Thursday, January 30, 2014

Matthew's Hair

I really, really don't like Matthew's hair right now!  Really.  I'd post pictures if I could figure out how to get photos from my new cell phone onto my computer.

I may have mentioned before that in July, in anticipation of my brother's wedding, I had the boys' hair cut.  Matthew was quite resistant, so he and I struck a deal:  After that cut, I would not force him to cut his hair again until the next big special occasion.  This wasn't a hard deal for me to make because, in fact, I decided years ago that I would choose not to make an issue out of hair.  It's just hair.  Sure it can look better cut well; sure it has an impact on people's impression of us...  but it's still just hair and there are bigger battles to take on.

Well, those sentiments are great in theory, and I'm totally holding my tongue around Matthew, but I gotta tell you that I hate his hair at the moment.  Hate it hate it hate it.  It hasn't been touched by scissors since that day in July so we're beyond the six-month mark now....and his hair, like mine, grows fairly quickly.  I think his new name will be Shaggy.  It's wavy in a not-uniform kind of way, it's generally unkempt looking (even if he combs it), and it just looks bad.

He's got lovely hair.  Full of cow licks (is that how you spell that word?), to be sure, but lovely nonetheless. He's got the kind of hair that, if you run your fingers through it (other than on wash day), it generally stays pretty much exactly the way your fingers left it.  This can be a really good thing, because it makes styling it easy.  But at the moment it's a pretty big negative because, moments after combing it, he typically runs his fingers through it to mess it up a little and it just, well, stays like that.  Looking like he's just gotten out of bed.  It perpetually looks like he hasn't run a comb through it in months even though our rule is that he must run a brush through it before leaving the house.

(Side note: Matthew hates combing his hair but, of all things, Seth has taken a real shine to it!  Almost every time he needs to comb his hair, Matthew yells for Seth to take care of it; Seth will leave almost anything he's doing to come and sit Matthew down on a chair or on the floor in order to brush his hair - usually with one of Lizzie's brushes-intended-for-curly-hair.  Seth painstakingly works his way through Matt's hair, trying this way and that to work with the cow licks and Matthew closes his eyes and sighs. They both look rapt.  It's rather adorable, and one of the only ways that Seth is comfortable being in physical contact with Matthew...wrestling being the other...but that's another story!)

So even though we ask Matthew to comb his hair regularly, it doesn't look like it.  Ever.  Except for in the Christmas photo we had taken of him in early December - see that (new) picture of him (and the other kids) on the right of my blog?  That's his hair combed and pushed back to look a little shorter and then hair-sprayed - I ordered him not to put one finger to his head before his photo was taken...and his hair looks awful in that picture anyway.  Just awful.  Sigh.

Matthew looks most adorable in short cropped hair, just as Seth does.  Short hair highlights his face and those lovely eyes.  In November, when Seth got his hair buzzed really short for the first time (#1 on the clippers), I hoped that Matthew would see how much fun Seth had getting his hair all taken off, and be inspired to do the same - usually he loves going to the stylist because she washes his hair and massages it and he groans and then she gives him a funky  cut.  I just knew that when he saw Seth's hair being done, he would succumb to the moment's temptation and let the stylist 'do' his hair.  But he didn't, darn it.  He admired Seth's cut, and expressed how good it looked on him...and politely answered 'no thank you' when asked if he wanted to enjoy the same experience.

His goal is to get it pony-tail length.  Ugh.  He has referenced my hair.  My hair, which is a good few inches below my shoulders!  Sigh.  A few weeks ago, I put a few small pony-tails onto the top of his head and joyfully compared his look to one of those adorable babies with teensy little bundles gathered at the tops of their downy heads.  I hoped that this might lead him to conclude that he needed a more mature look, but no, he simply expressed excitement about how it would look when his hair was long enough for a ponytail to be hanging down his back.

As for now, he is able to pull the front of his hair down over his face and chew on the ends of it.  He also wants to colour it with streaks of his favourite colour:  Pink.  Great...won't that be special.

I still, in my head, know that it's just hair.  I'm just venting here because I need to say this stuff somewhere and I refuse to say any of it to him.  I just have to get to know this new, older, raggedy-looking boy whose favourite pants these days are the hand-me-down grey sweat pants with a large hole in one knee; I have to admit, though, that they match the look of his hair rather well.

Be strong, Ruth...choose your battles.

But I miss the sweet boy look...the one where he looks so clean cut and handsome and Matthew.


Addendum:  I wrote this post a week ago, just before taking Seth and Lizzie to the stylist's.  While at the salon, I privately asked our stylist to take a look at Matthew's hair and perhaps suggest a little trim.  She did look at his hair and actually genuinely suggested that a trim might be in order to take care of a few split and fuzzy ends.  Matthew (rather worriedly) agreed and so 1-2 centimetres were taken off and his head of hair shaped a little, in a manner just a touch more palatable.  But still...


  1. Yes, I see your dilemma. I agree that I (hope I) won't make hair a big issue, but will likely try to have *some* input up to a certain point. Right now the boys are pretty easy-going about it, although I do tend to keep K's a bit longer (not long, but long enough to be smooth - his hair sticks up when short, and the back of his head is flat - longer keeps it down a bit, and rounds his head more). But he DOES ask for "mohawks" (fauxhawks) at times, and I kind of mess it up with a ridge down the middle, even though it is too long to really go for that look.

    If one of my boys was wanting their hair long, I would likely google "boy haircuts long" or something and see if any images inspired him/me, and then pay for good haircuts as it grew out, to keep it as neat as possible. The good thing is, when growing out hair, that the length (other than trimming ends occasionally for health) doesn't have to change, but some layers and/or thinning can work WONDERS for the shape and neatness of it (I have that curly/wavy/inconsistent/thick hair type and wear it anywhere from pixie short to shoulder length - there are some awkward points in between, but I do find good haircuts are essential to keep it groomed). Of course, if I had a general preference for my child, I might also try to tempt him with photos of really funky short styles, too...just in case I could win him over!

    Good luck...

  2. Hey Joy -
    thanks for the comment!
    I used to think that my boys would always be clean-cut with short hair, but one of the problems of having strong-willed kids is that they develop their own opinions...darn it! That's really why I'm deciding to pick my battles, 'cause frankly there are so many to choose from!

    I love both of my boys in faux hawks...I only wish that's what Matthew wanted at the moment!



  3. My friend's son saw Goldie Hawn on the Academy Awards when he was 5. He gasped and said "I want THAT hair". After that he would not allow them to cut it. Once they took him for a trim and he cried and said "It's still long, right?" (it was). I think once it fits in a pony tail (or braid, ha ha) Matthew's hair will be fine! My friend's son's was eventually very long, way down his back, and he would wear it in a pony tail or one long braid. He learned to confidently look into people's eyes and say "I'm a BOY" when people commented on something and thought he was a girl (he was obviously wearing boy clothes and looked like a boy with long hair to me!). One day when he was 13, he told my friend he wanted to cut it off. Since then he's had short hair and he's in grade 12. And he's still a very cool person. Self confident, knows what he wants, and not bothered if people say something to him negative about anything. I noticed when I was teaching children Matthew's age, and when i go to schools now, a lot of the boys seem to have the same style he is desiring and enjoying although i haven't seen the pink streaks before! Personally i think it sounds kind of fun, and brave. Almost all the boys in my class said pink was their favourite colour, so that part isn't too surprising. Good luck with this! : )
    When I was a child, my parents wanted me to have these long old style german-like braids on each side. And I did. What I really really wanted was a military style brush cut like all the boys so it would be easier to wash and never have to brush it. ha ha. Thanks for this post. I was having a yucky day until I read it. Now I am grinning and I laughed out loud. Your writing is very funny!
    pss. Here's a beautiful video of my MA supervisor, Carl Leggo, from UBC talking about teaching. He has always had very long hair! No pink streaks though. Maybe Matthew will be a poet, like Carl! Enjoy!

    1. Thanks Jackie!! Will check out the video! Oh, and I had the german-style braids on the side, too...too funny! We'd have been quite the pair together! The style I wanted was to shave my head...but leave bangs in the front because I believed in those days that my face looked terrible without bangs. Thank goodness I never actually had that style 'cause I would have looked faaar worse that Matthew does right now.
      You hit on what I want for Matthew and why I choose not to make hair an issue. First, it's the whole picking battle thing. But it's also because I want him to be confident in himself regardless of what people think and regardless of whether people think he's a boy or girl. Despite my dislike of his current style, I love that he's strong enough in his opinion to know what he wants and to be undeterred by comments from others...I don't want to mess with that b/c there are so many bigger issues coming his way as he gets older.
      Anyway, Jackie, I hope your yucky day has turned around for good and that you find a few other things to laugh about today. (And thanks for the comment about my writing!)

      Hugs coming your way over the miles,


  4. Thanks for the laugh this morning! My sister went through this with both her boys - color & length - and just shrugged her shoulders. She was so relaxed - 'It's just hair' - I so admired that! My son is uber conservative, and wouldn't grow his hair out on a bet. You are so right to pick your battles.

    In the meantime....go to Costco, pick up the pulled pork, make yourself a nice big plate of pulled pork nachos, and settle in to watch Call the Midwife (great show!), Downton Abbey, Sherlock, or any other bit of BBC brilliance that you can find.

    1. Hey C and thanks for the comment! I was actually thinking of you just yesterday when I was buying a bathing suit for Lizzie and I remembered our email discussion about this very subject...I still intend to check out Lands End in the next month or two as spring gets a little closer!

      Thanks for the story about your nephews - I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one choosing to make this a non-issue. I'm determined to get as relaxed about it as your sister!

      Pulled pork nachos - what an awesome idea!! I've never tried that kind of dish, but that sounds like everything good on a plate. I've just watched the very first episode of Call the Midwife and I do think I have a bunch more relaxing evenings ahead of me 'cause it was terrific! I have yet to watch any Downton Abbey but it's on my want-to-watch list on netflix and I keep hearing it's awesome. So much good stuff to little time! I love pretty much anything BBC. I've watched a few of the BBC Sherlock episodes and loved them...can't remember why I stopped...likely I just got busy again and forgot. Tonight's Thursday night, which is my evening out every week - I'm planning an evening of solitude at a nearby Starbucks with the intent to watch another episode (or two!) of Call the Midwife while sipping on a Caramel Spice Cider. I can hardly wait...only 40 minutes until I'm out the door!!!!

      Blessings on route, C, and thanks!