Keeping Mum

Dita De Boni looks at the trials and tribulations of being a parent.

A big, hairy trauma

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In every toddler's repertoire is a absolute world-class hissy fit that has the ability to ricochet through walls and pierce eardrums - and our toddler is no different.

For him, getting his hair cut is an absolutely major tragedy. Admittedly the first few times we did it, we did it poorly. We took his top off and so all the cut hair fell on his delicate toddler skin, driving him mad with itchiness and causing a complete meltdown. Whacking him in the shower - without warming it up adequately first - added insult to injury.

Last night we thought his hair needed cutting again and sighed with resignation at the thought of the task ahead. But something needed to be done. He was starting to adopt the square-headed look of Eddie Munster, and besides, summer is coming and the last thing any little boy needs is a thick crop of hair on his nonce, blocking the breeze from cooling off his hot little head as he flies down the "fly-box"(flying fox) or the "lide" (slide).

We placed him gently on the high chair and draped a towel around his shoulders. His beloved grandmother and grandfather, as well as his father brandishing clippers and his mother were all acting as his support team (the other baby? what other baby?!) He even had "Nernie" (Ernie) with him, who also needed a hair cut, and who also ended up covered in hair.

And then the clippers were switched on. And all hell broke loose. Not a crying whine which is usually favoured, or even a sob which can occasionally be employed, but a full on screaming cry with tears, red face and anguished expression.

Of course, trying to employ the trimmers on a head that is constantly moving and shaking is hardly an easy task, and so, naturally, the torture session lasts even longer.

Finally the screaming abated because the clippers got turned off. It was off to the bath to get rid of all those pesky hairs which seem to end up in the mouth, ears, down nappies, and everywhere else they shouldn't.

A quick soak in a warm bath and ... the dawning realisation, complete with dread, that the shower would have to be used anyhow as the hair didn't seem to be moving.

That was really the final straw. As I was standing there trying to hold my son under the shower and hose him down, while he simply screamed and screamed, I honestly thought if anyone was walking by now they would truly think something terrible was going on.

No one could hear four adults coaxing him and trying to console him with sweet nothings. All they would have heard was a toddler sounding like he was being tortured.

Which all put me in mind of a column by an former colleague of mine, Karyn Scherer, a mum of two from Titirangi who had the police knock at her door after what was probably a typical witching hour at any toddler's home.

Of course it is easy to think this was overkill on the part of the police, but when cases like Nia Glassie come to court and we are forced to confront every gruesome detail of this poor little girl's short and awful life, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that more people should perhaps be a bit more nosey.

Nevertheless, I can assure readers that my toddler had recovered some five minutes after he got out of the shower (the worse injury to him, after all, was a poorly executed haircut and a shower - hardly the stuff of real hardship!).

Hopefully it'll be a couple of months until we have to endure that trauma again!

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