This could be a “before” picture.
Boy child got his hair cut tonight. If any of you knows a child with autism, you totally get why this is a major event.
We do his hair at home. Yes, it may take several tries to get it straight, as my friend Nicole has noted with appropriate love and humor, but I can sneak up on him with the scissors and snip those annoying little missed hairs. (Nicole solves the whole problem on her two boys by using the clippers. She has offered up her services to us a few times, and we both chuckle at how fast my dude can leave the room screaming.)
Most people just run their kids over to the hair salon that features trains and race cars in place of chairs and a TV for every client. These places don’t work for us. At all. The staff throw their hands in the air and give up. One, because he’s squirming and fighting and gripping their wrists as they try to work and we are all scared of them cutting him and not necessarily by accident. Two, he’s screaming like a victim in a slasher movie and the whole mall probably hears him.
He leaves their salon with a crooked haircut and enough hate in his heart to sink a Uboat. And I leave knowing I overtipped for a crappy haircut.
Still, there is another reason I do his hair myself. I noticed by the way he squirmed that the problem was more than just a sensitive scalp. No one could touch his neck. Like most kids with sensory issues he hates anything touching his hair, but trimming the back was a whole new level of Hell No.
And then the light bulb went on. He’s just like me.
Growing up I had a weird sensitivity to my neck. It doesn’t bother me so much anymore, but well into my teenage years certain pressures, like a stream of water right at the hairline, would hit some nerve, and this nerve tickled my kidneys.
That’s right. It tickled. At my kidneys. And not a pleasant and relaxing tickle. You know those awful tickles that grownups used to do on kids (and some still do) because it brought out the gut laughs? And they since have declared it a form of abuse? That’s what I got at the nape of my neck. Thankfully, since I was a girl I never needed my hair cut that short or that often, but shampooing was not fun. It was tortuous and nothing helped.
Dimitri doesn’t have the luxury of only occasional haircuts. He hates it. I hate it. I admit I let his hair grow for months to spare us both the trauma, but eventually it must be done.
Some of you probably wonder how we even get him to sit in the chair. You might even wonder if duct tape is involved. A reasonable query, but no. Nothing that cheap. It’s the running promise from his father. Every time that kid gets a haircut, he’s earned a trip to the toy store.
From Dimitri’s point of view this holds the title of Best Bribe Ever. When he really wants to earn a toy he doesn’t do chores. He doesn’t work extra hard for better grades. He just comes up to me and says, “I want a haircut.”
Which means we have found a brand new way for a haircut to set us back $40.