Before I became a mom, I had all sorts of ideas of what parenting would be like, and even made a whole long list of things I'd want to do with my daughters, and another list of things I'd want to do with my sons.
Fast forward 8 years, and very few things of what I do are what I expected I'd be doing. For one, I'd always expected to have my daughters have long hair, which I'd style each morning. For another, I never expected that I'd be an unschooler, who doesn't just follow unschooling tenets for educating, but also sometimes when it comes to child rearing (often referred to as radical unschooling or whole life unschooling). We're definitely not complete radical unschoolers, but I do pick and choose certain things from the philosophy that make sense to me, and jive with my parenting style.
One of the big rules of radical unschooling is body autonomy, respecting your child's body, and letting them choose what they want to do with it, so long as they aren't hurting anyone else or themselves, and so long as it doesnt affect their health/hygiene. This makes sense to me. This, therefore, includes whatever hairstyles they want to have, even if it isn't the type of hairstyle you'd want your kids to have.
I've heard of parents that will not let their kids cut their hair. I don't think that is fair. It's the kids' hair, and the kids who needs to sit through the brushing, washing, styling of their hair, and for the parent to not let their kid cut it, simply because the parents can't bear to part with their kids hair- just doesn't seem right to me, and it seems that it isn't respecting the kid's feelings enough. Respecting a kid's body and choice over his own body is an important step in kids learning to take responsibility for their own body, respect their body, and not anyone take advantage of their body. Not guaranteed, but it certainly plays a part.
I'm also very into treating my kids the way I would want to be treated, and not deciding that the rule of "treat others how you want to be treated" doesn't apply to my kids. I can just imagine how I'd feel if I'd want to have my hair a certain style, and be told that I couldn't have that style because someone else doesn't want me to. I mean, excuse me- my hair, my choice.
So anyhow, why am I going into this?
Well, Anneliese, my 3.5 year old, has been asking me to give her a haircut for a while already.
Every single time she sees me cut her brothers' hair, she's asked me to cut her hair. Sometimes I oblige and give her a little trim.
But she has been getting upset at this.
She wants short hair, she says. Like her brothers.
A few days ago Ike had a haircut. With a hair cutting machine. And Anneliese was begging "Please cut my hair."
And that evening, I found her in the bathroom, door closed, attempting to cut her own hair. She cut off only two little snips before I found her.
But this apparently was something she really wanted to do.
I wasn't just going to cut it. Because as much as she wanted it short, she is still just 3.5, and she isn't mature enough to understand long term consequences of her actions on her own. So as a parent, it's my job to intervene and help her with her decision making process. We discussed it together, what it means to have short hair. That it means that she won't be able to make braids and all sorts of hair styles. And if she changes her mind, it takes a long time to have long hair again.
She didn't budge.
So we looked through the internet and found a bunch of pictures of short haircuts, pixie cuts, bobs, etc... and I asked her if she liked them and wanted her hair to look like them. She got so excited she would crack up from happiness and say YES!
For a few days I showed her such pictures, asked her if that was what she really really wanted, and she said yes every single time, then asked "When will you cut my hair?"
Last night, as I was putting her to bed, just as she was about to fall asleep, she said sadly "You still didn't cut my hair." So I reassured her and told her that we'd cut her hair today.
Now what about my feelings?
Well, as I said, I really did dream of doing fancy things with my daughter's hair.
But her hair is nothing like mine.
Mine is pin straight, always neat, and isn't hard to take care of at all.
Anneleise's hair is just "messy". Not straight, not wavy, not curly- it's a mix of them all, and her hair does not stay neat, no matter what. She'll develop a rat's nest in seconds, lives with a constant state of "bed head". Even after I style it and make it really pretty, within a very short while it's back to looking neglected and uncared for, and just detracts from her looks. And she really does hate brushing it.
So I figured that maybe a pixie cut really would work for her. Maybe it would look super cute, make her look even cuter, would keep her hair looking neat and not constantly a mess, and she won't regret it. Who knows? No way to know the future, no way of knowing what would be unless I do it.
And so today, I meant to get her hair cut with a local hair dresser. Since I didn't know what I was doing, and if I was doing a drastic hair cut on my kid, I didn't want to mess it up.
Only the first one I had her wrong number. And the second one didn't answer her phone.
But I told Anneliese we'd get her hair cut today, so I looked on the internet for tutorials on how to cut a pixie cut.
And it seemed pretty easy and straight forward. (I have cut hair before. I cut my boys hair all the time, used to cut my mom's hair, and give myself my own hair cuts.)
Following this tutorial I cut Anneliese's hair. First I cut it a little longer because I was afraid of messing it up, but then when I saw it was ok, and wasn't messing up, I went over again and did it shorter.
I think the results came out terrific.
When I showed her in the mirror how her hair looked, she was so excited, you can't even begin to imagine. She was giggling from excitement and couldn't stop looking in the mirror. "Do you like your haircut?" I asked her. "Yea! I love it!" she answered, with a really big grin!
|In case you were wondering- in the before picture, her hair was only a few minutes post brushing out.|
And I feel great about two things.
Also that I respected my daughter's feelings and desires and let her have the haircut she wanted.
And that I managed to do the haircut myself. Since a pixie cut is a high maintenance haircut, so paying a hair dresser repeatedly to keep it looking decent wasn't something I wanted to have to keep on doing.
So if you want to know how I did it- here's how.
First I wet her hair and combed it out, to make it more manageable during the cutting.
First I sectioned off the upper part of her hair, and divided it into two pony tails, which I then made into buns. This was to keep it out of the way while I layered the rest.
Then, section by section, I took my daughter's hair and I held it between my fingers, and cut down, parallel almost to her scalp. In this picture the scissors were too far away- this was the first cut I made and I was afraid it would be too drastic. To get the pixie cut I repeated this, but about 1.5 inches closer to her head.
I did this all around.
Then I took the buns, and opened them up, so they were just pony tails. I cut them about 2 inches past the pony tail.
I took out the pony tails, and voila- all done!
All I needed was a few adjustments for hairs that I missed.
But it really was very easy, and free, and I think the results came out better even then I hoped.
Other lesson to self- pixie cuts look really cute on kids!
Do you cut your kids' hair? How do you decide what length to make their hair be at? Do you give your kids the haircuts that they want, or that you want?
Have you ever given your daughters pixie cuts? Did they ever regret it?