You'd pretty much have to be Helen Keller not to know how unhappy I've been with my son's hair. He has long wanted to grow it out (groan), and I have long asserted my right to veto. But during the tumor episode last August, when I was gorked out on Dilaudid and Todd was manning the ship alone, Quinn's monthly haircut slipped through the cracks. My recovery was long and intense, and by the time I noticed, his hair was over his ears (gasp!). Somehow he had gotten the idea that we had let him grow it, and frankly, I was so delighted not to be dying of ovarian cancer that I went along with it.
It has taken many forms in its growth, all of which have prompted my OCD to careen into a ditch, but recently I reached my threshold. The look he was aiming for, that sort of skater-shag-with-a-rad-flip-thing he wanted never came to fruition. What he got instead was a static clinged-to-his-face wedge with a budding mullet in the back. Kind of Carol Brady-meets-John Denver. Now, I have struggled since that fateful month of August to make peace with, and/or radically accept, the hair, but I can't. I realize he is old enough to deserve some measure of autonomy regarding his appearance. I realize that it is just hair, and that it doesn't reflect on me. I realize that a lot of his security was derived from having long hair. What is a mother to do?
(If only he wanted plates in his lips or a bull ring in his nose.)
Anyway, we made him a sweet deal and set out today to do away with the clingy shag that made going out in public so painful. But, when it was time to go, Quinn freaked out. I won't go into great detail, but 50 years later, he got it cut, fighting tears the whole time. He hates it, and immediately put on this plastibell-looking hat, presumably because it is better than the haircut. When I returned from our Obama meeting, he was still wearing the odd hat (from his dad's collection, naturally), and has vowed to keep it on until roughly the second coming. He is asleep with it on now.
I have mixed feelings about the way this went down. On one hand, I am the mother and I wanted it short. But now that it's short I can't help but wonder why my preference for his hair should supercede his preference. So I slathered myself up with a generous helping of guilt, and am on the brink of tears. (I know, what's new?) It seemed I was sparing him the humiliation of looking like a neglected orphan, but I have traded that for a significant drop in his self-worth. It never ceases to amaze me how we can be so motivated to do right by our kids, only to fall on our faces and bring them down with us. Or does that only happen to me?
So what do you guys think? Do I buy him a wig or defend my right to control my kids' appearances?
I suppose I could always get him a weave...
Before: (You can't see how it is a shelf in the back.)
After, with the penis-y hat:
When I forced him to take it off for 2.5 seconds: