It was lunchtime, and I’d gotten Abigail and Jonathan seated at the table when the phone rang. I answered the call, and took Nicolas into the nursery to change his diaper while I chatted briefly (I have one of those newfangled headset things which make accomplishing tasks easier while talking). I was only gone for about 3 minutes. When I returned I was shocked to see a little pile of lovely strawberry blonde hair on the floor below Abigail’s chair. There she sat with scissors in hand about to chop off another lock. “NO!!!” I managed to blurt out before I started hyperventilating.
Well, if she has a career as a hairdresser in her future, hopefully her haircutting skills will improve. She didn’t do such a swell job on this her first try. It seems she took a large chunk out of the middle of her bangs and then neatly lopped about 4 inches off either side in front on the long part of her hair. Which had finally grown long and thick enough to pull back in a ponytail. And which had actually been quite pretty, all one length except for her little fringe of bangs.
When I asked her why she was cutting her hair she answered very seriously, “Mom, it’s been a long time since I had a haircut.” This should reinforce the fact that preschoolers don’t have a real well-developed sense of time, because I had just taken her and Jonathan for cuts last month. But she really believed she needed a haircut! Furthermore, in her mind, she wasn’t breaking any rules: I’d never stipulated that we aren’t to use our little play scissors for hair-cutting!
My hairdresser managed to fix up the sides of Abigail’s hair such that they are neatly angled and look a bit more purposeful. As far as the bangs though, it’s just going to take some time. And coincidently, preschool pictures are scheduled for Tuesday. 🙂 We may choose to have her wear a decorative hat!
But this little incident caused me to think back to my own childhood. I remember a scenario rather similar to this one. I was a little older, around 8 I think, when I heard my mom mention that she needed to trim my little sister Sandy’s bangs. “Well,” I thought to myself, “I can help Mom by doing this little job for her.” I know at the time that it never occurred to me that I might be transgressing by cutting my little sister’s hair. Well, I got out my very own pair of blunt-edged play scissors and went to town on Sandy’s coif. If I remember correctly, I trimmed those bangs almost all the way back to her scalp. What I didn’t know was, my mom had already given Sandy the bang trim before I got to her. Oops.
Little Sandy, who had a high hairline and a cute cherubic round face at the time, looked a bit strange for quite a while, thanks to her really helpful big sister. It’s probably good she didn’t know enough to be horrified at what I’d done. Sorry again, Sandy!!
But, thinking back on my own adventures in hair-cutting helped temper my reaction to my own daughter’s behavior. She is much younger than I was when I first forayed into hair-cutting and deserves a chance to learn what is appropriate and what is not. This was a fairly harmless way to do just that. In general, Abigail is quite trustworthy in many things for being only four, and on the whole, she’s very obedient. And certainly having two younger brothers so close in age behind her has caused Jay and I to expect alot of her, and maybe even more than we should. In the grand scheme of things this is really no big deal. And as she said to me yesterday, “Mom, I’ll never cut my hair again!”