Ike's Hairz, A Love Story
January 22, 2014
Noah got a haircut recently — a super-short cut, "like Dad's," his request — and while the stylist efficiently and unsentimentally buzzed the majority of his hair away, she asked, "We're cutting the little one's hair today too, right?"
Not even. And no.
Now that it's winter and there's no humidty, Ike's hair has admittedly lost most of the amazing, boing-y ringlets and mostly just kinda...flips and flops and waves around. After a bath, the curls tighten up a little, but most of the time he looks like this. Blond and shaggy with two long pieces on the sides that hang down kind of straight, probably just to drive the "cut that baby's hair already" advocates crazy with the urge to snip them off and even it out.
I usually just twist them a little with my fingers before pushing them back behind his ears, where they temporarily blend into the rest of his wisps. I understand that not every parent gets quite so attached to their children's hair, and lots would think it's silly and futile that I'm putting his first haircut off so long, but...his hair makes me happy. His hair makes me smile. It's soft and silky. It's messy and yet rarely tangles and always smells nice. He gets the world's most tremendous bedhead and you never really know what it's going to look like after the next nap or bath or shift in the weather. Another reason why I'm inclined to just let it be: I kinda wanna see what it will do next.
Does he get mistaken for a girl? Yes and no, I guess. One time a harried cashier at McDonald's gave him a long, second look during the "SELECT GIRL TOY OR BOY TOY" part of the Happy Meal transaction (which: When did that bullshit start? How about we just let kids pick whichever damn toy they want and leave the inquiries about their genitals out of it?), and instead of asking, simply put him down for the "girl" toy. Which was actually a (blue!) Furby character, and vastly superior to the Ninja Turtle "boy" option, if you ask me.
(Or maybe he just thought the Furby was a better option for a toddler, gendered bullshit aside. My mother-in-law had just visited and clucked over Ike's hair length, so I might have been reading too much into the encounter. Especially since she's also a weeeeeee fanatical about feeding the boys nothing but health food and there I was, taking Ike to McDonald's in the first place, and wow, suddenly that entire lunch outing seems incredibly steeped with my own psychological melodrama.)
Another time a waitress asked us, "And what would she like to drink?" after taking one 15 second look at him in her peripheral vision. I said that he would like some milk; life went on and nobody died or experienced crushing embarrassment or a massive identity crisis. When I sense that a stranger in the grocery store (for example) wants to comment on him and seems to hesitate, I always volunteer his name or the correct pronoun, even if he's dressed in head to toe blue.
To me, Ike looks like a little boy with longish hair. But hey, if you call him a "her" I ain't gonna get all het up and mad at ya. I likely ain't gonna care in the slightest. Neither will he, because he's two years old. If you ask him who he is, he will tell you "Ike." If you ask him if he's a boy or a girl, he will ignore those choices and say "baby" instead.
(Mostly because around here, big boys use the potty and babies use diapers and well, let's just say I walked right fucking into that one, all right.)
At some point, sure. I will give his hair a little trim. And at some point after that, I will let him — like Noah and Ezra — make his own decisions about his hair and clothing. And whether he prefers to be called Isaac over Ike, or if he'd really prefer if I stayed in the car in the drop-off lane where his friends can't see me.
But for now, I just want a little more time to hold him close, on my lap, twist his curls around my fingers, and let him be my baby.