London - This is an everyday story of mothering gone wrong. A story of maternal incompetence and parental panic. On Friday, after the school pick-up I took my son, aged six, to have his fringe trimmed. So far so boring, as my ten-year-old daughter would say.
He didn’t want to go to the hairdresser because he believes it’s “bad luck,” but the boy looked like a mini Boris Johnson crossed with Harry Styles and no one wants that.
Anyway, as I pushed him rather forcefully through the door of our local barber shop his three sisters stayed outside with their noses pressed against the window expectantly, relishing his displeasure in the way only siblings can. Mabel, 18 months, watched from her buggy, wriggling gleefully as the scissors came out. She loves scissors.
Having been instructed to subtly trim the fringe, the barber lifted my son’s fluffy blond moptop and with a violent snip he cut a very short, blunt, straight line across the boy’s forehead. Everyone went silent. It looked ridiculous.
Outside “See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Thoroughly Evil,” as I call the trio of trouble, began to howl with laughter. Henry’s eyes filled with rage and one look at my furrowed brow prompted the barber to mutter, “Madam I will not charge you for this”.
Henry leapt up and shot off to confront the giggling trio as I ran after him urging him to put his hood up. An accidental mullet is not an acceptable look for a six-year-old who takes much pride in his appearance.
This is the third dubious hairstyle he’s had in his short life (so technically he’s right about the bad luck).
As a toddler he had extreme cradle cap so a helpful mom talked me into getting his head shaved.
This brutal crop coincided with a growth spurt and his penchant for wearing his sisters’ clothes. He looked like Bruce Willis in a frock for a year.
Then I took him for a trim, aged four, and a blind Edward Scissorhands gave him a ludicrous short-back-and-sides which made him look like he should pack his bags and join the foreign legion.
“What the hell are you going to do?” my eight-year-old asked when we got home.
We sat Henry on a kitchen chair and considered our limited options.
“He can wear my Hannah Montana wig, like he used to,” the eldest said, smirking.
Well, there was only one thing to do. “Get me the nail scissors,” I said, the toddler’s eyes widening at the possibility of secretly nabbing something else to add to her collection of sharp objects. I didn’t specify the bluntest, oldest nail scissors in London, but that’s what I got.
In retrospect I think maybe a less sleep-deprived woman than I should have attempted the “re-cut”.
“I’m telling Dad what you did,” Gracie warned ten minutes later. Vidal Sassoon I am not.
In fact, if I was you I wouldn’t let me trim your hedge.
I think Henry may have a case in the Court of Human Rights after my actions.
“No one tells anyone anything,” I warned, twirling the scissors like a pistol menacingly.
“This is a disaster,” my eldest added helpfully.
“I’m humiliated,” Henry concluded sadly (he says that about almost everything that upsets him).
We stood in silence for a while and I feebly offered up a jam donut by way of compensation. And a packet of mini Oreos.
The next day I took him to a proper hairdresser, where a sympathetic stylist spent nearly an hour correcting the barber’s mistake (I didn’t mention my foolish input).
They felt so sorry for the little fella they didn’t charge either and made him a hot chocolate with marshmallows to cheer him up.
When we got home, his father gave him the first mince pie of the season to make him feel better too.
The following morning I awoke to find Henry stood beside the bed looking forlorn. “I’ve been humiliated again,” he said, “I think I need some HobNobs for breakfast, you know, to make me feel better.”
As my eyes came into focus I shrieked.
His fringe was now a zig-zag of missing chunks. A trail of snipped hair behind him on the stairs. We’re still looking for the scissors.
I’m not sure how many parental lessons are to be learned from this sorry tale, but consider it yet another chapter in my “book of bad mothering”. Feel free to share your own examples. - Daily Mail
* LORRAINE CANDY is editor-in-chief of ELLE magazine