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Emma's first haircut

January 5, 2008 - Betsy Bethel
Before my daughter Emma was born, I received two separate gifts of tiny keepsake box sets that each included a receptacle for a lock of hair from her first haircut. Born a baldie, Emma pretty much stayed one until she was about 14 months old, so it always seemed that she'd never grow enough hair to be able to spare a lock for a keepsake, let alone would the day ever come when she'd need a full-blown haircut.

Well, that day has arrived.

I've been fussing about her hair for a couple months now because her bangs are always in her eyes and she refuses to keep a clip in. (She's so fascinated by the tiny metal sparkly clip that she has to pull it out and ogle it as soon as it is snapped in place!)

Every time I looked at her I could hear my deceased grandmother's voice from the grave: "Get your hair out of your eyes!" Gram's admonishments came often to both my older sister and brother in those days of the late 1970s and early 1980s when the trend for both sexes -- which has come full circle -- included long bangs.

I did trim Emma's bangs about five months ago, very hesitantly and inexpertly. It was obvious it was a Mom-job. I'm embarrassed enough at my novice attempts at trimming our pet golden retriever's fur, let alone should I ever have attempted to turn the scissors on my poor daughter.

I hemmed and hawed all through the holidays, grilling relatives who have daughters about their first haircuts and fretting about Emma having a -- God forbid -- "baby mullet" if I got only her bangs cut (her very thin blond hair falls just below her shoulders with some soft curls).

Decision time came when my husband Dave announced this morning he was going for a haircut at 11:45 a.m. I broke down and said Emma and I would come with him so Emma could get her hair cut.

Despite the fact that a boy just a month older than her screamed and cried through his entire haircut right before her, Emma did great in the barber chair. I think she might have been primed because she "helped" me give our poor dog a trim this morning. If she had acted up, I could have told her that her cousins Ethan and Garrett both got their first haircuts from this barber (Don Falbo in Martins Ferry), and they still do. Plus, Daddy could have gotten in the chair before her if need be. But it wasn't necessary.

So, Emma now has a baby mullet -- nice, neat, professionally cut bangs and long curls in back. Who cares? It's her hair, and it's beautiful -- she's beautiful.

This point was brought home to me by Don's daughter, Jamie, also a stylist. I asked her what she thought I should do with Emma's hair -- you know, should I get the back cut so she doesn't have a mullet.

"Let me tell you something," Jamie said in a tone that told me she meant to give it to me straight. "Yesterday, I had someone make the most ridiculous request I've heard in 26 years of doing hair. A woman came in here with a little girl 15 months old and said she wanted 'the Suri Cruise haircut.'" Suri Cruise being the daughter of actors Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

I agree that that's going a bit far, don't you? To ask for a celebukid 'do for your toddler?

Giving the mom the benefit of the doubt, maybe she wasn't trying to make her kid fit a star mold, maybe she just liked Suri's hair. The thing is, it's Suri's hair, not her kid's!

Jamie's point to me was just that: Emma's hair is Emma's hair. Do the practical thing by getting it trimmed to keep it out of her eyes. Don't cut off her curls just so she doesn't have a out-of-date style. She's a toddler, for heaven's sake.

This goes so far beyond just haircuts, but I'll leave it there for now. I have to go and place her lock of hair (that I completely would have forgotten to get, by the way, if Daddy hadn't reminded me!) into one of her keepsake boxes.

The other box in the set is for her first baby tooth to come out. That day seems sooooo far away ....


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