Monday, December 7, 2009

Kid-Friendly, Passionate, and Professional

I am swearing off those "fun" haircutting joints for kids, like this one or like the one we visited today, Cool Cuts 4 Kids. We went there before on the recommendation of a neighbor. It wasn't a great experience, but it wasn't horrible, and at least I got his hair cut. This time, though: not good.

First we went to give blood, and the phlebotomist, remembering us from previous visits, mentioned how big he's getting and how long his hair is. It's hard to tell how adorably moppish it is here, but this is the "before" picture I took (with the usual camera resistance):

So I told her that we were going to get a haircut today, but I spelled the word and told her I didn't want to give him advance warning since he's not real keen on the idea of haircuts lately. She told me that her kid hates haircuts too, but she didn't spell it, and Thumper immediately started yelling about how he WON'T get a haircut! Thanks, lady.

So we headed to the barber that we went to for his second-ever haircut. That one went pretty smoothly and was about $7 cheaper than the Fun! For Kids! places. But today, the barber was closed. How do you make a business profitable by closing shop in the middle of the day on a Monday, is what I'd like to know, but oh well. So we went to Cool Cuts again.

Immediately, I knew it was a bad idea. I think I could've made it work, but the available "stylist" wasn't going to let me. Thumper ran straight to the train table at the front of the shop. He loves trains, and he remembered it from our previous visit. I would've let him play for a bit and get comfortable, but she immediately tried to grab his hand and lead him away. So I picked him up to carry him to the chair. The phone rang, and she ran to the back to answer it, so I let him choose between the yellow car and the red fire truck. He chose the car. When I started to put him into it, he tensed up and said, "I don't want a haircut!" I held on to him while he stood in the seat, pointed out the T.V., and told him he could watch a Barney video. God help me; the kid loves Barney. He was just warming to the idea when the "stylist" suddenly returned, put her hands on both his thighs and started forcibly pushing him hard down into the chair. He began screaming, locked his arms around my neck and climbed straight up my torso.

So I picked him up and walked quickly toward the door.

"Wait, wait!" she said. "I have a lollipop!"

"If you'd given me a minute," I yelled, "I could've talked him into it, but you pushed him and now he's freaking out. I'm not going to do it now. He's a human being, not a puppet!"

"I'm sorry!" she said. "Wait, wait!" But we were gone. I may have mumbled an inappropriate word or two on our way out the door.

I sat in the car with Thumper for a few minutes and calmed him down. I reassured him we weren't going back to the barber, and that I was mad at her, not at him. I asked him if he wanted to go to his favorite place for lunch. I reassured him some more. He stopped crying, and I buckled him into his seat.

"Did you say, 'Goddammit?'" he asked.

"Yes," I said. "I'm sorry. It's not a nice thing to say."

"Say, 'Darnit.'" he advised. Then, "I'm going to dry my eyes a little bit. They're wet."

God, I love that kid.


Purelight said...

I love him too, and I love how you love him. Personally, I've always favored the moppet look for all my little boys. Just go with it!

Lisa L said...

I took my boy for his first 'professional' haircut at a barber shop in Denver. The barber, unfortunately, chose to wear a white coat..a la a doctor's coat. Immediately the boy freaked out.. I persisted...and a horrible half hour later? The barber told me I needed to take parenting classes (based on the boy's hideous behavior during the cut.) Do you know? I cut that kid's hair myself for the following 15 years...

anne said...

I am so sorry you and Thumper had to experience that situation. It seems that a lot of the "kid friendly" places do not train their staff to actually be "kid-friendly."

We have had those types of experiences before, and it takes a long time to get over them.

However, it can be done.

My little guy wanted NOTHING to do with the dentist, even after he had seen his big sister in the chair and met all the nice people in the office. When he pitched a fit about opening his mouth, the hygenist kindly recommended we come back another time. She did not want his first visits to the dentist to be traumatic ones - no matter that they lost a booked appointment for the day.

Since that time our son has done so much better, but the staff really does go at his pace, and it may take a little longer, but everyone is pleased with the results.

You were right to leave the place, and to give the stylist a dressing down in how to treat children.

Logical Libby said...

At least you can still say Damnit. And I like messy hair on boys.

Jennie said...

OH I want to reach right through the interwebs and squoosh him! You handled that lady exactly right - hopefully in future she will think about how to do her job a little better instead of obviously just trying to crank out the kid haircuts.

Amy said...

Good job standing up for your son. I think shaggy is perfectly OK for wee ones. On one of Hannah's first haircuts the gal had me sit in the chair with her in my lap facing me with a lollipop to keep her busy. I could keep her focused on me and talk to her to keep her calm.

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