Conal: “Mum, I want to look like Puck!”
Me (absently): “Um, why?”
Conal: “Because he’s cool and I like his hair” (breaks into “Sweet Caroline”)
Me: “You want a haircut like Puck’s? Puck from Glee?”
Conal: “Sweeeeeeet Caroline, bah, bah, bah. Yes, just like Puck’s. Good times never seemed so good…”
When I was young, I had very fine, very curly hair. The hairdresser our family used decreed that my hair must always be short. For nearly 10 years I had exactly the same hairstyle – very short and curly. I loathed it. At fourteen, I finally put my foot down and didn’t have my hair cut for 3 years. The end result was that I had something that resembled a large, fluffy shrub on my head, g0ing upwards and outwards by the same amount. I vowed at fourteen that I would NEVER insist on a particular hairstyle for my children and that they could choose their own styles. I’ve maintained this with the older children, with the proviso that whatever style they have, they must take care of their hair (or allow us to do so). So, a haircut like Puck’s? A large gulp, followed by a “Sure thing.” Conal was very happy.
The reason for my hesitation? Puck has a mohawk. Shaved sides, spiked up centre piece. Puck is clearly a bad boy. My small boy has the most glorious mop of curls. Every day through the week before his haircut, I check again “Are you sure you want your hair like Puck’s? It’s winter now, so you might get cold ears.” Each time, I am confidently assured that yes, the hair is to be like Puck’s. I try explaining that the hairdresser will need to use the clippers. No problems this time apparently, although he has hated them in the past.
We get to the hairdressers, and although she winces every time she cuts the curls off, off they come. And then the sides of his head are shaved. He’s thrilled – huge smile all over his face. There are curls all over the floor. She spikes up the centre part of his hair and he can’t stop grinning. He’s a happy boy.
Then, disaster. Zac, also with a head of beautiful curls, announces that he loves Conal’s hair, and “I want hair like Puck’s too.” Now I have boys who are the same size, and obviously brothers, who have the same hairstyle. It looks like I’m trying to clone them. Next thing you know I’ll be dressing them alike and calling them the twinnies. Three of our big kids adore it and think the small boys look awesome. The fourth is on the verge of tears at the loss of the curls.
Friends are slightly shocked. I tell them the story of my bad hair years, and why I am letting the children make their own choices. At the end of the day, hair grows back. And of all the battles I could fight with my children, this is not an important one. We take photos of our two Puck-lookalikes, belting out “Sweet Caroline”, faces wreathed with smiles. I am happy that I have let the children make their own decision on this one. I admit to the big kids that perhaps the boys do look adorable. Even as I quietly mourn those beautiful curls.