Operation Hack Job: Misadventures in Haircutting
Oh dear. Where to begin? Let’s start with the baby mullet. It’s been driving me crazy. My son is fourteen months old and I figured it was high time to take him for his first haircut. And that time happened to be yesterday afternoon, four-ish, after a less than optimal naptime. Just setting the stage here.
I take the li’l guy to a local Snip-its, the kids’ haircutting place that’s supposed to be great with kids and know what the heck they’re doing. The company’s tagline is Getting Your Kid’s Hair Cut Shouldn’t Make You Want to Pull out Yours. Yeah, whatever, Snip-its.
On the way there, I have a thought: I should get him some kind of treat for getting his first haircut. And as soon as the thought enters my mind, it vanishes. A treat? Hell no. Mama should get a treat. The haircut is the treat, dammit. Still I feel guilty somehow, like I’m about to sentence my child to life.
I take him in and he is his regular, friendly, public self. Good. I’m holding him because he can’t stand on his own and I’m asked to fill out a brief information card. Really? I mean, I’m good ‘n’ all, but I only have so many hands. Somehow I manage and write the critical details.
The lady hands Boo a piece of rectangular plastic and tells him that when he’s done, he can put it in the slot of some huge plastic thing (a mailbox?) and get a prize. Hold up. Does she not see he’s fourteen months old? And even if she thinks he’s older, does she not realize he has no freakin’ clue what she just said? My eyes dart from left to right and back again, hoping someone else is catching the idiocy of it all. Uh…
In case you think there’s something wrong with me — why didn’t I know what the big plastic thingie was, right? — here is a picture of the inside of a Snip-its. I’ll give you a moment to shield your eyes lest your retinas burn. Waiting…waiting…
I am totally blaming Snip-its if my kid has ADHD. Is it any wonder I didn’t know what the plastic thing was? Senses violated, I couldn’t possibly be expected to create any logic from this scenario. Here’s a pic I found of the reception desk. You tell me what that creepy plastic thing is.
You have no idea, do you?
Boo is scooped up by a twentysomething, placed in a mini salon chair, and buckled in. The wailing commences. You know that scene in the Christmas Story where the kids get to see Santa but then just scream when they get on his lap? It was like that, but with tons of tears. A lot. A real lot. And there was screaming and more sobbing. And wailing and crying for Mama or Dada or anyone on the planet who could save an innocent child from the horror of haircutting.
Twentysomething flicks on a movie, hands Boo a computer mouse with Elmo on it, clicking it frantically to show him how it’s done, and holds a running monologue through the whole process. For real she is telling my son he can play with a mouse and watch a movie. There are five problems here: (1) he is screaming and not listening to your sorry self; (2) he doesn’t watch movies and has no interest in what’s on that television elevated too high for him anyway; (3) he has no idea who Elmo is; (4) you’ve just handed a computer mouse to a baby; (5) he’s freakin’ wailing, you moron.
And we’re just getting started.
She convinces me it’s better not to use the scissors because he’s so upset. She says this at least six times and without any periods. The punctuation-less monologue continues. through. the. whole. painful. ordeal. I’m dying inside as my child is screaming. This is not good.
Her: Just a little more here hold on a second I’m almost done just right here you’re okay it’s fine everything’s okay okay and just a little here and we’ll give you a piece of hair to bring home and —
Me: That’s okay. I’m not really into the whole ‘keeping a piece of hair thing.’
Her: Oh okay, well maybe you can put it in your baby book.
Dear reader, please click here for my thoughts on baby books.
At one point I say I just need you to stop for a minute. And get this, she doesn’t stop, so I’m left to believe she actually thinks I’ve just said this to my baby and expect a response from him. Before my brain fully registers this, she’s finished.
I take a look. Um, did I mention I just wanted the mullet gone and a trim over his ears? So I take a look and I kid you not, there is literally a line across the back of his head where she trimmed. I’m forced to take issue with the line, she says she can fix it, and oh crap, we’re on again. The sobbing never ceases throughout this little convo.
Twentysomething goes at it again, monologue and all, talking over screaming baby. I’m feeling like the most horrible mother ever for doing this. And then finally, finally, it’s over and I get to hold my boy. And he calms down within minutes. Whew.
I attempt to gather my things while holding my boy. He decides he wants to get down and hold my hand to walk beside me. This is good. He’s getting calmer. And then he does what he does best. He smiles at another “stylist.” I love this kid.
I’m looking through the diaper bag for my keys when a third “stylist” gives Boo a certificate documenting his first haircut. Attached to it is a tiny bag with hair it. And I’m creeped out. I don’t know why but it creeps me out. And allow me to repeat: She gave this to a fourteen-month-old. Paper. Baggie. Hair. Good thinkin’, genius. Lucky for me, Boo is pretty fascinated by the whole thing and just wants to hold on to the book! Alright alright, kiddo, hold the “book.”
Still looking for my keys, it truly dawns on me…I have to pay for this experience. I kid you not I was ready to walk out the door. Oh, and don’t forget that my son has this stupid plastic thing they’re so excited about. He has no idea what to do with it, so I take it from him, put it in the slot, and get the oh-so-exciting prize. It’s a tattoo. Of a characterized hairdryer. A tattoo. For a baby.
I pay. I even have to tip her. And my gums practically ache I’m so annoyed by this. And yay — we get to leave! I paid for ten minutes of pure hell! Woo hoo!
We leave the place and I look at the back of Boo’s head. His hair is uneven and much shorter than I’d wanted, and tiny red marks dot the back of his neck. I want to cry. I dated a guy once who had hair that short in the back; he was in the Navy! It looks awful. But there’s no way in hell I’m going back in there. I’ll fix it later, I reassure myself. (And I do as best I can. I’ll have my mom cut his hair from now on. She’s crafted some serious bowl cuts in her day and can wield a scissors with the best of ’em.)
I’m trying not to get too worked up about the whole thing — the bad hair, the red marks, the crying, the insensitivity. I’m trying not to march back in there and tell her how awful she was. And I’m trying to find my keys.
I walk back to the car. Aha! There they are! Right next to the car seat where I left them. In the car…the locked car.