Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Breaks My Heart

If you've ever met my little boy you know that he's anything but shy OR quiet OR nervous or any of those socially anxious emotions. The one exception to this has been when he's getting his haircut. For some reason or another this process totally freaks him out.

We've tried bribing him with candy and cookies and we've tried distracting him with songs and antics but we've still never left without at least one crying outburst. And I think I've mentioned before that a high school friend of mine cuts all our hair so it's not like it's some stranger that's doing it.

So on Monday I decided this was going to be the day that we made it through a haircut without a fuss. All the way over in the car I talked it up.

"It's going to be so fun to get your haircut!"

"Yeah!" He replied.

"And when you're all done you can have a special treat!"


"But you have to be a good boy. No crying."

"OK, mommy."

When we got to my friend's house William ran to her with open arms. Good start, right?

Since he seemed to be a in good mood she decided to do his hair first. William sat in my lap and together we looked in the mirror as I continued to talk up how fun this haircut was going to be.

"Oh you're going to be such a pretty little boy when we're all done!"

He was doing so well just sitting still and looking at himself in the mirror. After I was convinced there was going to be no outburst we started to engage in our own conversations gossip. We became a bit oblivious to William mostly because he was being so quiet. But when I finally took a gander at him in the mirror the guilt hit me like a run away train.

He had the biggest, saddest lip I've ever seen in my whole life. It was the equivalent to the adult lump in your throat trying to hold back that cry that you desperately want to get out. He was scared out of his mind and wanted to wail but was trying so hard to keep it all locked in. I felt so bad.

I said, "Oh, buddy! What's the matter?"

And that was all the OK he needed to let it all out. He started to sob and shake and sob some more. We were able to get enough cookies in his mouth to get the rest of the job done but it wasn't easy.

I think it made me realize that sometime kids really aren't trying to be a nuisance. They really, truly are just plain scared. And sometimes the best thing you can do is just validate their feelings instead of trying to stuff them back in. Haircuts are not an option in this house but we'll just have to keep going about it in the most gentlest of manners.

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