Future hippie?

Published 9:44 pm Thursday, November 13, 2008

My eldest son has an irrational fear of haircuts.

Some people have told us that he will get over it — just keep taking him and he will become used to the routine, maybe even enjoy it. What a crock!

The pediatrician told me it’s a control issue. Give him a choice and he will make the right one, the kind doctor said on Wednesday. We’ll see.

The kid is 4 years old and he has not had a haircut yet — not one — where he didn’t scream, hit, kick and beg to get down. He can’t be reasoned with, can’t be bribed by chocolate or balloons or stickers.

We take him to those cutesy overpriced kid salons where he can sit in a little airplane and watch “Surf’s Up” to his heart’s desire. Does that distract him from the clippers of death? Not a chance. The fear overcomes him and he turns into an embarrassingly sweaty, red, slobbery mess.

When we were in Richmond we took him and our youngest son to a cute kiddie salon called “Diva’s and Dudes.” He watched with mild interest as Jamie got his hair cut (angel baby hardly made a peep) but when it was his turn, forget it. It would have been easier to catch a greased pig.

We had to leave … and his hair continued to get shaggier and shaggier. He even started complaining that his hair was “too wong.”

A few months ago, I decided I had had enough and I picked him up from day care and — sinning against one of my cardinal rules for living a literate life — drove him over to an establishment called Kids Kuts.

Let me just say, I have made it a point for most of my adult years not to patronize establishments that misspell their names just for the sake of being cute. It pained me to go to Kids Kuts, but it was open late and I was getting desperate. I thought maybe if I surprised him with a haircut, instead of talking about it all day and letting the fear build, that he would sit still and get snipped. Ha!

MaryAnn was very patient with him. She let him hold the clippers, gave him lollipops, put in a movie, didn’t make him wear a nerdy cape. She bent down and spoke to him right at his level, told him he didn’t have anything to be afraid of. Secretly patting myself on the back for finding MaryAnn on my own (read: Google), I let my guard slip.

And the kid let her have it. Kicking, screaming, crying and — this is the best part — admonishing.

“YOU ARE NOT NICE!” he yelled at MaryAnn. “YOU ARE BAD!”

Somehow, during all of this, we managed to get the boy’s hair cut. MaryAnn ignored the abuse and kept on cutting. And when it was all over, they were buddies. It was like nothing had ever happened. MaryAnn gave him a couple of stamps on his hands, let him use her super neat barber brush to wipe the stray hairs off his neck and sent us packing.

The haircut was $15. I gave her a $10 tip. It wasn’t nearly enough.