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Behold: A Chapter From Naptime…

Hi Party People (Am I ever going to stop being so early 90’s?) — I’m shamelessly promoting my book Naptime Is the New Happy Hour which goes on sale in two weeks. I pray you buy this book so that I can continue to feed my twins in the hopes that they will someday stop crying. But enough cheery talk and let me bust out the chapter where I take my daughter to a haircut joint which shall remain nameless because I can’t afford a lawsuit. Pull up a barstool and get your read on!

SHEAR MADNESS

My daughter’s first day of preschool was just two weeks away. We did a major trip to Target for a Hello Kitty back pack – all cool and black with pink straps and a subtle sparkly finish – definitely ensuring her membership with the preschool glitterati set. She also got a colored pencil set, Snow White lunch box with matching dwarves thermos (which she’d been sleeping with in her bed every night since she’d made its acquaintance), plus we’d hit the Carter’s outlet for a few new outfits and potty training was sort of in the home stretch. Yup, my daughter was poised to become a preschool prodigy. There was just one thing missing: a hair cut.

Personally, I’d always dreaded this event because my mother, who believed hair cutting was just a natural extension of her “so called” sewing abilities, thought it was perfectly fine and a great money saver to pull out the old Singer sewing scissors and chop away. The woman wasn’t satisfied until I had a straight wall of bangs well above my eyebrows. It wasn’t until I was in the sixth grade, after years of begging and pleading, that my mother finally agreed to get me a professional cut. Only, it wasn’t at a salon per se, it was a friend’s mom who cut hair out of her house on the cheap while enjoying a few gin and grapefruit juices – but hey, I thought, at least it wasn’t my mom. That cut left me with a version of the much sought after Dorothy Hamill that was dangerously closer to a Mark Hamill.
Given my past trauma, I would’ve just let my kid’s hair go long but even though she has the cutest naturally curly hair you’ve ever seen, its growth wasn’t following any plan approved by nature and was quickly becoming a fro. Hoping to spare my daughter the Singer sewing scissors routine that plagued my youth I figured the least I could do for my daughter’s future self-esteem would be to only let someone with actual scissor know-how anywhere near her hair.
It turns out that kiddie hair salons are a growing trend and you can find a place that specializes in lopping off children’s locks almost anywhere. I was excited because I’d heard that these hair salons for children typically offer movies, toys and the promise of a balloon to keep kids busy and prevent unnecessary meltdowns. I thought this was genius! And why stop there? Why not do that in adult salons? I know that during my last hair appointment, watching The Devil Wears Prada, snacking on a chocolate croissant, and sipping a glass of bourbon would’ve gone a long way to take my mind off the fact that I walked out of there looking like the newest member of the Bay City Rollers.
So I set out to find a cute kids chop shop near me for my daughter’s inaugural cut, but I wasn’t prepared for the wave of nausea that overtook me when my Google search for kids salons also turned up a slew of kid spas which cater to toddlers, tweens and teens offering manicures, pedicures, massage, formal hairdos, Mystic tan and a host of other amenities. Hold the phone. Toddlers? Does a three-year-old really need an exfoliating seaweed wrap? Isn’t their skin new enough as it is? And what exactly is so stressful about a kindergartner’s lifestyle that they could possibly need a ninety-minute, 180 dollar relaxation massage? And call me prickly but I don’t ever want to hear a precocious seven-year-old compare the merits of acrylic nails versus artificial gels. Is it me? Am I the asshole?
Feeling decidedly less giddy, I chose a kid friendly hair cutting place in my neighborhood which featured all the bells and whistles plus the cost efficient price of twenty bucks and hoped for the best. From the minute we sat down in the waiting area, I knew I’d made a mistake – no matter where you looked there were endless stuffed animal, colorful barrettes and flavored lip gloss buying opportunities, which I guess was supposed to make up for the lack of current gossip rags for me. After thirty minutes of staring into space listening to my daughter whine “I want a toy, I want a toy,” I would’ve been ecstatic to see a back issue of Golf Digest.
I was dangerously close to purchasing the little lady some apple scented detangler and a floral afro pick and calling it a day when our names were called. Too bad the wait ended up being the best part of the whole unmitigated disaster. The hairdresser, a guy mysteriously costumed as Edward Scissorhands, greeted us, and reached out a plastic scissored hand to my kid to lead her the way to his station. My daughter, not getting the early nineties reference, started crying, and continued bawling sporadically for the rest of the appointment.
Minutes later, my wet cheeked daughter was seated in a mini-yellow racecar adjustable height chair where she gripped the steering wheel for dear life as Eddie draped a plastic zebra wrap around her neck, pulled out a spray bottle of water and started squirting down her hair. Watching my baby’s worried little face almost made me nostalgic for the sewing scissors. Almost. But I kept my eyes on the prize – a daughter who would have stylish, non-laughed at hair. Little did I know the one I really should have been worried about was me.
“So what are we looking to do here today?” Scissorhands asked me while my daughter sat teary-eyed staring at Shrek Three being projected on a big screen TV.
“I guess just a trim. She’s never had her hair cut before and it’s getting a bit unmanageable.” Scissorhands held up a sixteenth of an inch of her hair through two fingers.
“About this much?”
“Um, you could probably go shorter than that.” For twenty bucks I’d like to actually be able to tell it’s been cut. He moved his fingers up an undiscernable amount.
“That’s fine, I guess.”
But this didn’t satisfy him. He needed to know if she wears her hair parted, to which side and did she plan to style it, with mousse. I felt like saying, Jesus. She’s three! Just cut it already!
When Eddie finally got my daughter’s cut underway, he turned his attention to me. “Honey, I can see a little gray in your hair. Do you dye it?
“No.” And come on! When you cut toddlers’ hair, everyone over four is gonna look old. Of course now I was starting to worry. Shit, last I checked I had maybe two strands of gray which I meticulously plucked out.
Without looking away from me, he repositioned my daughter’s face to the TV screen and told her to hold still. “You should really let me color that or at least get a nice herbal rinse to get rid of that ugly gray. Have you considered highlights? At your age, you could definitely use a little light around your face to lift it up.”
I was too stunned to say “Listen, I’m only forty and for your information a lot of people tell me I could easily pass for very late thirties and furthermore, I don’t need style advice from a guy who dresses up as an early nineties Johnny Depp character and cuts hair for kids who are still in diapers for a living.” But it didn’t matter because although it had barely been five minutes, he was done with my daughter’s hair which pretty much looked the same only wetter.
“Are you ready for a blowdry?” he asked, whipping it off its hook. My daughter looked at me – and I looked at him like he’d just pulled out a .45 . Blow dry? Had this freak ever met a toddler before? The sound of a blowdryer scares the hell out of most of them, and the extra cost definitely scared the hell out of me!
“No thanks. I think we’re all good here.”
“Are you sure? It’s included in the thirty-five dollar price.”
“I thought a kid’s haircut was twenty?”
“Oh that pricelist is six-months old.” Gee thanks for the heads-up.
“Hey I have an idea: How about you put up the correct price list and then I’ll give you the corresponding amount of money? Sorry but I’m a little anal and the money that leaves my purse has to match the sign.” After my little outbust, he quietly put the blowdryer away and handed my daughter an old pink hair covered balloon which had been sitting on the floor near her chair gathering dust and static electricity, and we finally headed for the exit, passing a little Down’s Syndrome boy in a Batmobile chair screaming his head off. I’m so with you little man. I thought,. I felt a little bit like crying myself. I tried to catch the kid’s eye to show him that he and I were truly simpatico on this place, but his mother gave me a stern look like she’d caught me staring inappropriately so I quickly turned away. There was nothing left to do but whip out my credit card.
To add insult to injury, after the haircut fiasco, we ended up having to go to Baskin Robbins for a couple of ice cream sundaes just to get over our mutual trauma. The final tally for the ten minute haircut: $65. It broke down like this:

Buying toys and barrettes so kid won’t cry…as much: $20
Hair cut (including unused blow dry): $35
Soothing after-cut treats: $10
Getting out of there without committing homicide: Priceless.
I have a sneaking suspicion there are a shiny pair of Singer sewing scissors in my daughter’s future. Let’s just hope the Dorothy Hamill comes back in style soon.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on March 10, 2008 7:59 pmUncategorized20 comments  

20 Comments

  1. Dew Drop said,

    * applause *

    and yes, it’s sometimes hard to find a hair salon where A) they don’t have a million ways to make you spontaneously part with more money than you intended, and B) The stylist makes you feel violent. Really violent. Really suddenly.

    I can’t wait until the book comes out!

    | March 10, 2008 @ 10:00 pm

  2. Kate said,

    So so so good! Am awaiting my pre-ordered book!

    Also – a kids hair salon by me just took off the top of someone’s ear so I guess I should just be grateful for my son’s dumb and dumber haircut? Good lord!

    | March 10, 2008 @ 11:00 pm

  3. Candace said,

    ugh. why didn’t i think of raping the parents of pre-schoolers for all their cash? I cut my 20 month old’s hair and we’re proud of his bi-level, receding hairline mullet.
    congrats on the book! I’m a buyer, for sure!

    | March 11, 2008 @ 12:51 am

  4. Coma Girl said,

    Love it! I’ll be contributing to the “please make the twins stop crying” fund.

    | March 11, 2008 @ 1:37 am

  5. mommymae said,

    i used to cut my girls’ hair when they had naturally occurring mullets. now they get a $12 cut at my shop. check if your stylist does kids cuts for a low price.

    | March 11, 2008 @ 2:34 am

  6. just4ofus said,

    Our kids salon (cars and movies included.. yet no costumes for the stylists) costs $13. That must be the difference between Cincinnati and California.
    I guess.

    | March 11, 2008 @ 1:21 pm

  7. Lil Mouse said,

    might as well have gone to a regular at-home stylist or someone who has little kids and ‘gets them’ – you’d pay less and feel better. now that she’s had one cut, she shouldnt feel bad about them, it didnt hurt and $20 is ridiculous for a trim. Let alone $35! Yikes! I guess we are in the midwest so that is my frame of reference!

    | March 11, 2008 @ 3:20 pm

  8. Christine said,

    Yippee!

    I’ll be buying your book as soon as it’s out!

    I’ve been meaning to ask you…does it matter to you as the author where we purchase it? Is it better to buy it in a brick and mortar or online?

    | March 11, 2008 @ 5:09 pm

  9. Kyddryn said,

    I am trying to wait patiently for my pre-ordered-a-hundred-years-ago copy. Trying.

    Bird’s first haircut, I saved little locks of his hair, stuffed ’em in lockets, and gave ’em to the grandmothers for Mother’s Day. Score one for me.

    Now he has his cut when mine is colored (the blue keeps washing out, dang it!) and he even gets colors if he wants ’em. Hippest kid in school. Oh, wait, we home school. Never mind.

    Oh, and? You would have been well within your rights to bitch-slap that punk for mentioning anything other than the perfection of your own hair.

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K

    | March 11, 2008 @ 5:21 pm

  10. BabyShrink said,

    You’re giving me PTSD flashbacks with your Dorothy Hamill reference!I make DH take the kids for haircuts just to avoid re-traumatization!
    Can’t wait for the book.

    | March 11, 2008 @ 6:05 pm

  11. Becky said,

    Ain’t that the truth!

    I have been blessed with a son whose hair grows as quickly as my own does (genetics much?) and have been getting him haircuts since he was about 1. Seriously. And sometimes they do such a sucktastic job that I started cutting it myself. To equally disasterous results. But hey, at least I wasn’t PAYING anyone to suck.

    (I’ll be on the ordering train myself. You funny.)

    | March 12, 2008 @ 4:47 pm

  12. gmcountrymama said,

    I used to have to hold T down to cut his hair until he was 3. He wouldn’t even consider letting anyone else do it. Now he loves going to the barber with papa. And yes, they always go for ice cream after. Can’t wait to read your book.

    | March 12, 2008 @ 8:23 pm

  13. Catwoman said,

    I can’t remember if I blogged about this, but two haircuts ago (my son, unfortunately, was born with a great head of hair, which would have been great if he was a girl, but being a boy, it means we pay for a $20 cut every 7-8 weeks) the lady who cut his hair only cut one of his sideburns. I didn’t notice until we got home, and we were leaving for Canada the next day, so no time to fix it. I tried to fix it myself with the kitchen shears, but Little Man wouldn’t let me anywhere near him. I hate the kid places too.

    A thought, could the kids places serve booze??? For the parents, of course.

    And I’m totally pre-ordering the book! Whoo-hoo!!!!

    | March 13, 2008 @ 1:43 am

  14. Trenches of Mommyhood said,

    Yay! Can’t wait for the whole shebang!
    NOT a fan of SnipIts.
    We’ve learned from our mistake(s) and moved on. Hubby now takes the boyz to the good ole fashioned barborshop.

    | March 13, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

  15. michelle said,

    I can’t believe the stylist was so rude. My blood pressure was rising in empathy just reading that. My daughter’s best haircut & experience was at a salon inside the My Gym on Topanga in Woodland Hills. It was a year ago and I’ve lost the card, but I think it was $20 or less with ice cream included at the end. We both loved it.

    | March 13, 2008 @ 5:03 pm

  16. becca said,

    Ugh. That sounds horrific! Why in the world would he dress up like Edward Scissorhands? Because of course toddlers understand cultural references from the decade before they were born…

    | March 16, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

  17. baggage said,

    I finished the book last night, and this part made me laugh at loud. Edward Scissorhands? Really? He wasn’t really a child friendly character in the first place..what with the sharp scary hands and pale face.

    | March 17, 2008 @ 7:40 pm

  18. Anonymous said,

    I would love to get a hold of you, however I am so under-tech-savvy-bad-blogger-computer girl that I don’t know if there is a contact email address place for you. Anyway, saw your book at Border’s today – love the title. I didn’t buy it, because I use bookstores as a library and just read the books there and then leave. Anyway, I am writing a book called “Mommy’s Little Money$Makers” (I know what you’re gonna think the title is and yes, it could include pole dancers. But this is for stay-at-home moms, guide to doing your passions, fining your interests and birthing a money$maker with the economy in the shitter.

    If you are interested in being profiled – I am doing 100 or so for part two of the book), email me!! Andi Silverman author of “Mama Knows Breast” is also in the book in the profiles and they are growing every day.

    We will have you, the mama book superstars, I have a yes, you heard it – an egg broker. I have a lady who makes magic sprinkles for kids to think santa and the tooth fairy dusted them, a Mommy in portland who takes materials from goodwill and designs 100% recycled clothing – a couple shirts become a hat. There is an antique thrift lady in my Seattle neighborhood where you can “shop her basement,” and she can do 30,000 on a yard sale (I am not kidding!) She is the only person I know who if she gives you a gift, it is completely exchangable in her basement!!

    Please contact me if you are interested – love the book!
    Jill Dickinson
    Seattle, Washington
    miakumari@hotmail.com

    | January 18, 2009 @ 7:09 am

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