For each of my boys’ first few haircuts, I did them myself. Although I worried about cutting them, cutting myself, or mangling their beautiful hair, nothing horrible happened. Even so, I know that although I have many skills and talents, doing decent hair cutting is beyond me. (Liam’s, since it’s curly, is a little easier — which I didn’t expect — so I’ll probably be able to do his for a little while yet.) After those first few, we turned Benjamin over a to a professional.
Here, in Austria, the results have been very uneven . . . . sometimes literally. (We had much better luck in the States.) Part of it is a communication issue, to be sure (our meager German doesn’t extend to many haircutting terms, and since most tourists don’t get their hair cut on vacation, the hair stylists don’t always speak a lot of English) and part of it is that I like to keep B’s hair long, and that isn’t the predominant style for little boys here. So, when I ask them to leave it long, they either take me too literally (did he even have a hair cut?), leave parts of it too long (frighteningly close to a mullet) or kind of ignore our requests and do something long-ish but also kind of non-specific.
Benjamin was due for a hair cut again (funny how that keeps happening) but I realized, this time, that he’s old enough to decide for himself what his hair should look like. But, how do you ask a 3 year old how he wants his hair? I tried talking to him about it, but when I asked him, “What do you want your hair to look like?” he said, “Like this” (meaning, the way it already looks), and when I asked him how he wanted his hair cut, he lifted up some of the hair on the top of his head and mimed cutting it, while giving me a look that said, “Is this a trick question?”
So, then I asked him to look at the other kids at school and tell us if he wanted his hair to look like any of theirs. There’s a wide variety represented, most on the short side, but none of them appealed to him. So, then Dan (in a moment of brilliant inspiration) Googled images of “little boys hair styles” and let B look through until he found one that he liked. They showed the picture to the stylist, and although she left it a little longer than the picture (which Mommy is grateful for), it turned out great, and B is very happy.
He’s 3. He’s still SO little, but he really is big enough to start making some of his own choices. In addition to picking out his t-shirt every morning, I figure hair style is a good place to start. No matter what he decides, it’s temporary and it will grow out. He can experiment with different things, and express himself. I like his hair long, but I want him to be able to look however he likes, and I want him to have the experience of having the freedom to choose — which will lead to sometimes making decisions he doesn’t like, and then having the opportunity to make different choice next time.
This is the shortest his hair has ever been (not counting his first year when it was just wispy baby hair). Just looking at it in a picture, I never would have chosen this haircut for him, but now that he’s got it, I love it and I think it’s perfect for him. It suits him nicely and he’s all ready for summer. And the smile he gets when I tell him he did a great job picking his hair style is pretty wonderful, too.