Sometimes in life we can't avoid trauma. Sometimes we just have to face the things we fear the most and deal with them. We know it will be hard, but through adversity comes strength. When we face our fears, we overcome anything.
Today was Haircut Day.
I have managed to keep Haircut Day to a biannual affair. There was one year when I felt particularly brave and I went quarterly. I couldn't do that now. I've lost the fight.
There's a fine balance between haircutting and letting it grow. If there's one thing The Boy hates just as much as Haircut Day, it's Hairwash Day. And sadly Hairwash Day comes around a lot quicker. And the longer the hair, the longer Hairwash Day takes. It's a balancing act.
Now I have been to most Barbers in the SE13 area with The Boy over the last ten years. Most of them we only visit once. The battle scars for both cutter and cuttee have been too much. "Why not cut his hair yourself?", I hear you cry. I did. Once. I'm sure I made my ex-wife cry many times during our marriage. But nothing will compare to the tears she cried when she saw the results after I'd cut her son's hair. I am to hairdressing what Katie Price is to the sanctity of marriage.
So, there is only one Barber we go to. George, the Greek Cypriot. He is an old, gentle man who has been cutting hair for years. Nobody under the age of seventy goes near him. He is slapdash, has bad breath and is grumpy. He has no patience with children whatsoever. He is however, the fastest Barber I know. Oh, and he's seven quid. And there's never a queue.
George greets the sight of me and The Boy walking in like an illegal hot dog seller might greet a Food and Hygiene Inspector. Hiding his scowl, in one movement he removes The Boy's coat and whips out the gown and bundles The Boy into it like a straightjacket. George knows getting in there early is key. He gets The Boy in the chair and spins the chair away from the mirror so The Boy can look out of the window. We learnt four years ago not to bother with the mirror.
Then George attacks with the scissors.
The dexterity of this old man's fingers as the scissors dance over the The Boy's hair leave me stunned every time. All the time he repeats constantly "Look at the big dog. Look at the big dog." while gesturing through the window with his elbow. We have never seen the big dog.
The entire haircut lasts approximately three minutes. No water sprayed, no noisy clippers used. George is a good man. The Boy climbs down from the barber's chair and most of the hair that has been removed from his head is stuck to his face and neck with his own saliva. But he's smiling. The battle is over, and he knows that Hairwash Day will be quicker than ever.
George retires to the till in the corner, battle weary. The relief that this day will be over for another six months. I hand him a tenner. He knows not to bother with the change. Danger money.
Me and The Boy leave through the door. "I'm really good at getting my haircut now, aren't I Daddy?"
Yes, mate. You're just fine.
This blog is about bringing up The Boy. He's 12 years old and autistic. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.