Kissed by fire


My kids have great hair. I don’t mean cute kids hair or anything, I’m talking getting stopped in the street by strangers on an everyday basis kind of hair. The sort of hair that gets people talking. I’ve been told that their hair colour originates from Paris, Poland, Scotland, Ireland and Italy. Japanese tourists have stopped us in the street to pose with the kids and old ladies regularly stop to pat them on the head.

You see it’s the most gorgeous red colour you can imagine. kissed by fire even as one lady described it. I know it’s not the done thing to boast about your kids – bit vain really – but in this case I feel justified.

The thing with red hair is that it gets you noticed. For Evie, this is a great thing as it stops her from melting into the background as she naturally tends to be slightly shy and reserved. For Jonah it means that I can spot him a mile off and if there is any trouble, then there is no sneaking out of it for him.

But really the only reason I’m talking about hair is because I read an article recently about a hairdresser who specialises in cutting children’s hair with autism or sensory issues. Now I thought it was just Jonah who hated having his hair cut but it seems that a lot of children feel the same way.

The article went on to say that it was quite common to have to physically hold a child down while at the hairdressers, traumatic for all involved. But as parents, there is a lot of pressure on us to do the right thing in terms of tackling
behavioural issues. Many of us will have felt a thousand eyes burning into us when our children have a melt down. They may not say it but you can feel the ‘can’t she control that child’ just waiting to burst out.

So in a bid to do the right thing, we often do the wrong thing like restraining a child at the hairdressers because we wouldn’t want anyone to think we can’t control them. But for many children, having a tantrum or meltdown is not them being naughty, it is a clear sign for help.

Behavioural problems for children at the hairdressers is easy to understand when you think about it logically. Once a child is old enough to understand that sharp scissors are dangerous, we then just expect them to sit still while a stranger looms over them snipping away.

As adults, we understand that this person is trained and is not just going to snip our ear off or anything, but how can a child have that trust yet? Anything that causes fear has to be dealt with in small, baby steps. I’m all for ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ but overexposure in a child is, I believe, a harmful thing.

But the reality is, as a society, we often don’t have the time to ease children gently through life and while most can just get on with it, there are a few that will struggle and a small, irrational fear will multiply leading to emotional and possibly even physical problems.

Many of these stressful situations can be made so much easier for all involved if we can just shed the British stiff upper lip thing. Not every child can ‘just get on with it’ and if you can learn to not give two hoots about what people think and give your child as much time as they need, many of these issues will cease to be.

So back to the hair thing. Jonah’s first trip to the hairdressers was actually ok, the second wasn’t! So really
I thought what is the point of handing over £10, having a dodgy haircut, an emotional child and walking away dripping in sweat. I surely could a better job myself?

So a quick stop off in Boots and I purchased a pair of proper hair cutting scissors. But of course that didn’t get round the issue of Jonah now not liking getting his hair being cut. So the answer was simple. I’ll do it while he is asleep.

Now many people looked slightly shocked when I told them but honestly, he’s such a heavy sleeper that I managed to do quite a good job of it. The only funny point was going into nursery and all the teachers commenting on his lovely new hair cut. I had to tell them that Jonah was oblivious to the whole thing so probably best not to make too much of it but secretly I was pretty chuffed with my efforts.

Now at the grand old age of six, Jonah actually chooses to go to the hairdressers. Go figure! He actually quite enjoys the whole process and as long as the hairdresser doesn’t get rid of
his beloved curls, he is a model client.

But of course I’ve still got the scissors and I’ve had to explain a few times why my ‘layers’ are not as even as they should be. So far I’ve resisted cutting in a fringe but you never know what happens when boredom takes hold!


One thought on “Kissed by fire

  1. Great piece. And you’re right! Never thought of it like that – us drumming it into kids to be fearful of scissors and then expecting them to sit in the hairdresser’s chair without issue! Why on earth?!… loved the idea of you being a secret late night hair cutter! So resourceful! xx


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