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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How's my hair?

Sometimes I look at autism and just want to scream "WHY ARE YOU SUCH A FREAKING PRODUCTION?"  I know, parenting in general is hard.  Quit your bitching Mama Fry but for once I would like to do a simple event without planning for it.  No social stories.  No video modeling. No endless talks about what's going to happen.  I just want to say "Tuesday after school you are going for a haircut." and be done with it.

But it's never that simple in our world is it?

So I will spend fifteen minutes on the phone trying to get my kiddo an appointment with the one hair stylist that we haven't scared away in eight years. I will reschedule things in order to get him to see this woman because it's her or it's the kiddo being a long hair hippie.  And did I mention her shop is located a good twenty five minutes away on a good traffic day from us?  I love counting all the other hair salons I see of my drive over there, where my son is kiddo non grata.

I will then calculate the timing.  He likes to have a few minutes in the waiting area to settle into all the whole sensory upheaval of it all.  There is an awesome train table.  For about a minute I can actually feel like he is calm and we're just doing a run of the mill hair cut.

Until she calls his name.

First start the indecision of where he wants to sit.  She's pretty flexible and quite accommodating to him.  I will give her that.  Then it's a to long discussion of "cape or no cape".   (If you can't wear it like Batman what's the point? I can get that.)

And so it begins.  I'm poised ready to keep him in one place by any means short of duct tape and glue.  Sometimes I'm practically smashed against him, holding him like life raft in a stormy sea.  Then there are better days where he just clutches me fingers and arms.  Either way this part is far from quiet.  Begging, pleading and crying are all the norm.  Sometimes all three of these come from me.  I plead in my head on the drive over to just once make this okay.  Make it less scary.  Make it less confusing for him. Yes selfishly I would love an easy haircut but I'm a mom.  I don't want to see my kid upset, crying great big blubbering tears complete with snotty nose.  Who wants that?  The little hairs stick even more then. 

Finally he will be done and she will go for the hair dryer to blow off the loose bits like she always does with every other child's hair she cuts.  I know this is her habit.  I don't expect her to always remember that the mere sound of the dryer sends my kiddo running in fear.  If I'm on it that day, I will block her reach to it and just sweetly request "no dryer just the brush please".  He will rip the cape off and run across to the counter for his lollipop.   The one he will never eat but because it's part of the routine, always take.  I will settle the bill and tip this girl well.  I will force a smile on my face even if I don't feel like it and say thank you and have a good day.  I will try beam positive vibes to the other parents who are there waiting and have just witness this.  I will  pretend I don't care that they gave each other that "look".  Cause I don't have the energy to worry about what they think.  I will hope maybe next time will be better or maybe his hair won't grow as fast. 

Either way, Mama is picking up a side of fries on the way home. 

12 comments:

  1. I feel your pain ! First he has to agree to go in, this could change right as we open the door or on the ride there, we make about 4 trys to go before we get there. Josh is very sensitive to any area above the chest, so his shoulders bunch up when you touch anywhere near his neck ! I have to hold his head tilted sideways(headlock) while they try to go around his neck. Meanwhile he is yelling NO I CAN DO IT and laughing like someone is tickling him. For whatever reason, if his father takes him to a Barber it's not as bad, trying to "Man Up" maybe? If the girl goes too slow he will rip the cape off and announce he's done. I have started using the clippers and doing it myself, sometimes his neck gets done, sometimes not. It's always a challenge, can't wait for the magical tube you step into like on the Jetsons and have everthing done at once ! :)

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  2. Yes. Yes! YES!! My 8 yo son is officially that "long haired hippie freak" because of his debilitating inability to tolerate a haircut. JUST yesterday his school (private school for children with autism - yeah, we hit the lottery getting in last December) opened up a new program "Tolerates Haircuts". Didn't see anything about cattle prods & valium listed in the details so I signed off on it. Hope they have a magic wand cuz unless he's unconscious I have no flipping idea how they're going to do this!

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    1. Your 8 yo son probably looks GOOD with long hair. Thank you for respecting your son's personal autonomy. Make sure the "Tolerates Haircuts" program respects his choice of haircut.

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  3. I'm pretty lucky. There is just all this crying and drama right up until he climbs in the chair. And then he just does it. I can never figure out why there is crying and drama and then smiles and chatting in the chair.

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    1. And my severely autistic one, he loves haircuts too much. He is perpetually clippered because he cuts his hair as soon as he grabs a pair of scissors. We have them all locked away. But still.

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  4. After being asked not to come back at 2 salons, I resorted to learning to cut his hair myself. Not all the tantrums have stopped, of course, and he still is not a fan of haircuts, but being home and not out in public seems to help a lot. Maybe it's because he doesn't have to deal with the clinical smells or the bright lights or whatever. Or maybe it's because he can jump directly into the bath and rinse off all the little sticky hairs. Who knows?

    I'd suggest finding a stylist who is willing to come to your home. It's worth looking into!

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  5. For me, haircuts are one of the hardest things about being an autism mom. My younger (21mo) ASD boy does fine, but my older (3.5yo)ASD boy absolutely hates haircuts. It is a kicking, screaming, crying, snotting fight, every single time, whether I do it or somebody else does. It is just as traumatic (or more so) for me as it is for him. And unfortunately, my ASD/OCD tendencies won't allow me to just let him have long hair. Long hair on boys/men totally skeeves me out.

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  6. I do my boys hair myself most of the time, and the easiest time I ever had was when my youngest realized I was using SCISSORS and he Wanted them. He spent the entire time watching my like a cat ready to pounce, but didn't move a muscle. I'm lucky, no drama with haircuts, just lots and lots and lots of flinching.

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  7. Ugh! The dreaded hair cut. I have become pretty good at cutting Liam's while hubs holds him in place. We don't do the hair dresser often bc of the same reason.....Hang in there and enjoy those fries mama! You deserve it :)

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  8. Yeah, we do haircuts in the laundry room and we beg, bribe and generally do whatever he wants for the day to get him to sit still long enough for us to run the trimmers through his hair. To this day he still refuses to walk into a hair salon because he has such vivid memories of everything going on in the first place we went to. It has gotten better as he's gotten older though!

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  9. We have only done one haircut in 3.5 years since it was so traumatic for all involved. I really thought it might get better! Now I can only hope that Justin Bieber grows his hair long. Then it will be a cool look and we will no longer have to brave the barber shop! Thanks for sharing. Just nice to know we are not alone.

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