As all parents with children in either daycare or school know, when you see the teacher/school/daycare number appear on your cell phone in the middle of the day, your heart stops for at least one second. When the voice on the other end says, “The children are fine,” you are able to take a deep breath knowing that nothing too terrible has happened, and then you wait to find out just what your precious little one has done to prompt a call during the day.
“Mr. J is fine, but we had a little incident. He cut his hair.”
The latest such call in regards to our oldest occurred about 2 weeks ago and went something like this, “Mr. J is fine, but we had a little incident. He cut his hair.” I found myself at a loss for words at first, but then I managed to say “Oh…really?!” Well in fact, he did quite an impressive cut with those safety scissors basically giving himself a “buzz cut” in the shape of a triangle right smack dab front and center on his head. When I went to pick him up from school that day, the teachers just gave me a little smile and laugh and said “Oh Mr. J…he is one silly kid.” And then without missing a beat, my little man came running down the hallway as happy as could be and gave me the usual big hug. You see, he had forgotten about his hair. When I asked him what happened at school, he said, “I had a great day at school Mama.” No mention of the haircut…nothing at all. When I asked him what happened to his hair, it was like I had suddenly taken away his favorite toy. He became very quiet at first and then he broke down in tears. “Mama, can you fix my hair? Can you make it come back right now?”
But this was one of those times that I couldn’t “fix it” or make it better for him immediately, and that, I think, is hard for any mommy to swallow.
It seems so silly now, but I had to hold back tears at that point. I mean, it is just hair; a little boy’s hair grows so fast anyway, and “everyone” does this at some point in life (I know my mom is having a nice little smile reading this right now as I recall I gave myself “bangs” at some point in life). But this was one of those times that I couldn’t “fix it” or make it better for him immediately, and that, I think, is hard for any mommy to swallow. My husband’s reaction to the situation was almost the complete opposite of mine. When he saw the “cut” for the first time, he smiled and said, “Oh well! It was bound to happen at some point. At least he is 4 and not 14!” As you can imagine, that logical and, at the end of the day, truthful response was not something that this emotional mommy could even fathom!
I was so appreciative of how his teacher had handled the situation when it occurred. She did not get angry at him or even fuss at him. Instead, she calmly discussed with him that sometimes when we do things, we can’t put them back the way they were, and then together, they looked at his pile of hair on the floor of the classroom. They then went to look in the mirror. After staring as if in shock for a few moments at his now very irregular hairline, she said he realized what he had done, and he was in tears. He had learned from his actions, even at the early age of 4.
He had learned from his actions, even at the early age of 4.
You can be assured that we had several conversations in the next few days about only “special people” getting to cut our hair or anyone else’s hair for that matter. I think that this was a lesson not only for him that his actions can have consequences, but a great learning experience for me. I think as a parent you know in your logical brain the reality that you will not always be able to “fix things” for your children, and really, I hope to empower my children to take ownership of their actions as well as assume the repercussions that follow. However, when the moment arrives that you have to explain that concept to your four year old who thinks you can do anything and make all things better, reality goes out the window. Again, it is just hair and truthfully it has almost grown back already, but looking back, it is amazing how a patch of missing hair makes you realize your vulnerability as a mommy.
For all of my fellow moms reading this, seeing Mr. J’s pic, and wondering, as I did, “Oh my gosh - it’s going to take FOREVER for his hair to look normal!”, here’s Mr. J with the help of a professional with “safety scissors” who worked their magic and 2 weeks of eating his “hair growing” veggies. As good as new (well just about…)!