Foster kid

A family came into the shop, and the mom sat in my chair. There were also 5 boys and her husband, all getting haircuts in preparation to meet their newest family member, a little girl that they would be fostering. On asking about it, the mom’s logic was pretty sound:

“We couldn’t make a girl so we borrowed one.”

I thought that was just about the sweetest thing.

the 10- minute knot

A 7 year old girl and her mom came in to get the girl’s hair cut. I had to spend several minutes combing out all the tangles before I even asked how much we were cutting. The little girl wanted it off. ALL OFF. She had shoulder-length hair and wanted it taken down to a stacked bob. I verified that this was ok with the mom, and proceeded.

During the cut, the little girl explained that her hair got tangled very easily and she didn’t like brushing it, so that’s why she wanted to cut it short. I agreed that it had been a challenge to keep knot-free. In face, she said “just this morning, I had such a big knot in my hair that it took us about 10 minutes to even get it out!” That seemed like a little much, but the mother verified it.

When the cut was done, the little girl absolutely loved it. The mom didn’t seem too pleased with the new ‘do, saying only “it’s short. It’s really short.” But when the girl and I reminded her of the 10-minute knot, the mom couldn’t argue with results.

Scooby-Doo pajamas

There is no perfect way to time the haircut of a toddler. Before a nap, after a nap, random times – there’s just no telling when the child will be agreeable. One parent tried a new approach: during the nap. The child was awake, but only just so. He was still in his Scooby-Doo pajamas even.

However, the kid was not having it. He didn’t scream, but he did that fussy, half cry that very sleepy children do. He also did lots of wriggling and hiding. At one point, one of my coworkers came over to help hold him still. That’s when the dad decided the haircut was “good enough” and stopped it. The cut was far from perfect, but not bad for a wiggling 2 year old.

The next day, apparently the child was in a better mood, so the dad decided to try again. He was still wiggly (because he is still a 2-year old), but he wasn’t in his pjs at least, so I got to give him a better haircut. Sometimes it takes multiple tries to get it right.

Dear Santa

A 7 year old boy was sitting in my chair, talking away about Christmas. He told me all about how his family leaves special reindeer food alongside Santa’s cookies and milk. He also leaves a note, explaining that if Santa maybe gets finished delivering all the presents early, and  maybe he has some extra coal left over, could he please maybe come back and give the little boy all the extra coal?

“That’s weird – usually kids don’t want coal for Christmas.” I said.

“I know. But I use it for my trains.” Apparently he has a whole room full of model train tracks, which he then proceeded to tell me all about.

Meanwhile, his mom and my coworkers were just cracking up.

meeting santa

I was cutting the hair of a 3 year old boy. I commented to his mom that he was was sitting very still, and she told me about how he had just come from seeing Santa at the mall. Rather than tell him his xmas wishes, or scream in terror, the little boy just went ahead and stuck his finger up Santa’s nose. And that’s when they snapped the picture.

One the one hand, I’m glad that didn’t happen to me, and on the other, I want to see that picture because just the idea of it is hilarious.

Star Wars

When a child sits in my chair, I treat the chit chat situation like he was an adult: If he seems talkative, we’ll talk. If not, I work in silence. The other day, a 6 year old boy was there. When I put the cape on him (which was black) he said “I look just like Darth Vader!” That was something I could latch on to and talk about, so I said “Oh, you like Darth Vader?”

And he just took off conversationally running. He told me all about General Grievous, who is his favorite character, and how he likes the Dark Side so much better because they have the choke force “and they’re just awesome.” I asked “What about Yoda? Yoda is pretty awesome too!” Which led to him asking my opinion on why Yoda didn’t kill the Emperor when he had the chance. I replied that Yoda thought there may still be some good in the Emperor, and even though Yoda had the power to kill him, he had too kind of a heart to kill others so much. The child seemed to accept this explanation, and our Star Wars conversation moved along. Eventually we got back to the topic of why the Dark Side is awesome – but this time he added “But Yoda is pretty cool too. He didn’t kill the Emperor, even though he could have, because he had a good heart and thought the Emperor might have some good in him still too.”

I cracked up, wondering if he remembered that I was the one that put that idea in his head, not 5 minutes prior. He seemed convinced that these were Yoda’s reasons though, so I couldn’t argue. Later I found out that the entire salon – both stylists and clients – were listening to me cross the line between small talk and geeking out with a 6-year old. I was applauded as being “very knowledgeable”  on how to keep children entertained. I didn’t need to tell them that I could and would have had the same conversation with anyone.

 

Another too young

I’ve said before that some kids are just too young to get their hair cut. Yes, we are professionals, and cutting children’s hair is part of our job, but some (like me) don’t have children of our own and have little exposure to other people’s children, so we are not trained to handle kids that just won’t sit still, especially around sharp objects.

One such child came in the other day. He was two years old, and already crying by the time he sat in my chair. Actually, by the time his father sat in my chair and held the little boy.  And I mean held because the boy would not stay still. He was using his feet to push off his father, using his hands to cover his face (and hair), and wriggling away towards his mother.

I got the majority of the length off (the parents insisted I use scissors and not clippers), but I told them I didn’t want to cut around his ears, as my shears are very sharp and his tender little ears were moving around quite a bit, even with both parents holding him down. They insisted, however, even using my most hated phrase “I’ll tip you well for your time.” (They never do – a dollar is not what I consider a good tip.) So I gave in, and I applied some force of my own to hold the child still as I very carefully cut around his ears.

Then he whipped his head to the right. I was standing to his right, with my shears open, right at what turned out to be eye level. Luckily I was semi-prepared for such a movement and was able to pull my shears away just in time. But I still came very close to stabbing a 2-year old child in the eye with my very sharp (and expensive) scissors. After that, I refused to cut any more. The cut was far from perfect, but it was the best I could do with a screaming, moving, toddler. And that last cut was too close for comfort. I told the parents very plainly that I was not doing any more. They tried to convince me, acknowledging that it was nearly impossible (and dangerous), and trying to bribe me with tips again. I flat out refused and assured them that whatever tip they gave me would never cover the trauma of accidentally hurting a child, which is more of a possibility with their son than I had ever encountered before. They were dismayed, but finally gave in. Their son’s hair didn’t look terrible, it was just a little bit longer around the ears. But you know what? His vision remained in tact.

I stand by my decision. Sure, there is a toddler out there with a not-quite-finished haircut, but I will defend myself and face any repercussions, rather than risk mortally injuring a young child. Though that would teach the parents when too young really means too young…

 

 

(kidding about that last line, of course.)