My daughter cut her own bangs.
Last fall, I found a little strand of hair and some scissors in the kitchen under the table, and I didn’t think anything of it. Then I saw another lock of hair by the fridge. Weird, I thought, and went about my day.
A few days later, I saw more hair under the computer desk, and noticed that she had a new ‘do.
Let’s just say it wasn’t a particularly happy discovery for me. And since I am the parent who tends to freak out about all the things all the time, I was really working hard to manage my emotions on this one. I mean, if you freak out over EVERYTHING, then when something is really worth freaking out over, do they even notice? It’s something I’ve really been working on.
I took a deep breath and counted to five. Then I asked her about it.
“Did you cut your hair?”
“No,” she replied.
“YES Mama, I did NOT cut my hair!”
“Are you sure?” I asked. “This is your last chance to tell the truth.”
She looked worried, then instantly her expression changed to repentant. She sighed a heavy sigh. “Mama, okay. I did it.”
“Hmm,” I said, wheels turning in my mind. I mean, is it really THAT big of a deal that she cut her own hair? Nope. But hiding it from me IS a big deal.
“Well, scissors are for paper, not for hair. So, you won’t be using scissors without supervision for a little while. And you can’t get up early and do art by yourself for the rest of this week.”
Her most favourite time of day – 6am at the dining room table, working on drawing and coloring and art and all manner of cutting and gluing and so on.
It was as if I had cut off her right arm. She wailed, “Mama! Why?! OH PLEASE, WHY?!”
We had talked about trust in the past, so I reminded her what it was and how important it is for our family. And I explained that when she cut her hair and hid it from me, she had broken my trust and would have to show me that she could be trusted to do art by herself.
After a week, we were back to 6am drawing sessions. But unsupervised scissors took a bit longer. Eventually, even those returned.
Fast forward about a year, to last Sunday.
She wore a headband to church, which was not unusual, and I didn’t even notice that the scissors had struck again. But later that afternoon, some little bangs caught my eye.
I am pretty sure smoke blew out my ears when I realized she had cut own her hair AGAIN. I took a deep breath and counted to five, then calmly asked her the question.
“Did you cut your bangs?”
“No,” she tried to lie.
“Are you sure?” I looked in her eyes.
“Really? Because it looks shorter in the front,” I said nonchalantly.
She relented. “Yes Mama, I did.”
I took another deep breath. “We’ve already talked about this,” I said. “Scissors are not for hair. When did you cut it?” I led her to the bathroom mirror so I could inspect the damage.
“Before church,” she admitted.
I fiddled with her new baby bangs, trying to find a way to keep them from sticking up. We put a bit of water on them, and it helped. A little.
Sighing, I pressed my lips together, searching for the right words AND the right way to say them. “I don’t think I can fix your hair. I was going to take you to the salon for a haircut, but since you already cut your bangs we’ll have to wait until they grow out.”
“Oh,” she said in a small voice.
“Can you tell me why you cut them?”
“They were in my eyes,” she said.
“Okay, well, you know that you are not supposed to cut your own hair, right?”
“Yes,” she said quietly. “I won’t do it again.”
“Ever,” I added.
“Ever,” she repeated. She was waiting for an angry loud exchange, followed by a lecture.
Instead, I put my arms around her shoulders.
“Well, at least it was after picture day at school. And at least you didn’t grab a bunch from the top,” I said. “I know some kids who just grab any spot and cut away. And then it REALLY sticks up,” I laughed.
She burst out laughing at the idea.
We both relaxed.
“Listen,” I said tenderly, leaning down to meet her eye to eye. “I love you, and I know you know not to cut your own hair. I am not going to give you a consequence, but I hope you can remember this moment and remember that scissors are for…”
“Paper!” she finished. “I love you Mama,” she said.
The funniest part is, she actually did a really good job. Both times. And for a kid who is dreaming of being a hairdresser when she grows up, a pair of leopard print scissors are just dying to be tried out on her long thick hair!