After a half hour, steam truly was escaping from under my hood, a combination of unreasonably intense anger + steady drizzle of rain. But luckily, my incorrigible toddler could not see the effects of his shouted monologue, as I was behind him pushing the stroller. I've been told by knowledgeable sorts not to let him see me get frustrated about his lack of napping, because it will turn it even more into a game of control for him. I hoped that he couldn't actually taste the smoke on the air.
Forty minutes in, he was singing the ABC song deliriously. I leaned over and stuck my head inside the rain cover. "It's sleepy time, Elan. Go to sleep," I said, with what I hoped was a firm, no-nonsense tone, and not a I'm-at-the-end-of-my-rope tone.
And much to my surprise, he did.
Because the only rule governing this toddler's behavior lately is: be unpredictable.
And so...[deep exhale]...
Here's the full extent of the bubsy mane on Friday morning:
I was nervous about getting his hair cut, as I had no idea how he was going to react (see rule of unpredictable toddler behavior above). I took him to a place called Snippety Crickets, which I just love to say - isn't it a joy the way the tight little syllables tumble off your tongue? Go on, try it out loud and you'll see.
The woman there was a total pro. Elan sat on my lap, and she smoothly switched a new toy into his lap whenever he asked, which was about every forty-five seconds. Every time he got annoyed and reached a pudgy hand up to investigate what she was doing with that water spray and that clip-clip by his face, she would stop and shield the scissors just for a second, until he lost interest again. The effect was not unlike trying to shoo away a persistent mosquito in the middle of the night: ultimately pointless. You could tell this was about her six thousandth kid's first haircut. Plus, for proof there were all those pictures on the wall.
The final result was very much what I was hoping for. She tamed the dreadlock-prone back, cut away the split ends and framed his face with hair that is still on the long side, but a little less wild-thing. I told my sister-in-law that the look I was going for was 70s porn star, which, I realized while watching several teenagers skate by later that day, has a lot in common with modern skateboarder. She pointed out that the cut is in that vein, but a little too clean and off the face. So really he just ended up with a look we call Prince Valiant.
Ah, Prince Valiant with his string cheese staff of power.
Except more often the look I get is like this:
Just try it, Mama. I dare you.