Life Lessons: Hair Edition

My ex-husband took the boys to Chicago last week. Now, my ex-in-laws are nice people, but they are definitely mainstream people, and my youngest son is not exactly a mainstream kid. He’s like me.

My son had this lovely faux-hawk that reached his chin. I thought it was adorable. My friends and family thought it was adorable. Even his mainstream-style-appreciating older brother thought it was adorable—ahem, cool. But my ex-in-laws did not think it was adorable.

I wasn’t there, so I didn’t get to hear exactly how much ribbing he got, though historically they tease him—affectionately, according to my ex—a lot more than I think is necessary. All I know for sure was that when he came home he wanted to cut his hair, and was promised that if he did, his aunt would buy him a toy.

I explained that hair grows at about ½ an inch a month, and how it would take a full year to regrow his bangs to their current length. I looked at pictures of hairstyles online with him. I made him wait two days. I even enlisted some other people to tell him how cute his hair looked long. He was adamant that he wanted it cut. Since he is starting a new school this month, I thought perhaps he wanted a more traditional look, and I didn’t want to push my weirdness onto my son.

I took him to the salon, and made a fatal error—I went and sat down after explaining what he wanted to the hairdresser. She did exactly what he asked for, but I should have had her cut only half the length and made him wait a few minutes before going any farther. But the salon was crowded, I felt like a nagging mother, so I sat. 

He liked it for about ten minutes, then he wanted a wig. There were tears. To be honest, his new hair is really adorable, too, but it was quite a drastic change. I spiked up his bangs and tried to find a different way to wear it that might make him happier. I wished I had made him think about it a little longer. I spent most of yesterday in a state of guilt and regret.

And yet today I'm glad that I didn't intercede. 

I don’t know if the aunt in question will ever send him the promised toy. Even if she does, he’ll have to decide if a $9.99 action figure was worth it. I once bet my brother two-weeks’ worth of my allowance that he wouldn’t drink liquid saccharine. I figured if he drank it, he’d die and I’d never have to pay him. He drank it, lived, and I still never paid him. (Matt, I owe you two bucks, and I’m grateful that you lived.) Childhood is filled with dares and bets, and learning to weigh the consequences when it is just hair is a valuable lesson.

Beyond bets, though, I know that I have made many impulsive hair decisions in my life. I’ve cut bangs at sleepovers, dyed my hair all sorts of poorly thought out colors, and it took me until I was 23 to stop trying to cut my own hair—or at least the back of it. I do appreciate the value in learning by natural consequences.

I hope that next time, he weighs the pros and cons of taking a bet, and to delay that urge to act on impulse a little bit longer. If so, we might make it through his teen years after all. (But now we’re going to see what color we can dye his hair.)

 

 

 



Want me in your inbox?

Copyright © 2018 Lara Lillibridge

Public domain imagery courtesy of Snappygoat.com


Tweet Follow Only_Mama