Ask any parent of an autistic child about getting their kid’s hair cut and be ready for some epic eye-rolling, chest-clutching and possibly some weeping. I’m sure that out there somewhere in the world, there’s an autistic kid who doesn’t mind getting their lid done, but I’ll be damned if I’ve ever met one.
I knew early on that Hallee was going to present a problem in most salons. She hated strangers, strange places, loud noises, bright lights and being touched, especially by someone she didn’t know. All of these things led into a perfect storm of haircutting hell for years. Sometimes I would get lucky and all of the stars and planets would align, allowing us a melt-down free visit to the salon, but those were very few and far between. So I did what any other desperate mom would do…I started doing her hair myself. As a result.there are some school pictures that I wasn’t very eager to share with family and friends.
When kids are little…it’s OK to have the occasional haircut where the bangs are at a decidedly dangerous angle, but as they get older it’s easy for your child’s hair to go from cute to oh-my-God-she-looks-like-she’s-living-in-a-dumpster. That is to say, my hair cutting skills are lacking. So with the aid of lots of YouTube videos, magazine pictures and role playing, I girded my loins and started scoping out salons.
Yes, I stalked salons. I watched to see who was too chatty, who seemed rough with the combing, who ran on time and who seemed like they’d be good under pressure. Hallee-type pressure. Moving head, flapping hands type pressure. And after one or two tense visits, Hallee now looks very forward to getting her hair cut on a regular basis at New Hair Revue on Ohio Street. They understand that Hallee needs quiet, most likely an end of the day appointment, and NO HAIRDRYERS. They’re quick, can do a great cut on dry hair and Hal is out the door before the car is cooled off from the drive over. She’s never had a bad cut and the ladies are some of the nicest in town.
That being said, we found ourselves in the unfortunate position of Hallee needing a trim and mother of the year here totally forgetting to make an appointment last week. I tried explaining to Hallee that her salon was totally booked all weekend and that we’d have to wait for next weekend, but she wasn’t having it. After several hours of listening to very decidedly 17 year old girl type complaints about her hair being in her face (It’s touching my eyes!) I said fine…we’ll go to a walk-in type place in a local strip mall and just get it trimmed, how bad could it be? She likes haircuts now!
Hahahaha…oh, stupid Mommy. The place was very busy, very brightly lit, there were no less than 2 dryers running at all times and the woman cutting her hair kept calling her “Honey”. This is a huge no-no, since that is her sister’s hamster’s name. This led to a less than pleasant experience for both cutter and cuttee. The stylist, for what it’s worth, tried really hard and did a good job considering Hallee was up a tree for the entire visit.
Maddy and I sat there hiding behind magazines and listened in on the mostly one-sided conversation as Hallee put this poor lady through her paces. While Hallee was never rude, she was very honest in her opinions and wasn’t afraid to share them. “Oh, no..you do it wrong” “No, you need to do here..here…MOM…SHE NEEDS TO DO HERE” “Why you pull my hair? Don’t pull my hair” “Why you call me Honey? MOM, why she calling me Honey?” And that was all before someone else turned on a hair dryer about 3 feet behind Hallee’s head. Maddy’s eyes were saucer-sized as she lowered her magazine, fully expecting a Hiroshima-style blow up. Meanwhile Hallee’s hands are all over hear face and head and it’s a miracle she came out of there with all 10 fingers. I’m guessing they weren’t sorry to see us go.
So while it was a great save in a pinch, I think I had better step up my appointment making game and stick to the tried and true for us. Somebody send me an email in about 3 weeks and remind me, OK?