Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The First Haircut - The Boy Edition

I have a feeling that those with girls are more likely to let those little baby mullets grow until they become a riotous mass of curls. Mothers with girls have other more lasting concerns as well - short vs. long, bangs vs. no bangs, hair accessories. At my house we have no such discussions. I do not belong to the Kate Hudson school of toddler-boy-grooming. When it starts to cover the ears or the collar or the eyes, it's time to go.

My first has thick hair with not one ounce of natural curl or wave. After a few botched cuts by grandma's kitchen scissors, we started frequenting a local barber. By his first birthday, he'd had a few haircuts. We now go for the all-over buzz, sometimes called a wiffle.

It's good to remember the the "number" for the clippers. We like a #3 or #4. Each "number" corresponds to a different length (this guide is good). I feel a great sense of satisfaction when I say, "he gets a #3 all over." It's like I'm able to speak "man." I find barbers always think moms like it "longer" in front. This is annoying, as then after a day or two the "bangs" seem like they need to be styled or gelled up. Don't let them convince you. My 4 year old does not need a bathroom a grooming routine yet!

My youngest has wispy fine, white hair. No buzz for him. But the barbers still do an excellent job with a scissor-only cut.

If you think your child won't sit still, you can usually hold them. A barber shop has all kinds of things to keep a kid occupied - big mirrors, a comb or a brush (one of those big ones that they use to get cut hairs off your neck), head massagers, loud tvs, lollipops. And good barbers are usually quick and patient. I've found for the first few cuts, it's better to take a seat in the waiting chairs and let your child soak in the scene. If you put them in the chair straight away, they're usually a bit panicked.

How to find a barber? Ask around. Peak in the windows. See who has a steady stream of adults and kids on a Saturday morning. I'm a firm believer that boys get much better haircuts from a barber than any place that specializes in kids. A young boy with just a little bit of thin hair isn't really any different than a balding man! Just keep your eye out for the stack of Playboys in the corner....

Recommend your local barbers in the comments!

PS - I've tried doing all-over buzz cuts using a Wahl trimmer. I'm not that good and my kids are not that patient. Maybe a good thing for dad to try?