Yesterday I decided to spend some time with just Tornado E. My mom was already watching the younger two because I volunteer on Wednesdays as Tornado E’s class librarian. With school pictures on Friday, I figured it was a good time to get a haircut. Tornado E doesn’t like to do his hair because it takes too long and eats up precious time before school that he could be playing. I explained that if he wanted to nothing with his hair, then he had to have it short.
We sat in the lounge waiting, flipping through haircut books until Tornado E found a style he liked. A short fohawk, very much like his uncle’s. I agreed and handed Tornado E my phone to play Fruit Ninja as I people watched. Only teenage boys and their mothers were in the place. One boy slouched in his chair, making comments about how he didn’t need a haircut. He sported the emo looking with hair in his eyes. I wondered what I’ll be arguing with Tornado E about when he was that age.
Since we frequent the place with three boys and their father, the hairdresser recognized us. I showed her what Tornado E wanted, and she asked if I was sure. I told her yes, and she started cutting Tornado E’s hair, explaining that the fohawk could easily be styled to be conservative. She then engaged Tornado E into conversation.
Tornado E: My friend has a Mohawk! I asked him, “Is that a punk rocker?” (Because that’s what I call it when they’re in the bath.) And he said, “No, it’s a Mohawk!” And I want one! But Mommy said no! And I wanted rainbow! But Mommy said no!
The hairdresser smiled and finished trimming.
Hairdresser: Can I put gel in his hair?
Me: Tornado E, would you like gel in your hair?
Tornado E: Yes!
The hairdresser pulled me aside.
Hairdresser: I have red gel. It’ll color his hair red, and it washed right out.
I looked over at Tornado E and made eye contact with him in the mirror. He had a smile that could split his face and nodded vigorously. I smiled back.
Me: That sounds awesome.
So the hairdresser slathered on red gel, spiking the middle of Tornado E’s hair. He beamed the whole time. The moms were surprised.
Mom: Can you imagine what your father would say if you came home looking like that?
Emo boy: No. He’d freak.
Mom: Maybe you should tell him how lucky he is to have a mom like that.
After the haircut, we walked down to the drug store so Tornado E could pick out a treat for sitting so well in the chair. Noticing the time, I asked Tornado E if he wouldn’t mind going to Costco with me to pick up a chicken. He was fine with it. As we walked through the stores, people commented on his hair, and he beamed the whole time. Then he would place his hand in mine and hold on until he became distracted by something and let go. But then his hand would find mine again.
And I knew I had done something right.