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Hair battles, part deux

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Alfs wants longer hair. He has longish hair right now. Unfortunately it's taking on this unkempt adolescent quality that is making me a little nuts. It doesn't help that Alfs "forgets" to comb it sometimes.

As a baby and toddler, Alfs hair was much like Sunshine's is now: wavy and golden and thoroughly enviable. My husband's hair was like this, too, if all the photos are to be believed. I'm hoping that my son's hair will take after his father's completely and he'll have a head of light brown curls when puberty is through. It's a few more years before we'll know for sure whether that will happen. Meanwhile, we tussle. Lovingly (at least on my end).

The deal was, when I started letting him grow it a bit longer, he had to take care of it. It couldn't be a mess all the time. He had to comb it, and keep it out of his eyes. He hasn't been consistent about that at all. Of course, efforts to remind him are met with that much enjoyed refrain, "Moooommm!"

I keep threatening to have Kathy cut it off next time I take the boys in. This time I think I mean it.

I don't mind his hair a bit long and somewhat shaggy. When it's brushed it looks just fine. I also understand why he wants longer hair: He's going for that surfer/skater look and it hides an annoying bald patch from a pressure sore when he was hospitalized several years ago. I don't want to cut it so short that the spot would be seen, in any event. I know this whole hair thing is just part of trying to figure out his identity. It's fitting in with his peers and it's trying out the trends. We all did it. Most of us survived intact. What we're going through now is fairly minimal, really.

Maybe my issue with Alfs' hair is much like my issue with Sunshine's hair. It's about my kids growing up and me having less and less control and less (obvious) influence. I don't want to be there yet. And this time, it's my first born. The one who wears the same size shoe as me. Soon, too soon, he will be taller than me, but I am still the mom, and I still think he needs to comb it more often or have it shorter.

Perhaps at our next appointment, I can ask Kathy to shape it up a bit more as she trims it so it's easier for Alfs to make it look good. Perhaps she can spend a couple extra minutes with him and show him a trick or two. Perhaps we don't need to battle over this after all.

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