February 15, 2013 by Julia
Jack is finally getting “real hair” and I keep checking in with my friend who has a five-year-old son to get her opinion on whether he needs a haircut yet, or not. Before becoming a parent, I never wanted to be one of those people who let their young son grow his hair completely out, like Kate Hudson and her little rocker. This was an unexamined judgment on my part – again, pre-parenthood – but I assumed it had something to do with parents indulging their own whims. As though they couldn’t be parted with any aspect of their precious son, and affection had clouded their judgment, because he would in my opinion look much cuter with short hair, and playground folk could stop feeling confused about whether their own kid is playing with a boy or girl. For the record, I didn’t take into account that maybe the boy himself preferred it long, and the parents didn’t think it was a battle worth fighting – which I totally respect.
And now that I have a toddler son of my own, whom I still pick up while announcing “This is a tiiiiiiiiiiiny baby!” even though he’s freakishly tall and would climb up a mountain and then rappel back down it more skillfully than I could (I only know what “rappel” means because they’re always rappelling down the sides of skyscrapers on The Bachelor), well…I get it. You see, he’s got these little blonde curls on the back of his head that make him look like a cherub. Which is especially cute because he’s more of a wild smiling charmer of an imp than a cherub. And when he gets up in the morning it’s with an endearingly crazy case of bed head, and he’s in his footsie pajamas and he’s saying “Mama, mama, mama!” And it’s him…his hair is part of him…I don’t want to cut it off! Don’t make me, society! Can’t you see?? My son is different. He can pull off the long hair, because he’s just that much more special and cute. So yes, I’ve joined the Indulgent Moms of Sons Club.
I actually sort of planned on driving him to a cheap hair salon for his first haircut yesterday. I say “sort of” because I was going through the motions of it, without actually having decided whether it was time, yet. I took lots of “before” pictures on the way to the car, so that I could write a post entitled “Jack’s First Haircut” with full illustrations. After strapping him into his car seat, I called Dennis to ask him what he thought about it. He said he thought Jack’s hair looked fine, but he didn’t object to a haircut, either. No help at all. I started driving toward a cheap hair salon. I made it to the parking lot, but did not even pull into a space; I kept on going across the street to the library. It felt anticlimactic, but it’s not as though Jack has a mullet or a rattail or flowing locks or anything. Inside the library we found a new little friend named Eddie – twenty-one months old, with curly platinum blonde hair down to his shoulders. I liked Eddie’s mom so much, and the two boys were such peas in a pod, that I made the slightly awkward move of offering her my email address so we could arrange some play dates. I could tell she adored her son. She delighted in him, just like I delight in mine.
I know I’ve mentioned the mom-son connection before, and not to keep harping on about it…but I guess I’m still just surprised by it, eighteen months later. I had not an inkling of what that particular connection felt like before Jack; I just know it kind of annoyed me to see in others (mostly adult mama’s boy situations). But the moment I found out there was a boy in my belly, and I realized I’d be able to say “my son,” I felt it. He kicked twice as hard as Fiona did in my belly, and I felt his boyishness, and I loved it, even as he knocked the wind out of me. And now he is a tantrum-throwing, running-away, picky-eating, experimenting, mess-making danger addict, and I find myself saying NO and “OHHHH, Jack” resignedly all the time, and yet, he can do no wrong in my eyes. He does wrong all the time and yet he can do no wrong, because I am his adoring mama.
I own it, people. That’s half the battle in not being annoying about it, right?
And he really doesn’t need a haircut, yet. Look at these “before” pictures. They could just as easily be “after” pictures.