As a parent, it is ineveitable that your child will one day say something to you that will make you fall out of your chair. Something like, “Mom, I’m calling from jail,” or “I know I’m still in high school, but we’re getting married,” or “Um, I think I just superglued my own eye shut!” Obviously, some of those are more likely than others (don’t keep the superglue near the eyedrops, people), but they happen, and you should be prepared.
Fortunately, when your kids are younger, the magnitude of these announcements is much lower on the Parental Richter Scale. When your child is still too young to be arrested, you are more likely to hear things like “Mom, have you seen my blue lego? Oh, it’s in my nose!” And while slightly traumatizing for all parties involved, these things aren’t end of the world. But there is something really scary you may hear. I know, because I just heard it: “Look mom, I’m playing barber shop!”
By the the time I heard those words, obviously, it was too late. I turned around to see my five year old with safety scissors in one hand, slicing through a hank of hair in the other hand. It all moved in slow motion for me- I turned my head, saw the scissors starting to close on her hair, and heard myself shouting “Noooooooo” as I tried to stop it. Snap, snap, snap went each individual thread of hair, like the strands of a fraying rope bursting as our hero dangles above a cliff in an action flick. Clearly, my kid giving herself a new hairstyle is not life or death, but if I was forced to choose between rescuing Tom Cruise over the Grand Canyon or my daughter’s super-cute haircut, I’m not sure Tom would be the winner.
Fortunately, my daughter didn’t get too much hair off in her little experiment. When she shakes her head, the short part of her hair kind of blends in with the rest of it. It could have been worse. When my mom was a kid, she decided to see if pinking shears would make the same fun zig zag pattern on her bangs as it did on fabric. She kept cutting and cutting until all that was left were little tufts of crab grass hair sticking straight up from her forehead, with absolutely no zigging whatsoever. Me, my foray into kindergarten hair styling involved a playdate with my friend cutting the left side of my hair straight back right above my ear, while leaving the right side alone, all the way to the middle of my back. When my friend’s mother walked in, she took one look at me and started sobbing. When my own mother came in to see the damage, she fell to the ground in a fit of giggles. It’s all about priorities, I guess.
My daughter still keeps asking if she can cut her hair herself. I understand why she wants to do it. There is just something mesmerizing about the way hair feels as it is being snipped. It just begs to be cut. When I gently told her no, she asked why. “Hair doesn’t grow on trees,” I said. This is quite possibly the stupidest thing I have ever said in my entire life. But she just nodded as though there was some sense to it. Then she asked if she could cut the hair on her miniture Plum Pudding doll, and I said yes. I had one Barbie as a kid, and she had a Joan Jett-inspired punk hairstyle, thanks to my fancy scissor-work, and she still got a date with Ken. Plum Pudding has lots of friends- a slightly hipper hairdo won’t hurt her.
Like I said, barber shop is no big deal. It could be worse, like playing doctor, or CEO of a major oil conglomerate. Cutting your own hair is kind of a rite of passage. Supergluing your own eye shut, however, is just plain dumb. I think I will go move the eye drops, just to be safe.