So this happened:
It was finally time to get Alden his first haircut. He, more than our girls ever did, likes to smear food through his hair. Probably because it was always getting in his face and he was trying to brush it back with sticky, messy hands. Add that to the looming summer weather and necessary frequent sunscreen applications and I just didn’t want to deal with The Hair anymore. I was still sad to cut it, though.
I took Alden to the same place the girls go to get their hair cut. They do a fantastic job with Autistic kids. Alden was already on the verge of a meltdown just entering the hair salon. There had already been too many transitions: into the van to drive there, out of the van and into the stroller to walk through the shopping center to the hair salon (I had to do the stroller because lately Alden has become a runner. He won’t stay near me or hold my hand and frequently tries to dart into streets or through busy parking lots). Then we walked into this place and people were smiling at him and saying “hello” and his response was to cling tightly to me and begin to wail, “Noooo!”
By some miracle I managed to coax Alden into the little seat that looks like a firetruck. He was handed a basket of toys to keep him busy and the woman cutting his hair very patiently described everything she was going to do to him. She let him touch the scissors and hear the sound they would make. She told him what the water was going to feel like before she sprayed it on his hair. Every detail, she let him know in advance and talked calmly to him the entire time. This woman was seriously a goddess and I was standing there trying not to cry because my son was getting his first haircut and this amazing woman was going above and beyond to understand my son and give him a positive experience. She knew this was something we were going to have to do repeatedly for the rest of his life, and if the first experience is good all the ones that follow will be easier.
She took a “before” photo to go in a keepsake card with a lock of his hair. At my request she very carefully collected all the rest of his curls as she cut them off so that I could keep them for his baby book.
I don’t have a good “after” photo because the kid won’t ever sit still for two seconds, but the one above gives you a pretty good idea. He looks like such a big kid now!