Yesterday I realised just how far both Joshua and I had come in terms of haircuts. Joshua has always had thick wavy hair and since lockdown it has turned curly like mine too. Even as a baby, he never had that fine down that babies get, he seemed to be born with adult hair, which grew fast. This became a problem as he hated having it cut; he would thrash his head from side to side trying to avoid the scissors and simply would not sit still. It used to take three adults to cut his hair : I would hold his head still, another adult would hold his hand down to prevent him from swiping at the scissors and then the hairdresser would try their best with the wriggly, angry target. When he was pre-school age, we were thrown out of a barbers with half a haircut as she cut her finger and was not prepared to continue.
It was always stressful so inevitably we would put it off, but then it meant he did not get used to it and as his hair was so long and bushy, it was much more difficult for the stylist and it took longer. For several years, he had home scalpings with trimmers, which meant he just had skinhead cuts as my husband had no skill at styling. We would sit Joshua on a kitchen chair in the hall, where the hair was easy to sweep up on the tiles, I would hold him still as best he could and my husband would use the clippers. Joshua always objected and any passersby would think that we were murdering him, judging from the screams inside. But thankfully we were always forgiven quickly, we would all be exhausted and blotchy, but Joshua has never born a grudge.
But in more recent years, I have taken Joshua to my own hairdressers for a professional hair cut and style. She has cut my hair for 30 years so she knows her way around our thick, curly hair. We always go at the end of the day when the salon is empty and initially we would turn the music up loud and require the assistance of a junior to hold his hand, while I held his head steady. This way, she was able to give him an actual hairstyle, and not just a buzz cut all over. Gradually, we have been able to lose the handholding and loud music and these days I hover to hold him still ,if necessary, but mostly he is calm and almost enjoys the experience. He certainly loves to watch the juniors and he enjoys gazing at himself in all of the mirrors that surround him. He now understands what is going on and that he is going to like the outcome too. His trademark hairstyle now is short clippers around the back but still longer and floppy and curly on the top and it really suits him.
It has not been an easy journey but we have persevered, both me and my hairdresser, and I am so proud of how well Joshua has adapted. He now skips into the salon and knows where he sits. He will not tolerate a gown still, they are ripped off immediately, but that is OK, we simply put his hairy clothes into the washing machine as soon as we get home. We have been able to win him over, despite cutting his hair being a very sensory experience at close quarters. The secret was in keeping calm, so that he did not feed off our stress, but at times over the years, that was much easier said than done. I used to dread his appointment, it was like a black cloud hanging over the day, knowing that we were in for an ordeal at 4pm. But not anymore, we are all much more chilled about it, and I am sure that helps Joshua, who was a star yesterday and he has a smart haircut to prove it.