“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair for me,” and so Rapunzel would let down her long locks, and we all know the rest of that fairytale. I thought something similar would happen when I’d instruct my daughter during her first haircut by a professional hairdresser. Alas! We had quite the opposite reaction. My daughter is a strong-willed child and we love it most of the time. The only time we have a problem with her strong will is when it’s being used on us (her parents).
So here’s how the story goes. Mommy dearest had her plan chalked out. Lil Z’s visit to the salon was going to be a special event in her life. For three years I experimented with my hair cutting skills at home. While I managed to snip her hair off leaving her with a cut that didn’t make me cringe I just knew I was done with the experimenting. I’ve always loved the Dora the Explorer haircut and couldn’t wait for my daughter to have that little fringe fall over her forehead.
I’d marked the day on my calendar and even informed my husband that he would have to drive us to the only toddler salon in Bangkok that I knew of. It had to be Little Red Fox @Mega Bangna. It’s no easy task to get a toddler to sit still while a complete stranger has a go at her hair, and so I was willing to spend a Saturday driving 22 kms one way just to give my little girl a great experience. When my sister visited us she took her one-year-old boy for his first-cut too. Of course, he yelped, but he was just a year old. No one expected him to behave any different. But my girl was three years old. She was going to be just fine. The Little Red fox has the perfect setting with aeroplane shaped seats for the kids and tablets to keep the little ones occupied with their favourite cartoons. Now there was just one tiny disconnect; while mommy was all ready for the big cut, Lil Z had other plans. She wasn’t ready to let anyone close to her tresses. From the moment she was placed on the seat it was a nightmare. She yelled, kicked, and cried at the top of her lungs. The hairdresser looked like she had been struck by lightning. She managed to cut the fringe but that’s all that got cut that day. So embarrassed was I that I vowed not to take her to a salon again until she was six years old.
As luck would have it, I found a fabulous book titled ‘Sam’s haircut’ by Annette Smith at a yard sale. The little girl on the cover had short curls just like my daughter too. Mums rarely give up and so I thought it would be best if I prepared her for it before dragging her into a salon. My daughter wasn’t easily impressed by the read, but then I asked her if she’d like to participate in role-play like she does with her toy drill set and kitchenette. Her face lit up. She obviously thought she was going to have fun with mommy’s hair dryer and pedicure kit. But I had a little surprise for her. I picked up a little salon kit for her from the local market. It had everything: scissors, hair spray, hair dryer, nail paint, lipstick, eyeshadow. For two whole weeks, her little fingers were busy playing hairdresser to her mother and grandmother. And so I tried once again. She kindly obliged this time. And so three generations of women trotted to the neighbourhood salon to get their hair done. When it was Lil Z’s turn she surprised us with her patience. She got her hair washed, cut, and blow dried and even insisted we took a photo of her to show her daddy later. My joy knew no bounds. We’d done it. We’d crossed the hurdle.
I guess the only way to know when a child is ready is when they say they’re ready. Till then all we can do is try and encourage them to take the next step. The only problem I have now is explaining to her that a salon visit isn’t a weekly affair. Fingers crossed, I hope at our next visit we can skip the three-layered process and just stick to the snip!