Still My Baby
March 30th, 2011

I anticipate most rites of passage with eagerness.  I’m excited for new pages to be turned and new experiences to be lived.  I don’t often get nostalgic for the moments that I leave behind.

For the past several months, though, there has been one major exception to this practice of mine:  IEP’s hair.

I was told throughout childhood that I didn’t have any hair until I was two.  So I did not expect to give birth to a kid with head full of thick locks.  And my expectations were accurate.  IEP was practically bald when he was born.  And save for a blessedly even distribution of peach fuzz, he stayed that way for a long time.

Then, last spring, when he was about a year and a half, it started to grow a bit.  The pieces behind his ears curled up.  On humid days the longer pieces in back would also curl and I just loved it.  It wasn’t thick, but it was there.  What he had he worked hard for.

Beginning last fall I began facing the realization that his first haircut would be needed eventually.  As the weather cooled and the curls relaxed I wondered if the time for it were approaching quickly.  Nevertheless, I waited.  I just wasn’t ready.  Something about his uncut hair meant he was still my baby.  Walking, talking, playing.  But still my baby.

This past weekend, after lots of procrastination and one rescheduling, we had IEP’s hair cut.  We went to a small barbershop in our neighborhood that had been recommended to us by a friend.  IEP was reluctant at first, but compliant.  He got even more cooperative when gummi bears and suckers were introduced.  His hairdresser made sure I was there to catch the first locks in my hands, and directed me to a tissue to wrap them for safekeeping.  Then I picked up my camera and snapped away.

Something about taking pictures kept me a step removed from the process, making it all easier to take in.  I made it through the entire haircut without getting emotional.  However, I haven’t had the nerve to look at the locks of hair I caught since that morning.  They are still wrapped in tissue and tucked in a pocket of my wallet.

I’m quite happy with the results in spite of myself.  I look at him now and I see the little boy that he has already been for many months.  But I also see my baby.  He will always be my baby.

9 Responses to “Still My Baby”

  1. Lindsey Says:

    That first haircut can make such a difference in how they look, can’t it? That blond hair is beautiful … Unsurprisingly, I was emotional at the first haircut for both. Grace was born with TONS of (black) hair so she had hers early, well before she was 1! xoxo

  2. Gale Says:

    Lindsey – I remember looking at your yearly pictures of Grace on one of her birthdays and being stunned by the thick, full pigtails at age two. It’s just not in our genes, I guess. :)

  3. Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities Says:

    Indeed he will always be your baby. Always. (For the record, we have never been for haircuts here! I’m not sure how I will handle it when the day comes…)

    Lovely post.

  4. Ana Says:

    This one really got me…its my own personal craziness.
    My son was born with long thick crazy hair. He has needed a haircut since 6 months old, and at 15 months I’m still holding out, except for a few token snips we took for a religious ceremony at my MIL’s insistance. We slick it back with water & babyoil as best as we can, and he usually comes home from daycare with one of those girly little pigtails right on top of his head (!!!). Like you, I love to see him grow and develop in every way, but I can’t bear to lose that one part of his babyness. (I justify it by the fact that it may be traumatic for him…he’s a kid that screams bloody murder when we try to wipe his nose, brush his teeth, or wash his face)

  5. Gale Says:

    Ana – I totally understand. We held out for a long time. I finally pulled the trigger because the pieces behind his ears were starting to look a little Rudy-Giuliani-commbover-esque, which is clearly not a good look for anyone! :) For what it’s worth, I love his new cut almost as much as I loved his unkempt curls. As for the trauma factor, he didn’t like it when she tried to trim behind his ears. But he was reasonably distracted by his first experience with a sucker, and by looking at the pictures of him I’d already taken.

  6. anne Says:

    Oh, I just can’t believe how big he is!!! Such a little boy, but yes, always your baby. He’s just a delight, and good for you for getting this moment down in writing.

  7. rachel Says:

    i’ve been meaning to stop by your blog since i see your comments often on aidan’s at ivy league insecurities and like what you offer up. anyway, this is my first time and i was delighted to see this post about first haircuts. i just cut my baby’s hair for the first time (she’s 9 months…her bangs were down to her nose but too fine to stay in a clip, so…snip!) and was surprised at what a doozy it was. i wrote my own post about it…there’s a synchronicity to stopping by here today and finding your post that put a smile on my face. thanks.

  8. Gale Says:

    Rachel – Lovely having you here. I’ve found that Aidan’s site is a great place to meet other wonderful bloggers. I just stopped by your site to read your post on the same topic. Amazing how these little moments are so universal, and yet unique to each of us at the same time. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your thoughts.

  9. TheKitchenWitch Says:

    Both girls were born with a lot of hair, only to have it fall out around 4 months of age. It looked so awkward!

    I’m glad you made it through the haircut without screeches and tears. My girls were terrors!