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.

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up and moved

I meet a  lot of people that are new to the area or have lived lots of places, so the question “what brought you to this town?” is always a topic of conversation. The most common answers are “work” or “I just liked the area.” I had one man, however, tell me a more interesting story.

It seems his (grown) daughter was tired of the place they lived in. Her parents her retired, and the only thing keeping them in the small town was their daughter, so if she left, they would leave too. When the wanderlust got too much to handle, the dad told his wife and  daughter “go drive around until you find where you want to live.” So they set off on a road trip, exploring the country. When they reached this town, they called the dad and said “we found it. We want to live here.” And so they did. They never came back to their old home. The dad took care of selling the house and packing any valuable possessions, and then he followed them. So they live here now, and apparently never looked back.

As someone who has moved more times than she can count, I envy this. They literally just up and left, with no regard for the things they left behind. Even when I try to do that, I still end up with a truckful of stuff, and I’ve never moved to a place that I had never really been to before.

So here’s to you, adventurers.

 

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.)

Too young

A young couple brought their baby in to get his hair cut. This isn’t so weird – I do kids’ cuts all the time. However, this one seemed especially young. Turns out, he was only 19 months old, and his parents had been bringing him in for a while. However, they insisted that this child have a full mohawk – shaved sides and gel to spike it up, the whole shebang.

I’m all for kids having mohawks. But this one was just too young for it. One, he couldn’t appreciate it, and two, both parents and me had to hold him while he wiggled, screamed and cried. He didn’t like the electric clippers against his head, and I didn’t want to shave his literal baby fine hair. And of course, the parents insisted that the lines be perfectly straight. I told them it was impossible, but I did the best I could.

Note to parents: Sometimes you need to let your baby just be a baby.

Independence

Another pet peeve of mine is the opposite of helicopter parenting – the parents who seem to abandon their child in my chair. Now after a point, I encourage this. I’d rather not have to listen to a teenager and her mom bickering the whole time I’m trying to cut the kid’s hair. If the kid can speak for himself, let him. But if a child is only 5 years old, I still turn to the parent when I ask what we’re doing. But the “abandoning” parent will defer judgement to the young child – the same child that would eat ice cream for dinner while wearing a superhero cape. (Actually, that doesn’t sound so bad.)

But oftentimes, the parent overestimates their child’s precociousness and sense of independence. The kid will either stay as silent (and still) as a statue, or will say that she likes the cut just to be finished. What she really likes is getting out of my chair. Both of these scenarios are bad for me. Either they won’t like it and I’ll have to basically do a complete second cut, or someone will decide later that it isn’t right and they’ll have to come back for a second cut later. What’s tricky about kids is that they have about a 20-minute time limit for sitting (relatively) still. Both of these scenarios mean going over that, thus making both the stylist and the child cranky.

So the lesson is this: If your child can drive himself to the mall, go shop while he gets his hair cut. If your child makes herself long fingernails out of her food, you should probably stick around. (Though I’m not saying *I* don’t do that….)

The Repercussions of Asking for Help

I’m still pretty new to the profession of hair, but I think in general I do pretty well. Luckily, if I need help, the girls I work with are there for me. That happened today. I was doing  a cut on a 9-year old girl, and there was one piece that was giving me trouble. So I called over one of the girls that wasn’t busy and asked for advice. She showed me how to accomplish what I wanted, and it was nice to see this cut done rather than try and guess.

However, I could tell that the parents weren’t pleased that I asked for assistance. Though that doesn’t make sense because wouldn’t they rather leave happy – even if I have to ask for help – than me just keep hacking away, ruining their daughter’s haircut, and probably causing them to make another trip (either back to my shop or to another one altogether)? I’m not ashamed that I asked for help. Life is about constantly learning.

But when it came time for them to pay, they went to the effort of marking a big fat ZERO for the tip. I was going to give the tip to my coworker anyway, but thankfully they saved me the trouble by making sure I knew they were unhappy. So even though I didn’t get any financial gain from the experience, at least I learned how to the cut, which I’m sure will be more useful in the long run.

Sonic

Not all parents that bring their child in are horrible. I had one dad bring his son in, he was probably 7 or so. The son’s hair was pretty long so I figured I was either going to just clean it up some or cut it all off. Turns out, it was both.

“So what are we doing today?” I asked.
“I want to look like Sonic!”
“Son, explain what you want. She might not know who Sonic is.”
“….Sonic the Hedgehog?” I asked, as the only other Sonic I know of is a burger joint. Not much of a hairstyle there.
You watch Sonic?” the kid asked in awe.
“Watch it? I used to play it!”
“Me too!” Said the dad excitedly. “In fact, I got him into it!”

So this dad was cool. He was an old skool gamer, like me, and was cool with his young child chopping all his hair off for a mohawk, which would them be (temporarily) dyed blue at home. I did the cut, and the kid was so excited. He started running around the mall, gathering rings I suppose, and giving me the biggest smile and thank you I have ever seen.

That still remains one of the more interesting haircuts I’ve done (mall patrons usually aren’t in it for the mohawks) and one of my most satisfied clients.