Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Haircut...

Nicky does not like to have his hair cut, so for years we did little trims. A snip here and a snip there. Not perfect but it worked. Finally it grew to be such a mess I decided to really cut it, with a razor, which was an even bigger mess. So I reverted to scissors. The only way I could get this done was to cut his hair while he was asleep. Waiting patiently to clip clip, and then waiting until he would turn his head so I could get the other side. All the while watching carefully that the sound of the hair cutting was not waking him up. It took several nights and he usually never turned over in a neat rotation allowing me to get his entire head. So my Nicky looked like uncle egg beater and the three razor blades had gotten to him and butchered him. It was so sad. But it was the best I could do and it was cut.

He was getting bigger (as in too big for me to handle and big enough to go out in the community and get a haircut). So a fews years ago haircuts became a part of his behavior intervention. Myself and a therapist would take him to the barbershop and as Nicky sat in my lap, the therapist would shove M&M's in his mouth with words of praise as we helped him stay clam and get through his haircut. He hated it! He hated the sound of the razor, he hated the hair falling on his neck and his cloths, he hated seeing his hair hit the floor. He would scream, squirm, and do everything he could think of to get away. So we held him down and fed him candy to get through. With every hair cut we reduced the amount of candy and slowly over a 6 month period Nicky did calm down. Soon I was able to sit in a different chair and just talk to him, promise a treat if he did a good job, and then he sat and got his hair cut. I was so proud.

One Saturday I showed up at the barber shop and it was closed!!!!! Gone, now what. It had taken months to get Nicky used to the barber. I forgot to mention it too several barbers until we found the one who had what we needed; patience and not to to many clients that meant we always had to wait. We had our guy and now he was gone. Needless to say Nicky's hair grew and I tried to find the barber. 5 months later I found the barber and scheduled an appointment. I took him and his 70's afro to the barber expecting things to be just as they had been six months ago...NOT. Nicky was anxious, but I was armed with candy and we survived.

That was then, today was not such a smooth story. I took him to the barber shop today and it was a disaster. He got in the chair, the barber was able to make a nice cut down the center of his head... and then total meltdown. It took two hours to get his hair cut. He refused to get in the chair, he screamed, wiggled and kept saying "Potty". I took him potty 4 times and each time I returned to the chair we would talk, he would agree to move forward and then the barber would turn on the clippers and then my child would scream for his life. I tried everything, candy, bribes whatever came to mine. I let him sit on my lap, I let him stand up, I held him and got hairs stuck all over my lip gloss. I promised him icecream if he did a good job. I promised him a video at home, anything as I had only one objective fix his reverse mo-hawk because he can't go home like this.

So, I remained calm, thanked god that there were only 9 or so people in the salon and not a long line waiting for our barber. I continued to try everything I could think of as Nicky had me on my knees, back on my feet, holding him in the chair. Finally we feel into a routine of counting and we got the job done. At one point I noticed that 1/2 the people in the salon were counting with him...and that was kinda cute. I'm not sure if they were doing it for him or for me, but I could tell them were invested in seeing this little guy survive the barber. He finished his cut and a young man handed him a dollar bill! Nicky doesn't know much about money so I said "Wow Nicky, he just gave you a dollar for Ice Cream" and Nicky said thank you and proceeded to drop the dollar on the floor. I had to take it, not for Nicky but for the young man with the pained look on his face, who so wanted to help. I paid the barber, gave him a big tip, picked up the dollar and with a big sign left the barber shop.

Note to myself and others:
Don't let important routines fall by the wayside...our kids will loose their skills
Don't forget to talk about the haircut days in advance to reduce the stress of such an undesired task.
Remember that people can feel our pain
It does work out, even when it looks like all the odds are stacked against us
BREATH.............always breath.

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