Monday, September 06, 2010

Milestone: First Haircut

We've been talking about getting Zozer's hair cut on and off for months now. Sometimes she says she wants it cut, and then she'll change her mind. Sometimes I say I want it cut, and then I'll change my mind. M just sighs and goes with the flow. (He loves living with two women. Really, he does. Just ask him.)

The haircut thing is a big damn deal. Because we had never, ever cut it. It started out as necessity, because she didn't have much hair. Then it grew into laziness because I couldn't find time to do it or even think about it (i.e. the "grad school years"). Then it became all about who would cut it? Where? When? Then it turned into This Thing, this whole "we haven't ever cut her hair how could we now?" thing.

Finally, I came to the conclusion that it was time. The hair at the ends didn't match the hair at the roots. At all. Conditioner wasn't really helping. It looked kinda straggly and ratty all the time, and she kept getting it in her food. Every day we'd yank it back into a pony or pigs or clamp a bazillion barrettes into it to keep it out of her face. We hit The Big Five and I decided that whether I liked it or not, my little girl is growing up. I guess there was something about five years that made me think that okay, now I can let go of the hair.

At my own hair appointment last week (made on the spur of the moment because I couldn't wait another week for my regularly scheduled appointment because OMG the damn curls were back with a vengeance), I asked my stylist, Ruth, if she cut children's hair. "Sure," she said confidently. Having been to Ruth twice now, and loving her (she's adorable and gives me the best cuts of my life without breaking the bank), I knew in my gut that she was the right person to do it. I made an appointment for Zoe for Saturday morning, the day of her big birthday party that she's been talking about non-stop for a month. I asked M later what he thought, knowing I had time to cancel. He was surprised, but supportive. (Good man, M.)

I waited a few days before talking to Zoe, wondering how she'd feel about it. Finally, I tentatively brought it up one day while we were in the car.

"Yes, Mommy?"
"Would you like to get your hair cut?"

No pause, no reflection, just unequivocal affirmation that she was ready. Whew.

The night before, she started to get a little anxious. Fear of the unknown, that sort of thing. "What does it feel like?" We did a test snip in her bedroom, I armed with scissors and M armed with a baggie to catch that precious first lock. I had pulled the strand around so she could watch me do it. "Wow," she said. "That didn't even hurt!" Little did she know that my stomach had seized up and I wanted to vomit and cry at the same time.

Ridiculous. I have had short hair most of my life. I love short hair. As one of my friends told me recently, "You rock the short hair." I know that hair does not a woman make, and that in the grand scheme of things it's pretty unimportant. So why was it so hard to cut my daughter's hair?

The next day we got up and ate breakfast. Zoe didn't eat much, worried, I think, about her appointment. We went to the salon and I took "before" pictures outside. Ruth came and got us soon after we checked in, and off we went. Zo loved having a booster in the same seat Mommy uses for her hair cuts. She thought the giant cape that made her tiny head look even smaller was hysterical. She got aggravated that the extra hair Ruth sectioned off and clamped got in her face and was itchy. She made faces at the camera and jabbered in her Zoe-speak that I think only Hoot understands. She meowed. In essence, she was perfectly Zoe. Even as The Hair was cut off.

And then, before we knew it, she was done. And the results were nothing short of amazing. Ruth said, "I put some long layers in" and it was perfect. Zoe's hair came to life. It looks thicker and healthy and gorgeous. The curls bounce just enough. And even though my baby girl looks older, I love it.

Zoe loves it, too. The cut matches her personality perfectly. It's sweet and sassy, just like her. After the appointment, the realization she hadn't eaten much for breakfast sunk in. "I'm hungry!" She ate waffles with Grandma-and-Grandpa-Who-Live-Behind-Zoe's-House and Uncle Steve and then could barely contain herself until her big party, where she reveled in being five and having a new haircut that everyone made much ado over.

I have two baggies of hair on my dresser. One has the little lock that I cut the night before her party, and the other has the pony Ruth cut that morning. The hair represents so much and so little all at the same time. I suppose this in another one of those giant parenthood steps that we all go through.

(I was reminded this weekend by my in-laws of the photograph they have of M getting his first haircut. He's screaming like a banshee, terrified. In his defense, he said they used electric clippers and the buzzing sound was frightening. I can see that. Still, I want to see if I can get the picture to scan, so I can show it here with a shot of Zoe grinning during her first haircut. Cute!)


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