From the moment George W. stated it, I knew the name of my “how to raise three boys and keep your sanity” guide, and have often joked that our parenting book would be titled:
We Will Not Negotiate With Terrorists
However, just as he has with so many of my neat-and-tidy parenting theories and ideals (things that actually worked with his brothers) Caleb has blown a hole in this one, too. Not only will I never write a book, I don’t think I will ever even give advice (my future daughter-in-laws will be grateful for my early humbling, I am sure)
You will recall, how he got french fries for his last haircut? And I said it wasn’t really bribery-just a reward? Ok, you all knew better and clearly, CALEB caught on fast, too. I was the only one under any delusion that I had not just given in, and set myself up for the next time.
Those of you who’ve seen him in person: Have you noticed, the last 6 weeks or so, just how crazy Calebs hair had gotten? He was determined to grow it out and we are at that stage of parenting where we are encouraging our boys “independence with guidelines” So they can choose clothes, hairstyles, music, friends etc with input from us but freedom to learn just who they are, as individuals. That is why I was letting the boy grow his hair-though it looks like a mop and isn’t flattering and makes me cringe with embarassment when we go out in public! He kept his end of the bargain-in our house, if you want to grow your hair it has to be shampooed twice as often and combed everyday (this is why Sam happily embraces the razor!) Caleb has done this but still, most days he look like the lovechild of Einstein and Peter Frampton. Not his fault: he has inherited my wacky head, full of cowlicks.
I remember being hugely pregnant with Sammy and feeling ugly and huge and sweltering in the Yakima summer heat… I decided that cutting off 5 lbs of long thick hair might help lighten the load considerably and also distract everyone from my lowerbody bloating. Off I head, to the best salon in town, with $$ we didn’t have to spare. I give the perky hairstylist my magazine photo of Meg Ryan in “You’ve Got Mail”. She squeals-“Oooh, this will look SO great on you!” and quickly chops all my hair off. After the floor is covered in piles of brown waves that I took years to grow, she says “Oh, no.”
You never want to hear your stylist say that. Especially if you are hormone crazy with pregnancy. She continues–“Oh, dear. I didn’t realize, because your hair is so thick, but, honey? You have cowlicks ALL OVER your head. There is no way we can do this hairstyle…” What?! I start to cry. She smiles weakly and says lets see what we can do, huh? She proceeds to give me a hairstyle that looks like something your grandma would order from a cheap wig catalog. I walked in, 25 years old, and walked out, qualifying for AARP benefits. I leave with my eyes down, telling myself “It’s just hair…it grows…its not so bad…” but then John picks me up. His eyes go big and he says “Oh! Honey? Gosh, um, is that what you wanted?” (cue hormonal sobfest and lots of hasty apologizing)
So, Caleb inherited my great swirling whorls of hair follicles, swooping around his cranium like buttercream frosting on a cupcake. His forehead ‘Lick is the most prominent and visible, but they are everywhere. When I buzz him I have to go up, down, and side to side to get every hair! Last week, even John insisted that Caleb get “at the least, a trim!’ because it looked so bad. In the middle of the trim, I ask, again, why he doesn’t want a crew-when he always liked them before? and then it comes:
Oh, I see! Hear, we go-you want to negotiate a deal, buddy? Because I am STILL my fathers daughter and I am SO ready for ya…let’s hear it…!
There is a local Coffee Shop–that happens to have gluten free pastries–with a cinnamon crumb cake for $3– that I treated a surprised little boy to– a month ago–said boy has since become obsessed– increasingly intent on getting another sugar fix–and if i cut his hair off–then he must have said pastry in his hands–within 24 hours.
I don’t know anymore, Georgie old pal. Perhaps there is a time and place for negotiation? I mean, it’s not like we have Osama in custody now, do we? And maybe the important thing is to let the enemy occasionally think they are winning, while we swoop in with our Oster clippers and get what we really wanted?
just a thought, from a soldier still in the trenches…