Earlier this week, I posted here on the blog about our decision to let Emry make his own choices about his hair (to read it, click here). When we did that, we were simultaneously setting a family policy that, if you have strong feelings about your own hair, then you get to make decisions around it. (This doesn’t include hygiene, because neither of my children would ever choose to wash or brush their hair if it were up to them.) (Check back to see if the policy gets updated if either child ever decides they desperately want a neon green mohawk.)
And so, a few weeks ago, Emry decided that he wanted his hair shorter.
The sense that the long hair was getting in his way had been growing for a few months, but every time we asked if he wanted to get it cut, he gave a definitive no. And then one day, he changed his mind. I said that maybe he could go with Elan and Mikhail for a haircut that weekend. He agreed.
I kept wondering if he would change his mind, but when Sunday came, he was still up for it. At the salon, he skipped to the sink to have it washed.
But am I sad because I think Emry’s hair represented his babyhood, and now that his hair is shorter, his babyhood is definitely over?
Emry’s hair long ago stopped being a representation of his babyhood to me, right around the time that we ceded the decision making about its length to him. To me, he was not a baby rocking baby hair (& baby dreads). He was a little boy with a mane of wild unruly hair running down his back. The look often veered more toward 80s punk rocker than innocent cherub.
I feel good that we let him make this choice on his own timeframe. And at one point during the week, when he suddenly turned to me and said “I miss having long hair,” I was able to feel that pang that he felt, and then I said, “you made your choice and you like having shorter hair too.”
“Yeah,” he said, sounding unconvinced.
And then I said, “You know, hair grows.”
“It does?” he said, surprised.
“It does. And if you decide you want it long again, you can grow it out.”
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