I went outside for a few minutes to pick some parsley in the greenhouse yesterday, and when I got back to the house, I discovered that Levi had chopped off a significant portion of Charlotte’s hair.
We’ve been experimenting a little lately with leaving by themselves for bits of time. Not hours or anything, but maybe 10 or 15 minutes while I run out to collect eggs or Henry unloads his truck. Thankfully, our kids are generally well behaved, and I trust them. They’re old enough and savvy enough to know not to mess with the woodstove or go wandering off by themselves. Sure there have been a few incidents with puddles of glue, markered up faces, and cat harassment, but until now, nothing had happened that couldn’t be wiped down or smoothed over.
I’d heard plenty of stories about kids cutting their own or other kids’ hair. I was aware that it happened all the time, but I really never thought it would happen in MY house…until it did. The thing is, Charlotte was a very bald baby, and even as a toddler, what hair she did have was pretty much invisible. You can see a photo of her on her second birthday here. Finally, FINALLY, her hair grew long enough for pigtails and then a decent ponytail. I’m certainly not a fan of princessification of little girls, but something about her longish (often tangled) locks seemed special somehow. Something about her first haircut seemed (irrationally) sacred, and I’d been thwarting requests (from Charlotte herself) and inquiries (from other people) for months.
When I came in and saw Charlotte’s massacred head of hair, I will admit that I cried, but when I started to give them both a stern talkin’ to, and I found that I had a hard time putting into words what exactly was so wrong about their actions. They seemed equally perplexed about what they’d done wrong. I’d told them a hundred times not to touch sharp knives without adult supervision, but I don’t think I’d ever specifically told Levi not to cut off Charlotte’s hair. Then I laughed a little. And then I called my mom, and she couldn’t stop laughing. And then I posted a status update on my personal Facebook page, and a bunch of people “liked” it, and I thought to myself, ‘Why are you people liking this? It is a TRAGEDY!” but really, they’re right. In the grand sceme of things, it’s not a big deal; it’s only a good story.
This morning, I gave her a bath with lots of conditioner to smooth it out, and then I trimmed around the edges. I was kind of surprised by how much was left and how well it sorta conformed into an actual hairstyle. There is still a nearly bald spot in the back and a big chunk out over her left ear, but in the end, I think she looks pretty darn cute. Reluctantly, I think I’m going to have to admit that it might even look better now than before.
I think I’ve learned more during this incident than she has although I’m pretty sure she’s aware of the fact that she is to never ever cut her hair without my permission again. I am, however, hoping that I have another 10-15 years before she knowingly gives herself another appalling haircut again, but that will be a whole ‘nother kind of parenting lesson. *sigh*