Sunday, March 1, 2015

Perfectly (and not so perfectly) Melted Moments

The other night, after Ryan was already tucked in, I was on the bottom bunk putting Zach to sleep. I thought Ryan had faded off  when I suddenly heard a little voice. "Mama?" He said. "Yes, Ryan?" I replied. "I think the greatest gift anyone can give is love." Wondering where such a profound statement came from I quickly responded, "Yes, yes it is buddy...I love you." He was sleepy. His voice was quiet. "I love you too, Mama," he said, "And you know what?" Soaking in this sweet moment, I climbed to the top bunk, "What buddy?" I said. "Kisses and hugs are how you get your love into people," he whispered as he planted five wet ones on my cheek and wrapped his arms around me tight. I returned his embrace and let his love and innocence and wisdom soak in.

These are the moments parenting is made of. I'll forget the whining and the arguing (between siblings) and the picky eating, and yes, even the stomach bugs from hell. But moments like these--where the innocence of childhood melts so perfectly together with all the important values and lessons I hope we're teaching--I hope I never, ever forget them. And yet, I worry that I will anyway.

Then, there are of course those moments where I am glad to know that a mother's memory is no where near as good as she wants it to be. 

Yesterday, we decided to take Zachary for a hair cut. I have always cut Zach's hair in the past. I've been cutting my husband's hair since we were married (nearly 10 years now!) and I've cut Ryan's hair since we started buzzing it. And when Zach needed his first hair cut I taught myself how to do a decent "little boy's" cut and have been doing it since with no drama. I'd give him a lollipop, he'd wiggle a little bit, and squirm like any other little boy. But that was it. 

Well, about a month ago, that all changed. I gave Matt his haircut, followed by Ryan. And then came Zach. I started by using the clippers on the back and sides, with the longest guard possible attached. Still no problem. I got the back and sides done. Then it was time to do the top and front with the scissors and he FREAKED OUT! He started yelling, "No Mama! No!" He was sobbing and trying to get away. It was awful. Nothing I said, or did would help. Not even offering him the giant (and I mean HUGE) lollipop he had recently been given for his birthday had any effect. Nothing would convince him to let me come at him with the scissors. So, I did the only thing I could do (remember, I'd already trimmed the back and sides) and used the clippers on his whole head. I was devastated. All his sweet baby hair was gone, just like that. This was him shortly before:
Clearly in need of a haircut. But still looking adorably like my baby.

Annnnnnddd, this was him immediately after the haircut: 

Traumatized and now looking about 17.

See? He didn't look like my baby anymore! On the bright side, I thought, "Well, it's so short we won't need to trim it for a long time!" Well, I was wrong. Its only been about a month and the back and sides around his ears already look shaggy. I'm happy to let the bangs grow and grow. But the rest is already looking a little rough. So, I decided, "Hey! We'll go to one of those cute kid places!" A friend of mine told me about a new place where the kid gets to sit in an airplane, they give them animal crackers or a lollipop, and they put on whatever show the kid wants. Great! Sounds awesome! Let's try it. 

So, try it we did. Yesterday, Zach walked into "Pigtails and Crew Cuts" with the confident swagger of the 17 year-old he looked like immediately post his last haircut (see above). He immediately began playing with the train table and fire station. He said, "Hair cut?" and I said, "Yes. We're here for a haircut!" "Pop?" he asked. Sure, kiddo! You can have whatever the heck you want if you let them cut your hair.

They called his name. I started walking up to the airplane with him. This was no ordinary airplane, this was a Blue Angels airplane! I pointed that out excitedly. And as soon as Zachary realized I had intentions of placing him in that airplane he FREAKED OUT! "NO! Mama!" he said. He writhed in my arms. I offered animal crackers and lollipops. He said, "No!" I coaxed and tried to build up the airplane and the lollipop some more. Nope. Not having any of it. 

Then one of the stylists said, "Is there a show he likes?" Of course! He doesn't like Toy Story (which was playing). Yes! Chuggington! "Zachary! Do you want to watch Chuggington?" "Yesh!" he says. Great! Progress. He sits in the chair. Then suddenly I notice every TV in the place goes black. Wait? What? Then all of them begin with "Chuuuuuug-ing-ton...chugga, chugga, chugga, chugga, Chugginton!" Oh god! Every kid in the place who was happily watching Toy Story is now being forced to watch Chuggington because of my kid. AWESOME. 

But, on the bright side, Zach is sitting in the Airplane. He has chosen a root beer lollipop. He's smiling. I could almost hear the hallelujah chorus in the background. And then, then the stylist came at him with the cape to keep the hair off him. "Noooooo! Mama!" as he clamors out of the plane. "Noooooo!!!!" "Zach! It's ok, you don't have to wear the cape. It's ok," I say, hoping to convince him to stay. 

Seriously? Did this kid think I was going to give him a pop, and turn on his favorite show, and let him sit in this awesome airplane without expecting something in return? Yes, apparently he did. "Noooooo, Mama! No!!" And that was it. We sheepishly gave the woman a tip for her efforts, despite the fact that no hairs were actually cut, and snuck out of the store as easily as we could with a screaming 2 year-old (he was screaming now because I took his lollipop away), a happy 5 y/o (who was thrilled to have swindled a pop of his own from the stylist) and a clueless 5 month-old. Yeah, I don't think we'll be back anytime soon. And, when you see a cute dirty-blonde-haired kid walking around with a lollipop and hair down to his ankles, that will be my kid. He may never get his hair cut again. 

Yeah, some moments in parenting, I'll be happy to forget. But those perfectly melted moments? Those I'll hold in my heart forever. 

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