“The haircut” happens three times a year: around Easter, Christmas and one other time during the summer months.
The first time we did an at-home cut, he was terrified of the clippers. It was just like the one at the barbershop, but our guy, Lou, retired. Lou and I would hold J down in the kid seat. J used his little legs and all the power he had to kick and kick and… scream. Hot tears ran down his face. We’d give him toys before the haircut he could play with, but it seemed to make no difference. After perspiring with a racing heart, it was over. I’d have his hair all over me and there would be marks on his wrists by me from the resistance and fighting to keep him in that seat.
This happened every single time we visited Lou. After awhile, we began to chuckle during the cut since we became pros at getting his haircut in 10 minutes flat.
At home, I covered up his body with a big sheet. When the hair would make its way down his neck or to any exposed skin, he would panic and try to brush it off. Combine that with wet tears and it spelled disaster. I was so desperate to get the hair cut. He’s trying to grab the clippers out of my hand and yelling at it like it’s “a monster– “Get away”– while I’m cutting the hair. It’s finally over and he’s overwhelmed. I am crying now because I think we’re never going to ever have a “normal” haircut where there are no tears and no screams and no kicking.
Two years later, we are still having at-home haircuts. There is still crying. There is still hesitance. It is getting better.
We’ve read the picture book, ‘Sprinkles New Haircut’- part of the Blues Clues series, a dozen times before today for the last week. Even though J has had his hair cut a few times already, I can tell he’s slowly getting the nerve to do it again. This morning, I mixed up shaving cream with food coloring– to make four different colors. I found the first time I did this, it was a hit. I was using different length combs to cut his hair while he busied himself with the shaving cream on the mirrors in the bathroom. He flinched every time the clippers went by his ears or at the nape of his neck. Now, he usually closes his eyes (really hard) for a few seconds while shirking away from the clippers and slowly opens them again to work on a shape or a letter.
When we finished the cut today, we put more shaving cream in the bathtub during a shower to play some more on the walls. We leave the strays around the ears and now I try and cut them while he’s sleeping!!
It may take awhile for your little one to get acclimated with “the haircut”. Before introducing shaving cream, we worked on that aspect at the table. We used to spread the shaving cream on the dining room table on a vinyl tablecloth and he could trace anything in the shaving cream. He started out by using a paintbrush. Then, he slowly decided to brave it and put his hands and fingers in! For a child who had so much trouble getting anything on his hands, previously, this was a feat in itself. When he could touch paint, tolerate shaving cream on his hands for drawing at school and at home, I decided to use it as part of a distraction from an otherwise unpleasant sensory experience (the overload)!
For cleanup, I use 70% Isopropyl (rubbing alcohol). I attached a nozzle to it and all I do is spray it on the mirrors and wipe clean!