There are many firsts in a child’s life - first steps, first word, first day of school, first crush, first job. As a parent, I’ve daydreamed about all of these milestones, but I hadn’t given much thought to my child’s first haircut until faced with the decision. We were invited to a special event for all of our extended family, so I started to feel the pressure to get the entire family trimmed, pressed and picture-ready.
Here’s a little background:
I have two children - my daughter is four years old and has beautiful long blonde hair, and my son is eight months old and has more hair on his head than most grown men. Let me go on to say that my son’s hair is amazing. It has its own social media following (albeit mostly my friends on Facebook and Instagram and their friends who want to see more pics of that baby with amazing hair). Neither of my children had ever gotten a haircut.
My daughter has always thankfully allowed me to fix her hair, but it had gotten so long that combing out tangles after bath time was a major argument each night. My husband (and I’ve heard he’s not the only dad who feels this way) was completely against cutting her hair. Every attempt to even discuss the idea was answered with, “Why would we do that? It looks great the way it is.” My son’s hair has so much volume and seems to only get bigger and fluffier by the week. I keep waiting for it to get long enough to lay down a bit, but that doesn’t seem to be one of its characteristics. Short of having mini Rapunzel and Beethoven in the family photo, I knew we’d finally reached a crossroads and they both needed to get their first haircuts.
I wouldn’t normally bat an eye at a haircut and I’m all for change, but these are my babies. When faced with this decision, worry flooded my brain - will her hair still curl on the ends like it did when she was a baby, will he look too different, will she look too grown up, will he sit still, will she throw a tantrum, will he still look like my baby? I also immediately started asking around for other parental input. Where did you take your child for their first haircut? Did you save a lock of hair? Are you all still scarred mentally or physically from the experience? Did you bring any distractions? How did you explain it to your child? I was all of a sudden looking for every insider tip I could find. I heard everything from, “Suzy did completely fine,” to “Bobby screamed every time, so I eventually gave up and learned how to cut hair at home.” In addition, all hair salons treat children’s haircuts differently ranging from, “No we don’t specialize in kid’s cuts” to “We have a special red carpet service and tradition for a child’s first haircut.” (The latter costing some ungodly amount of money.)
So after considering all of my options, a wonderful friend of mine who cuts and styles hair on the side, agreed to come and trim the kids’ hair at our house. My son sat in his high chair while I carefully fed him a snack and I saw his first sweet brown curl fall to the ground. My husband and I said a collective, “Aww” and watched as our baby boy started to look like more of a toddler right before our eyes. My daughter wanted to get her hair trimmed in her room while she watched a show on the iPad and her tender blonde ends fell to the floor. Overall, both kids did surprisingly well!
After their haircuts each looked up at us with a smile, with band new faces; faces that had grown up just a little in an instant. I felt that bittersweet tinge inside that each parent feels when having to let go of not just those little curls on the floor, but letting go of the way that I viewed that precious face every time they looked up at me until that point in time. I know it’s just a haircut, but I’m allowed to still be a mommy too, right?
For tips about how to survive your child’s first haircut, check out these helpful articles from Parenting Magazine.