screamed and cried and flailed some more.

He screamed and cried and flailed until he threw up all over himself. To say the hairdresser was angry was an understatement. My immediate thought was that maybe she shouldn’t be cutting children’s hair if she was going to act that way, but I digress.

Joshua just sat and watched, not making a sound. I had a really bad feeling that his own haircut wasn’t going to go well after what he was being forced to witness. Poor Mason literally looked at the buzzer like it was going to scalp him. I just kept thinking, Thank God Joshua won’t need the buzzer.

But he needed his sideburns (would you call them sideburns on a toddler?) trimmed, too.

Oh, sh*t.

The other hairdresser, Janice, approached us with a cape, a lollipop, and a smile. Joshua just stared at her and I could feel the tantrum coming…

Please don’t let him scream and cry and flail and vomit like Mason did. Please?

Before I go any further, I should probably add that the last time Joshua let a professional hairdresser cut his hair, he was 7 months old and my hairdresser gave him a trim. He looked like this:

Since it had been so long since he’d gotten a “real” haircut, I worried this wouldn’t end well…so I came prepared! I reached into my bag, extracted some miniature peppermint patties and peanut butter cups, and scattered them across the table before Joshua and hoped for the best. (Yes, I know, bribes are bad. Candy is bad. But not letting a hairdresser cut his hair for over a year and a half is worse!) He eyed the candy, then looked at me, and then at Janice; Janice began spraying Joshua’s hair with water and he immediately starting ducking away. She offered him the lollipop and asked me to hold his head still, so I clamped his head on both sides and prayed I wouldn’t need to graduate to a chokehold like Mason’s mom did. Janice decided to cut his sideburns first, so I let go of his head and instead cuddled his side to my chest, exposing one side of his head. Janice lifted the buzzer to his hair, and Joshua flinched but didn’t cry. We switched sides and repeated the process on the other side of Joshua’s head, and he flinched again but still didn’t cry. Janice put the buzzer down and grabbed a comb and scissor, asked me to hold his head again, and started clipping. Joshua flinched once more but didn’t cry. I loosened my grip on his head until I was just touching him, as opposed to holding him in place. He kept still, for the most part, while Janice clipped away. I noticed in the mirror that Joshua was staring at the candy, lollipop stick hanging out of his mouth.

My kid will do virtually anything for a piece of chocolate, and this was proving to be no different.

By the time Janice got to his bangs, I had completely let go of his head and he was just sitting there. She finished cutting, I looked it over, and we deemed the grooming a success. Janice removed the cape while I offered Joshua a peppermint patty and lifted him out of the chair. I promised him a ride on the choo-choo if he cooperated for the haircut, so off to the choo-choo we went!

That’s my boy! Thank you, Jesus.

So here’s the before:

And the after:

And, just because it’s so cute, here’s Joshua off in la-la-land after we left the mall. Haircuts are exhausting, don’t you know?

See, baby? Haircuts don’t hurt. 🙂