Friday, October 2, 2009

a bad haircut

I took Sam and Katie in to Supercuts to get haircuts the other day. Now this should be a fairly simple thing. Kate just has a little bob...nothing too complicated. Sam, however, makes this should-be-simple task into pure torture. In all fairness, it's not his fault. He has always been ultra-sensitive with anything to do with his hair. Washing and combing it is hard enough but cutting it, is by far the most painful. He says it hurts to touch his hair and head. I have to believe him because he genuinely seems to be in distress and hurting. I think it's tied in with his sensory issues but I'm not qualified to make those assumptions. Or so I've been told.

Anyways...I dread bringing him in for a trim. So I put it off. I put it off until Sam is beginning to resemble a troll doll. It'd be so much easier if I just took him when he only needed a little trim but I don't. I just keep putting it off...and putting it off...and putting it off. Because it's not only a painful experience for's a painful experience for me as well. I never know how to go about telling the stylist about Sam. I don't want to be seen as "that" mother, who makes excuses for her child's bad behaviour. Because I'm not making excuses. I just want her to be more understanding of why he's acting the way he does when he's getting his haircut. I don't want her to get annoyed at him. But it feels wrong somehow, to preface his haircut with "He's going to freak out, screech, duck to get away from your scissors, and frantically brush off every bit of hair that lands on his body. Oh and the cape, gives him the heebie jeebies, can we just go with a towel draped over his back? By the way, he's not acting like that on purpose...he's got sensory processing issues." But I have to say something. Even if it makes me look like an overindulgent mother. I can only imagine what the stylist says when we leave.

These supposed-to-be-simple moments are what really drive home Sam's differences. The stylist that cut Katie's hair came over and took her by the hand and helped her into the seat. She chatted with Kate about her birthday while fastening the cape and spraying her hair with water. Kate looked down or straight ahead or whichever way the stylist directed. She was done in about ten minutes. I was so engrossed in helping Sam calm down and getting him to sit still, I didn't even realize she had finished and was sitting back down with Teresa. With Sam it's a battle from start to finish. The cape, the spray bottle, the scissors, the comb, the buzzers (OH THE HORROR!), the snipped bits of hair. It's all too much for him and he just freaks. I'm ashamed to admit that this bugs the hell out of me. I just want to take him to get his haircut and it always has to be a big effing deal. I'm ashamed to say we left the salon with Sam's hair a mess, because I couldn't take it anymore. I'm ashamed to say I yelled at him. A bit hypocritical that I expect the stylist, someone who doesn't know him and love him, to understand his behaviour, when I, his mother, gets pissed off about the way he's acting? So we leave the salon with me angry and horribly guilty...Sam in tears and feeling like he let me down. And what do I do after we leave the salon with only Teresa and Katie smiling. I drive directly to another salon.

Honestly, Sam's haircut was so bad. I had to have someone fix it but the first stylist was beyond done dealing with Sam. So we marched into another place and I tried once again to tell the stylist what to expect with Sam. This time however she took him and walked waaaaaaayyyyy to the back where I really couldn't see what was going on. I didn't hear any loud wails so I crossed my fingers and prayed he was doing alright. When they emerge from the back of the salon, Sam is red eyed and twitching from all the little hairs down his back. And....he is practically BALD! His hair hasn't been this short since he was about 8 months old. I love my child and think he is gorgeous, full head of hair or not. But truth be told, he can't swing the super short look. His head is too big and his ears stick out. But there's nothing I can do about it now. Sam was glad he was done with the haircutting torture for the day. Heck, with his hair this short, he won't need a cut for good long time. Which, I guess, is a good thing. We both need time to recover.


Dori said...

I'm sorry Sam had such a hard time. I feel your pain as E is the exact same way. Because of this we only cut his hair 1-2 times per year. M got his cut on Saturday and the first thing the barber said was "where's the screamer?" He hasn't been there since May. He's only 4 and has already left a lasting impression.

kidletsmum said...

Marie, EcoKid is EXACTLY the same about haircuts, hairbrushing, hairwashing. (She's being assessed for SPD.) I've only managed one and a half haircuts on her in her whole life. They were such hell that I can't bring myself to put her or me through it again.

Someone should open a salon for kids on the spectrum and/or with SPD. Because seriously, our children are not the only ones who struggle. And you and I are not the only mamas who get angry and feel guilty.

There has to be a better way, doesn't there?

Marie said...

Glad I'm not the only one in this particular boat. It's comforting somehow to know other Moms 'get' what I'm talking about.