The first haircut is the deepest

Watching your toddler grow up and achieve new milestones is an awesome experience, as well as slightly heartbreaking. With each new step, new word and new talent, I can see my kiddo growing up. What has provided some comfort is that Eleanor still looks like a baby. Or, she did. Until she had her first haircut.

As adorable as her three pigtails were, I had to breakdown and admit that it was time for a haircut. Watching a one-year-old constantly brushing the hair from her eyes is a sad sight. Plus, hockey hair isn't very becoming. I asked friends for recommendations for a fun salon that provided great service for children and booked an appointment, feeling calm and sure of myself.

As we walked through the parking lot to the front doors of the salon, I saw other moms arriving with gifts. There was a birthday party happening in the back. A birthday party. At a hair salon. What kind of place was this? I will tell you: it was heaven on Earth for any nervous mom. We received a warm and kid-friendly greeting as we entered: "Well, hello Dolly!" The chairs were full of content children getting trimmed. And by chairs, I mean Barbie Jeeps and race cars. One child was getting a cut while playing a video game. Another little girl was watching a Disney Movie on her own personal flat screen. Haircuts sure weren't like this when I was a kid. I am pretty sure my mom cut my hair until I was about 10 years old.

Eleanor was hoisted into a pink Barbie Jeep and instantly became nervous. The seat was wobbly and high off the ground. She gripped the sides and looked at me with trepidation. But, then her choice of DVD was put on her television (Backyardigans, of course) and she calmed a little bit. The stylist quickly wet, cut, dried and styled Eleanor's hair. The whole process took about 10 minutes (Thanks, Miss Angie!). Eleanor let out a couple whines, but was a trooper overall. I, on the other hand, wasn't helping, leaning in with my camera to photograph every strand of hair being snipped.  Miss Angie assured me that I was not the craziest mom she had seen, citing a poor woman who had been in the week before and was crying as she walked through the door.

I didn’t cry. Although, I must admit that when I saw Eleanor’s finished look, I felt a pang in my heart. There was my baby, looking like a little girl. She was beautiful and happy, excited to receive a balloon after her brave performance. The salon also provided a before and after photo, a lock of Eleanor’s hair and a “first cut” certificate. I think I deserved a certificate for keeping my tears in check.

If you're about to embark upon the first haircut adventure, here are some tips:

  • Bring lots of distractions and entertainment (yes, I begrudgingly handed over a cell phone for Eleanor to play with).
  • Snacks never hurt.
  • Be upbeat and positive about the experience. If you burst into tears, your kiddo might, too.
  • Make an appointment during your child's happiest time of day. A hungry toddler begging for a nap is not a great client.
  • Congratulate and praise your child throughout the cut. A little encouragement can go a long way.
  • It seems like a strange tradition, but do save a lock of hair. It is a nice keepsake for your little one.


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