It was always going to be an emotional day. We knew that. I just don’t think we anticipated that it would happen so abruptly. And yet the whole thing felt inherently natural and… right.
We’ve always been mad about Billy’s hair. Like most parents we didn’t want to let go of the baby hair and those precious curls. So we didn’t. As his hair got longer it continued to have a little curl and we just loved it. It was wild just like the little man himself. If there was any humidity in the air it just puffed up and went super curly. It was adorable.
On three occasions I trimmed his hair. I wanted to do it myself because if I made a mess of it then at least I could get annoyed at myself and nobody else. That was my logic anyway! Thankfully the trims always went well and there was no big fuss.
I kind of imagined Billy still having long hair in school. I couldn’t actually imagine him without his flowing locks. It was such a part of him and I suppose we didn’t know any different so we couldn’t imagine anything but.
And then there was a shift. In the last couple of months Billy became really aware of having long hair. During one of the trims I trimmed the front part of his hair and gave him an unplanned fringe. I loved it but then when it got too long I started to resent it because it was always in his eyes. We decided to let it grow out because, as I said, it was never really part of the plan to give him a fringe. During the growing out process I put a clip in his hair to keep it out of his eyes and he wasn’t having any of it. He kept telling me that clips were for girls and not for boys. This really bothered me because I’ve always emphasized equality to Billy.
He is OBSESSED with the idea of gender at the moment. This evening for example – when choosing a bedtime story he said “that book – the blue one. It’s a boy colour”. I tell him that boys and girls can like any colour that they want. That boys can play with dolls and girls can play with cars. But he’s picking up on life around him and unfortunately my voice is not louder than the voice of the society we live in. It’s a bit sad but I won’t get in to it too much here because it is what it is.
Sometimes I’d put his hair in a bobbin. I thought it was adorable but that wasn’t the reason why. It was just nice to get the hair out of his face and to actually see his features. He was constantly brushing his hair away from his eyes. He hated the bobbin because “ponytails are for girls”. Again I reiterated to him that they weren’t. I even told him that they were “boy bobbins” to reassure him (hypocritical, I know) but he wasn’t feeling it. One day, about two weeks ago, he came out of school and told me that two boys in his class didn’t like his hair because PONYTAILS ARE FOR GIRLS. I was a bit heartbroken to see him tell me this with sadness on his face.
We always said that we would cut Billy’s hair when he wanted to and if he asked. No questions asked. His happiness is our priority always. However during this time when we would ask him he said no. He didn’t want to cut his hair. And yet everything surrounding the topic was bringing so much stress. In the last few weeks when the weather was cold his hair was almost poker straight. No humidity in the air at all. It had gotten really long and I gave it a little trim. But it was still niggling at me. At least ten times a day I was fixing the clip in his hair. The clip that was keeping the fringe out of his eyes. And here’s the thing that really bothered me – I was giving out to him. I was raising my voice in frustration because he kept pulling the clip out. It would be half way down his face. But Jesus the child is three years of age. He doesn’t need to have the stress of a hair clip in his life. I hated the sound of my own voice. I wanted the clip in his hair so that it wouldn’t be annoying him and in his face and yet I felt that the long hair wasn’t even his choice. It sounds so mellow dramatic but that’s how it felt.
It was niggling at me for about two weeks and the topic kept coming up in conversation. I was obsessing over it. We toyed with the idea of getting his haircut “soon” but when we mentioned it to Billy he said no. Eventually he made a comment about wanting hair like his Daddy. Then he said it again. And again. We asked him if he would like to go and see the place where Daddy gets his hair cut and explained that it was called a Barbers. He agreed and was excited.
The next day we pottered in to Old County Barbers. This is the Barbers in Crumlin that Peter goes to and he loves it. We went in for a little chat and the staff couldn’t have been better. I’m automatically showing how uncool I am right now but the place was so…. cool. Rap music and photographs of interesting hair-styles. I loved it. When it was time to have a chat Billy sat up on the chair and they added a booster seat. He referred to the seat as a Transformer and was really delighted with himself. The barber had a good chat with us and we showed him photographs of what we wanted. Well, what Billy wanted. The day before we had googled hairstyles and literally let him flick through and tell us which ones he liked. They were all really similar! The Barber reassured us that he could do that style with no problems. And that was it, we had a plan to come back two days later. When we left the Barbers we ended up going back in because Billy wanted him to comb his hair back and spray it with with the water. Fair play to the Barber because he did just that even though he had already seated the next customer. Billy left with a swing in his step and he was absolutely mad about himself. It felt right.
I didn’t want to tell anyone about the plan because I’m so influenced by what those around me think and want. I wanted it to be our decision and nobody else’s. That day in between was so hard. I felt like I had a big dirty secret and I realize how ridiculous that sounds but it felt like such a big deal to us. I was so anxious and excited! It really did feel like the right thing though and the fact that Billy was so excited about it, and we were all on board, made it feel like a positive decision. It didn’t feel forced or unnatural and if it did we wouldn’t have gone through with it (this sounds awfully dramatic, I know)
The big day arrived and we were excited and nervous. We arrived at 9.30am just before the shutters went up and we were greeted by Shane, the Barber we had met two days previous. He was so good with Billy and I was delighted we brought him down that day because it meant that he was familiar with it. He knew we were going back to the “Bar Bar” and we were asking for Shane.
And just like that he was sitting on the Transformer and his curls were hitting the floor. We thought he would panic when he used the electric razor (or whatever it’s called) but he didn’t. He actually just admired himself in the mirror and kept making us laugh.
As soon as I started to see the style forming I was sold. He was adorable but oh my God he looked about 12. When he got down from the chair and stood up he suddenly looked so tall and lanky. I couldn’t believe it.
After an impromtu photoshoot in the Barbers (I’m THAT mam) we went on our Merry way and Billy was loving life. He was so happy with his big boy hair and literally had a swag walking down the road.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t emotional about the whole thing. It definitely feels like the end of an era but it also feels totally right. I hate change so I was always anticipating feeling a bit fickle about the whole thing but I am delighted. It sounds dramatic but I just love being able to see his face so clearly. I love that he’s not constantly faffing at his face and trying to move it away from his eyes. I can see his gorgeous little features again. Other benefits are that we no longer have to blow dry his hair after a shower. Like, it was dry before I had him dressed. That is such an alien concept to me.
I keep scrolling through photographs and his long hair makes my tummy flip. In that moment I think “what have we done?” and I long for his long hair again. But I know that’s only natural. It’ll probably feel that way for quite some time.
Part of me felt that he would have long hair forever. We didn’t know any different. But life is a river of change and as with most things parenting, you just never know do you? I never expected that by his 4th birthday (HOW is he four in 4 months?) he would have short hair but this is how it panned out and I’m so relieved that it felt so natural and positive for everyone – especially for Billy.
I cannot recommend Old County Barbers enough! I naturally want tor recommend Shane but if you can’t get him you will be in brilliant hands with any of the Barbers!
The End Of An Era.
Hair Grows Jenny.