picklesink

A mom, a dad, and two nutty kids.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow – Part 2

(did you see what I did there with “part”? heheheh…)

Well, it’s been just over a year. Ben started with a buzz cut, then decided (on hearing that boys could have ponytails) to grow his hair out indefinitely. He has tried out ponytails in various places on his head, french braids, hair bands and bows. Any time over the last year that we have asked him if he wants to cut his hair or when he wants to cut his hair, his answer has been, “Nope, not yet. I’m not done having ponytails yet.” At first I wasn’t a fan but over the year it grew on me (heheheh)..and seriously, can anyone rock a shag and a fedora like Ben?

Ben rocking the long hair and fedora.
©PicklesINK 2012

But this weekend it all came to a head <—- I’m on a serious roll here! Ben complained that he couldn’t sleep because something was tickling his neck. Ian said, “That’s your long hair tickling your neck, bud.” Ben replied, “Oh. Well, I guess it’s time for a haircut then. I will have my haircut on Monday.” When we pointed out that Monday was a holiday he conceded, “Okay, Tuesday then.”

One last picture of Ben’s long hair.
©PicklesINK 2012

Okay, just one more.
©PicklesINK 2012

When Ben makes a decision, he sets his mind and that’s it. For a year it wasn’t time to cut it yet, and then all of a sudden it WAS, and rarely has been been as excited about something as he was about this haircut!

Ben grinning while his hair is cut.
©PicklesINK 2012

As long blonde strands fell to the floor, he watched in the mirror and started chanting, “No more ponytails for Ben! Ben is never going to have a ponytail again!”…

Long blonde casualties of war!
©PicklesINK 2012

…while I stood by gritting my teeth and waiting for it to all be over. (It all happened too fast! I need more time to prepare!)

My sad face is not very photogenic.
©PicklesINK 2012

And then it was all over and Ben was ecstatic!!

The finished product:
Ben with his new haircut!
©PicklesINK 2012

He looks adorable and about 2 years older, and he absolutely loves it. He has informed me that on days when he wants to wear it spiked up, I’m not allowed to pat him on the head, and I’ve told him I’ll try my best.

~ karyn


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The hair-raising adventures continue

The other day Ian and I had a conversation that went like this:

“So what colour should I dye my hair next?”

*grinning* “How about jet black?”

“Really? Goth black?”

“Sure. I haven’t seen that yet.”

“You know I’ll do it.”

“Well, do it, then.”

“I will.”

“Go ahead.”

So allow me to present this flashback to 17 year-old Goth me:

Now I just have to figure out if they make PVC corsets in size “Why yes I have had 2 children.”

~ karyn

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Hair today, gone tomorrow.

Let’s be honest – I don’t set a particularly conventional example for my kids when it comes to hair.

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©PicklesINK 2012

Which is how we’ve wound up with pictures like this:

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©PicklesINK 2012

And this:

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©PicklesINK 2012

So a little over a year ago when Ben said, “I wish I was a girl so I could have ponytails,” what else could I have said but, “Boy, have I got news for you!”

Around the same time as Ben and I were having this conversation, there was some media coverage of a family who were reported to be raising a genderless baby. The story ignited a “Storm” of controversy with a frankly shocking number of people suggesting that refusing to reveal the child’s biological sex to the world amounted to child abuse and that the children should be apprehended and the parents arrested(!). From the original article and the follow-up by the mother, we learn that the family consists of mom, dad, an older son who keeps his hair long and often wears dresses, a middle son about whom we don’t know very much, and gender-free baby Storm. A year ago I remember thinking, “Oh, look at those non-conformist, ultra-liberal parents encouraging their son to ignore the teasing of his peers and continue to push the gender envelope – what are they going to say when he finally has had too much and wants to cut his hair?”

Well, here I am now on the other side of that fence, and it’s not as easy as I thought! I’m finding myself amazed at what trumps what in this gender game, and Long Hair = Girl seems to top them all – which means that, dressed entirely in sports-type, blue attire (including hat and glasses), wearing dirty Thomas sneakers, and standing beside his pink-dress-bedecked sister with her hair in braids, Ben is now being taken for a girl more often than for a boy.

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Tea party in the pillow fort
©PicklesINK 2012

Fortunately, Ben navigates this world like an anthropologist studying a previously unknown civilization. When the lady at the farmer’s market says, “What a smart little girl you are!” Ben replies neutrally, “I’m not a girl; I’m a boy. Why did she say I was a girl, mommy?” (Field note: The natives frequently attribute the female gender to me. Further study will be required to determine why this is. Consultation with Dr. Mommy could be enlightening.) There was a great moment last year when a repairman (in the true, 1950s sense of the word) came to fix the dishwasher – Ben was playing with a pink toy mixer and the guy said, “What are you doing playing with that? That’s women’s tools! That’s for them to use to cook us dinner with!” Ben shot him a very confused look and said, “But I’m pretending it’s a vacuum.” (Field note: This guy’s a doofus.)

On the other hand, I am really struggling with it, and I can’t really figure out WHY. People aren’t making fun of him; they’re just assuming that he is something that he is not, and I can’t figure out why that bothers me. (Field note: Maybe I need to take a page out of Ben’s book and just chill about it.)  I have far more respect for baby Storm’s parents now, having had the smallest taste of what they go through every day with the non-gender-conforming oldest child. On a practical level, the hair is also a real pain in the neck (in this case, literally) because he screams bloody murder when I brush it, so there’s a part of me that really hopes he does get tired of being mistaken for a girl and decides to cut it soon.

Ben, whose opinion is really the one that counts here though, is enjoying his ponytail and will cut his hair when he gets tired of it. And informs me that if people laugh at it, he will just ignore them. And tomorrow would like to wear a hairband like Queenie McBear in The Berenstain Bears book The In-Crowd.

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©PicklesINK 2012

Addendum – July 21, 2012

…and then there are those days when you just can’t blame folks:

©PicklesINK 2012

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