My son usually takes the bus to school, but I have today off so I drove him. As he stepped out and waved goodbye, I noticed how a lot of the boys at the junior high had long hair. M’s hair is long, but it’s always been long… now it’s actually “cool”. Funny how that works out.
The few times it’s ever been cut were always an ordeal. In his earlier years, I used to be the one to cut his hair… or his grandpa would. He would fight us, squirm about, climb off the chair, and cry. My happy, usually compliant child absolutely hated it! I often resorted to begging then bribery. To no avail. There were times he’d end up with a crooked haircut and I’d have a super-cranky kid.
I had the brilliant idea of taking him to a pro. Surely it was just me, I must have been doing something wrong. Someone who was trained could do it faster and better, right? Well… I still had to beg and bribe through his tears, but for the most part if they were patient enough with him it would work. Though, one barber did refuse to cut his hair… due to “safety issues”… which is understandable.
“You just have to do it more often so he gets used to it,” was the advice given by friends and family.
I didn’t know then what had bothered him about it, but as the years went by, and after much torcherous hair cuttery, he found his words. He found his words and he told me why he didn’t like it. The hair, he said, felt like it was poking him… the prickly feel of each individual hair falling on the nape of his neck, on his ears, and face as it was cut was too much for him to handle. And the sound of the scissors, the snip snip snip… he said it felt like it would cut into him. Oh and the clippers, the constant buzzzzzz… it made him cringe, tighten up his neck and shoulders. He couldn’t stand the sound and the vibration, it reverberated through him.
So I let him keep his hair long. It’s only hair, after all… there’s nobody to impress, no dress code against long hair on boys at school. My relatives may cringe at the long hair, but who cares? Nowadays, he’ll ask if we could go to get his hair cut or trimmed. I always make sure it’s his choice… I might suggest it but I never force it on him. I no longer have to beg or bribe, but sometimes we still go get ice cream afterwards just for old time’s sake.
What is an instance of sensory overload you or someone you know has had?