Friday, November 18, 2005

Torture Chamber

On Tuesday, my sons and I played "torture chamber." Oh, yes, it started out innocently enough. T--, the 2-year-old, was still in his pajamas, watching Barney in the living room, adjacent to the kitchen, while delicately slurping chocolate milk out of his sippy cup. He had that "just woken up" smell and was cocooned within his blanket and snuggle, reclining gracefully on a pillow. Such the picture of tranquil domesticity.

Now, picture a madwoman carrying a chainsaw (a.k.a. hair clippers) entering the kitchen. With an insanely evil laugh, she captures said 2-year-old and removes his jammies down to a top and a diaper. Suspecting nothing, T-- giggles and gives the woman a hug as she carries him to the electric chair (a.k.a. the high chair). Upon realizing that he is going to have to sit in said chair and (heaven forbid) be STRAPPED IN, he begins his struggle.

Alas, he is firmly entrapped! [sharp and prolonged intake of breath] The madwoman plugs in her torture device and gets to work. Ah ha ha ha ha ha!!!! As the hair flies, the tears and boogers flow as quickly as the chocolate waterfall in Willy Wonka, although the river is perhaps not as sanitary or palatable. The ensuing screams would bring forth a compassionate response from most mothers, but this is no ordinary mom. This is a mom with hair clippers, scissors, and a mission. [cue Mission Impossible music] The mission? To give the 2-year-old a haircut before he looks like a girl or self-destructs, whichever comes first.

The results were pretty decent, if I do say so myself. And it would have stayed that way if he hadn't grabbed the scissors about two hours later and cut a huge chunk out of the front. Of course I had to fix it, much to his dismay. He was thrashing around so much this time that in the end I just had to give him a buzz cut (using the longest setting I could--I didn't want him bald). It was bad enough the first time to watch parts of his curls fall to the floor, but they practically disappeared the second time around. However, after 9 years of doing my boys' haircuts (yes, that includes their dad as well), I know that the only way to get the job done is to strap 'em down, work really fast, and ignore the shrieks of "NOOOoooooo! Mama! NOOOooooo! Hair owieeeeee!"

You'd have thought I'd had enough hair cutting by then, but no...we moms must be either long-suffering or forgetful: I decided that S--, the 6-year-old, needed a haircut too. His hair was even longer than the baby's. I could have put it in little pigtails all over his head and made him look like a Koosh ball. (I actually threatened to do this, but for some reason he was not amused.) He was long overdue, and it was going to be more than a trim.

I'd been easing S-- into the idea for weeks now, but you'd think I had sprung it on him without warning. He pleaded with me to please use just the scissors. I calmly explained that his hair was too long: he'd refused to let me cut it earlier when I could have just trimmed it with scissors. Now we were going to have to use [dum dum dum, long pause] the buzzers. [Enter Mrs. Norman Bates with hair clippers in hand; proceed with high pitched screaming.]

The screaming lasted from the moment I turned on the clippers until the second I turned them off. Any eavesdropping passersby would have thought I was trying to perform an appendectomy on the child using my dullest serrated kitchen knife. Then, as I was finishing off with the scissors, he kept asking me, "Aren't you done yet, Mom? This is taking way too long." Grrrrr. It would have taken much longer to do the whole thing with the scissors (which is why I ousted that option), but it would have been much faster to buzz the whole thing (which he absolutely refused). Here I was trying to compromise and I was getting COMPLAINTS about how long it was taking?!?!?

Maybe next time I should take them to a barber.


becks said...

I love hearing these stories because these are the things you don't think about when you think about having a child. Not that i'm thinking about that because I don't even have a boyfriend at the moment.

Lyle said...

I think this is a perfect example of God's sense of humor in action. I have yet to meet a boy (myself included) who did not hate the use of clippers when having a haircut. I can only imagine a certain individual on high, just busting at the seam each time a mother has to strap a son into the chair and commence such torturous acts.

Like I said, I was one of those squirming little boys whenever my mom cut my hair. I was always told by my father (who has sported a buzz cut from the day he was born) that I could either have my mom cut it or he would cut it (meaning make me look like him). I always opted for the first.

How funny it is now, that my favorite part of having my hair cut, is when my wife uses the clippers.

Lorien said...

You know, Julie, I've learned that if you oil the clippers before you use them, they cut the hair rather than ripping it out by the roots. Just a suggestion.

Julie said...

becks: glad you liked the story. There are lots more things you don't think about when you think of having a baby. Things like, how will I feel when the baby projectile vomits at the in-laws house? What do I do when the kid poops and the diaper leaks all over my nice dry-clean-only dress in the middle of sacramanet meeting? How does one handle it when the child knocks down an entire pyramid display of paint in a hardware store and one of the cans bursts? Things to think about...

lyle: good to see you posting here. I've always believed that God has a great sense of humor. One of my favorite biblical examples of this is when the children of Israel complain about having to eat manna all the time. They want Moses to ask God for meat. God says, in effect, "Fine. I'll give you meat. I'll give you so much meat it will come out of your nostrils." That's exactly how I feel sometimes when my kids pester me continually for something that's not good for them.

lorien: good idea about oiling the clippers. I'll have to try that next time haircut time rolls around. I guess I could also do what my dad did with my brothers. They all got buzz cuts when they were little, and when cut time came around, Dad would yell out, "The longer you wait, the shorter it gets!" Buzz cuts definitely reduce the need for frequent haircuts.

compulsive writer said...

Buzz cuts are God's gift to moms who are a little scissorally challenged, but for some of us, haircuts are still better left to the professionals.

The first time I decided to break in the great set of clippers my cosmetology-school-graduate brother (no, he's not gay) handed down to me I made a rather stupid mistake. I hadn't really grasped the concept of the plastic clip-on guides. I just fired up the clippers and went for it right up the middle of Luke's scalp. OOPS!

Lorien thought a mullet was bad news--reverse mohawks were not all the rage. Luke got his first military haircut without knowing what hit him. He's such a handsome kid he could really pull it off, but one of my friend's kids took one look and started to cry.

Like I said before, it's sure a great thing that hair grows out rather quickly...

Julie said...

Scissorally challenged....what a great phrase! I loved the story of your freind's kid crying over Luke's reverse mohawk. I hope you got pictures.

Phil asked me to give him a buzz cut a year or so ago during the summer. It looked awful on him! One of his friends at work told him he looked like a chemo patient. Every time I see this co-worker of Phil's, he thanks me for not buzzing Phil's hair again.