Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rites of Passage

There are many rites of passage in childhood, especially in the early years:  first smile, first tooth, first step...the list goes on.  But for me, one of the most poignant rites is the rite of the first haircut.

For me, the thing that makes the first haircut different from other rites is that it is one that is initiated by you, not the child.  First smiles, steps, words...they are all in due time with the development of the child, but with a first haircut, it is you, the parent, who decides when it is done, unless, of course, your child gets ahold of the scissors...but that's for another time.

Part of the allure of a baby is its wispy soft hair; little ringlets that frame the face or curl around the ears, hair that your child was born with, and little boys who can have long hair because they are just that...little.

And when you cut that hair, it seems that these babies who were just snuggled in their cribs the night before, are no longer 'babies', no, not even toddlers, but kids.  Never again will their hair be so wispy, and never again will they have that long hair little boy look.

 For any of you who know Gabriel, you are well acquainted with his luscious locks of beautiful, dark blonde hair:

But I was given an ultimatum:  either I cut his hair by the end of May, or Jimmy will cut his hair.

Now, I do not profess myself to be a professional stylist in anyway.  I do brush my hair, usually, and put it in a ponytail.  I can braid, and even do a french braid, and I am the one who keeps Jimmy's hair in line, but that is where my expertise ends.

How do I go from this:
to a little boy hair cut?  But I was much more confident in my abilities than in Jimmy's!  So I knew that I had no choice.

I have been putting it off all month so far.  There's no time, I said.  He's too tired, I claimed.  It's still chilly, I argued.

Today, though, I had no more excuses, no more reasons.  The weather in warming up, so Gabriel is getting hot in his long hair, and he woke up happy from his nap.  I was cornered.  Fresh out of reasons to not do it, I reluctantly gathered my hair cutting tools and we headed out to the backyard.

I was nervous at first.  I mean, I have never gone from long to short like this before, especially on a little guy who is much more interested in playing and looking at things than holding his head still!

After I made the first few cuts, though, I really got into a rhythm, and started enjoying myself and the emerging product.  My grandmother used to cut hair, and my dad always cut our hair, so using the minimal knowledge that I got from watching them, I snipped and trimmed, and this is what we got:

And I made it through with no tears...for either one of us!

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