• J Mess


Bailing my husband out of jail for beating up the barber would have been interesting.

Nothing surprises me as a parent anymore. Except possibly how much there is that I don't know. I literally learn something new everyday. Did you know that it's totally normal for 2 year olds to be scared of everything? Nathan is constantly talking about "scawy monstahs," insists on sleeping with his light on, is sporadically still terrified of our cat, and is always asking "what's that noise????" He's scared of getting his hair washed in the bath, scared of getting diaper cream put on. My husband frequently opines that Nathan needs to stop being such a fraidy, yet it certainly seems unfair to tell a 2 year old he has to "man up." If I have to assure him over and over that the noise is just the windshield wipers, or have a more expensive electricity bill because all my lights are on, that's okay. If I have to explain that there's no such thing as monsters and that Bailey is too lazy of a cat to care less about Nathan, that's also okay. But if I now have to give my child a haircut in my house... that is not okay.

As I'm sure is not uncommon, our ceremonial first haircut did not go well. We waited until Nathan was 16 months old, which was easy to do considering he was an egg-head for much of his early life. He cried and cried, but I wasn't expecting anything less at a first haircut. The colorful kid racecar seat was somewhat alluring, but we lost him early when the barber tried to put the smock on, which he adamantly refused. It was all downhill from there. When it was time for the second haircut, I blindly hoped that he'd recognize the place, watch YouTube videos and somehow just get through it. And while it was not nearly as bad as the first experience, it did not go well when the barber chose to use the buzzer instead of the scissors and Nathan reacted as if we were sticking his head into a shredder. My husband was upset because Nathan's hair was so short it looked like he was in the military, but I was happy we likely wouldn't have to go back to the barbershop anytime soon.

Not sure what's worse to experience. A stranger going at my child's head with a sharp pair of scissors or a loud, buzzing, cutting machine.

So now we go an extraordinary amount of time between haircuts. Josh claims he likes Nathan's hair long. I hate it. I think he looks like he has a mushroom for a head and it looks unkempt. But I also don't feel like dealing with his unpredictable haircut behavior. The other day when I couldn't take it any longer because Nathan's insane hair had begun devouring his ears, I convinced Josh to take Nathan for a haircut. He was armed with multiple lollipops and videos on his iPhone, and my husband is usually the calming influence of the two of us, so I figured this might be the best haircut experience yet. Josh has also begun extensively explaining to Nathan everything that we're going to do everyday so he feels prepared and knows what to expect. What could go wrong?

However when they came in the door, Josh was explaining to Nathan how "dad has to finish cutting your hair after what just happened." Oh god. Apparently Nathan has haircut PTSD and the second he walked into the barber shop, he began to shake and cower. The haircut included ear-shattering screaming as if someone was trying to murder him, and Josh having to hold Nathan's head in a vice grip. Yet somehow in the middle of this wonderful experience, the barber decided it'd be a good idea to take a personal FaceTime call from his wife while my kid screamed incessantly. When my husband questioned why he would do that, he claimed it was an emergency. It wasn't. This untruth angered Josh, who began yelling at the man, prompting the manager to come over, apologize, and offer to have someone else finish the haircut. But by then Nathan was hysterical, so Josh took him home mid-haircut, insisting to me that we could just finish it ourselves since we obviously cannot go back to that shop ever again after allegedly almost coming to blows with a barber.

I'm not a stylist. I don't cut hair. I used to cut my Barbie's hair when I was a kid, but that didn't turn out well. I barely cut nails. I hate cutting the cat's or Nathan's nails. I once cut one of Nathan's nails too short and it bled for what seemed like weeks. I am definitely not prepared to use a scissor anywhere near a squirmy and scared toddler's head. So when I finally got my confidence, I went into the dining room to find Josh impulsively trimming Nathan's hair with kitchen shears at the table. Luckily it ended up not looking too crazy, but we certainly need to figure out a better solution ASAP. Because even if we manage to avoid haircuts, as my dad astutely pointed out, the first dentist appointment should be a blast. Oh and by not too crazy, I mean if you really liked Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber...

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