Flashback Friday: Haircuts

He’ll sit for them now–but we are only 2 years removed from the nightmare that was getting a professional haircut.  Here’s a little reminder of what it was like to visit, as Ben calls it, “the haircut house”

Aug 6, 2010

So, my boy inherited a thick, beautiful head of hair. Thick like mine is (when it’s short), blonde (like mine was in my youth–ah sweet youth!) and coarse. (I don’t know who the hell gave him that one–both mr. mommy and I have soft fine hair, as do his grandmothers. I swear–his hair feels asian!) He also inherited my cowlick(s) which can be quite comedic as his hair gets longer. Lately, it was starting to get “moppy”, and ever efficient mommy that I am, I declared it was time for a haircut.

Moppy

He’s had 4 so far. Or maybe 5. Let’s just say it ain’t a regular thing. First–his hair doesn’t grow that fast, and second, like most toddlers, he hates having his haircut. Hates. I’m using the word hate here to describe a haircut. Hate.

I try to take him to my hairdresser, who will cut his hair for a reasonable fee. And while he gets a fabulous haircut–it is physically and mentally exhausting for all of us when we are done. She has a specific haircutting area–he never wants to stay in it. I never bring the right toy. He won’t sit in a barber’s chair for nothing. He WILL NOT wear that noisy cape. And he doesn’t, not anyone, no way, forget it lady and your sharp scissors, want ANYONE touching his HAIR.

None of this surprises me. He rarely lets me comb it either (thus the comedic cowlicks). I’m not even convinced he likes me washing it. (but he tolerates it because he LOVES the rinsing part) He doesn’t like us to dry his hair with a towel. He used to like the blowdryer, but that lasted all of a week. When it comes to this boys hair–HANDS OFF!

So, since the three times we’ve had Tonia cut his hair were so exhausting, I tried one of those “kid” places. The one I tried a while back sported a particular floating object–yellow in color. It was the only time Ben sat in a chair–and got the crappiest haircut I’ve ever seen. Nothing to thin out the thickness, or address the cowlicks. I had to spend more time on his hair after that cut than any other he’s had.

So my thought this last week was this–he sat in the chair at the crappy haircut place…maybe he will again at a different haircut place. Maybe the stimuli in these places will be enough to engage him briefly enough to let a professional get in there and cut.

So I packed snacks and his favorite DVD into my purse and we headed off to Woodland hills to a “kid friendly” and even “Autism friendly” salon.

WE get there and the place is LOUD. Benji is interested in the toys, not the chair. Strike one. The DVD players advertised online are not working and may have never worked. So the DVD I spent 15 minutes looking for that morning is useless. He is more interested in the train table. OK, she says, I’ll cut while he plays. And I think–yeah! That’s how we have to do it. I try to keep him in one place and she gets in there, cutting here, snipping there, thinning, thinning. And I think, this is going to work. IT really is. It’s going to work.

“All done hands”

This was my son’s way of saying, quit it lady! Oh dear. Only half of his head is cut at this point, so it’s not like I can say, oh, just trim a little bit more and we’re good to go. No. We’re committed to a cut now, and it has to continue.

So now begins the chase. He wants to play on the airhockey(!) table. I corral him back to the haircut area. A few more snips. More running away, more herding, more snips. Now, I called this place because they advertised an autism friendly haircut–meaning it would not be rushed. Guess what. Her next appt. showed up and here we were, trying to finish this cut because the other mom had a snooty look on her face.

Then came the clippers.

Yeah–we’d had that discussion. I told her he doesn’t like them. But to finish his cut (yes–we had gotten to that point, phew!) she had to either take clippers to the side, or snip with the sharp scissors, which required stillness. So I grab him, put him on my lap, hold his arms down and she gets one side done. With the clippers. The other side was well nigh impossible. So I told her to leave it with a few pieces I knew I could trim at home once he calmed down, paid the lady and high tailed it out of there. Once we were in the car, we were both able to take a breath and enjoy a moment of silence. That’s before Ben began his mantra of “go through tunnel”–which is kind-of this phrase which could mean:

a) literally drive me through a tunnel
b) I want to go
c) I’m hungry
d) you’re the worst mommy in the world, and I curse the day you ever brought me to this wretched salon with all its stimuli and smells and you let that lady touch my hair and to top it off you wouldn’t even let me play airhockey! I’m calling child protective services as soon as we get home!

D is variable, by the way, usually in reference to whatever messed-up activity I just had him participate in.

So after we get home, alcohol is consumed and naps are handed out, I google “haircutting + toddlers+autism” Even without the “autism” search, the answer is a resounding “DO IT YOURSELF, DUMBASS!” which is what my gut told me about a year ago. I kinda knew with that last visit to Tonia that I should just learn to cut it myself and be done with this stress! But, as stated in previous posts, I don’t always listen to my gut. I kept getting convinced that he needed a pro to cut his hair. And that was because I wanted it short. I mean short short. Practically high and tight. And he is cute as hell with short hair. But you know what, he’s also cute as hell with the mop–a little cuter, maybe. And with a pair of scissors and a DAY (or 3)to cut his hair, I can probably keep it at a moppy exisitence until he is old enough to a) sit still and b) not scream in bloody terror at anyone wielding scissors. Luckily though, this week’s cut is pretty short. So I’ve got a good 6 months before I have to even make a snip…

His most recent cut 2012. Watch out GQ!

Categories: Autism, parenting, Sensory issues | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Haircuts

  1. jimreeve

    Your son looks pretty slick with his new haircut. And after hearing you describe his hair, I am now jealous. I used to have thick hair when I was a kid, but now it’s falling out at an alarming rate. My son resists getting a hair cut too, but I usually do it myself in our kitchen. After I shave my son’s head, he likes the feel of the hair when he touches it. And it makes getting ready in the mornings much easier.

  2. blogginglily

    he cuts his hair like i do. . .

  3. My husband really wanted a professional to cut our son’s hair, but after our one visit (which involved three adults holding down our blubbering son), hubby conceded that maybe I should do it at home.
    Miracle of miracles, my son has become more tolerant of letting me cut his hair at bath time. Unfortunately, he became so cooperative that I got a bit carried away and cut off a lot of hair . . . in several different places on his head.
    My husband’s feedback?
    “It looks like he has mange.”
    True, but his hair is short!
    Your guy looks cute in both the moppy style and GQ style. :)

  4. Love this cut! He likes rinsing?! Cuz my kid screams bloody murder when we rinse! What is the secret? And, yes, I cut my kid’s hair. Luckily, his adult half-sis, will travel the 150 miles to our house about a week after one of my rare cuts (professional stylist) to fix her brother’s hair!

  5. What a handsome haircut! My son doesn’t have autism, but he does have a brain injury that makes processing new experiences sometimes difficult. He hates haircuts. We finally did try to do it ourselves, and while it worked better than getting disapproving looks from hairdressers and patrons, his hair often looks ridiculous. What can you do, though, you know?

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