Cursed with hair that will later prove a blessing – incredibly fast growing, and lots of it – Tizzy became terrified of buzz clippers at an early age. We thought that by keeping him shorn, we were doing him a favor. By reducing the frequency of barber visits, we imagined he'd have less to fear.
We were wrong.
Within two years, we were banned from all the salons who'd at one time assured us he'd be welcome.
Imagine, for a moment, trying to shear a raccoon.
Now you have a sense of what we were up against.
Seated on my lap, his legs locked between mine, my arms wrapped crisscross round his body, the stylist would attempt to clip his hair, his body convulsing under my constraints, thrashing his head side to side screaming, "IT'S O.K!!! IT DOESN'T HURT! – IT DOESN'T HURT! (SOB-SOB-SOB)"
I remember one man hanging his head low, half of T's head clipped, the other half wild, saying, "I'm sorry. I just can't do this. You're going to have to find someone else to finish the job."
That someone was me.
He wouldn't let me buzz him, which was about all I was qualified for, but, he would quietly sit in our yard as I thinned his hair with thinning shears. In my early attempts he'd frequently end up looking like a dog with mange.
I can't say I got progressively better, but he did get a little calmer. For special occasions, like Christmas and birthdays, we'd venture forth to the one salon where he'd developed a crush on the stylist, and after multiple promises not to bring out the buzzer, he'd let her "clip" his hair.
Throughout this time we had to discuss haircuts quite a bit. How he liked "clips" but not buzzers. How he would like buzzers when he was a big boy, but not yet. Pushing those buzz cuts on him in his early years became one of my regrets. It had clearly been traumatic for him, but, people kept telling me he'd get over it. That all kids cried, but after a few visits he'd look forward to them.
These are the things we learn as parents.
Buzz clips are not a problem for Zip. He likes loud noises, is loud himself, and generally unfazed about being touched. Tizzy's more like a cat. He comes to us to be held, hugged, and touched – not the other way around. He doesn't like anything on his head, and is still convinced the vacuum cleaner is going to suck up their feet.
I was looking at their hair recently. It was growing out, still short, but getting ragged around the edges, and it just killed me to think of having to spend another $40 to get the two of them trimmed.
I thought back on all of the times that Tizzy had told me that he would use the buzzers as a big kid. He's now a big kid – He'll assure you of that.
I went to the drugstore and bought a kit.
I came home and I said, "We're going to watch a hair clipping movie. It's about big kids who get their hair buzzed, and after we watch it, we're going to buzz Zip's hair. You can decide after watching it, and watching Zip, if you think you're ready to have your hair buzzed too."
He wasn't sure.
We watched the movie one time through. We then went outside and I buzzed Zip's hair. Slowly but surely, Tizzy inched his way forward as I rotated the buzzers around Zip's head. He carefully leaned in peering down at the blades.
I lifted them away from Zip's head and held them so Tizzy could get a look. Slowly but surely, he inched his way forward and let me put them against his hand.
"See, they don't hurt."
"O.K. Mom. You can try the buzz clippers on me, but, just don't cut my ears."
"I would never cut your ears honey."
It wasn't a completely smooth transition, but, he let me try. He still squirmed in his seat, and when he was done – he was done!
But, we're off to a good start.
Over the next week, there were several times that he would sneak off into our bedroom and turn on the t.v. While washing the dishes I would hear the groovy music start up in my room, and a woman's voice saying, "Guide the clippers up and out. Up and out."
Driving in the car, I listen to Tizzy in the back seat reciting, "If you want to create a mushroom cut guide the clippers like this."