One late night, years ago, I walked into the house and headed to the master bedroom. The sound blared from the television and echoed down the hall as I thought to myself, “He fell asleep. Before the baby.” I took my time opening the door and indeed, my husband was there in bed, sound asleep. I stared at the nightstand — there were tufts of chestnut brown hair scattered everywhere. The events of what could have occurred to lead up to this scene, refused to make sense in my mind.
I turned off the TV, stood there in the dark then switched the lamp on. Our three-year-old daughter was curled up into a ball, comfortably nestled beside her father. Where did all this hair come from? I nudged her side and she stretched, then I could finally see. This hard-headed little girl — the definition of “curiosity killing the cat” — waited for her hard-working dad to fall asleep then cut half her damn hair out at the roots! I screamed, silently recalling where she could’ve gotten the idea from.
Earlier that day, our baby was in her normal routine of following me around from room to room as I bustled with housework. Once I was through with the laundry, I took one peek at my bangs in the mirror over the dresser and figured I needed a trim. Without another thought, I grabbed the slim scissors from the bathroom drawer and after a couple clips, it was done. I didn’t notice the baby watching my every move until I went to put the scissors back. I decided against their original home and instead plopped them down on the far end of the counter, out of her reach, or so I thought.
So imagine my shock and horror when I propped that same baby up in the bed, next to her now-half-conscious father and began to scold and chastise them both for letting this happen. “You were supposed to be watching her!” I shrieked. “Oh my God! Look at her head. Look at it!”
He blinked a few times, then when his eyes finally focused, he seemed to be holding back a laugh. Then he finally chuckled. Of all the things to do! Why would he chuckle? “This is gonna be really funny in some years,” he said, rubbing her scalp. “You gotta admit that.” “Well, it’s not a couple years. It’s right now! And she’s half bald. Oh my God!”
“Little girl! Do you have any idea what you did to your hair?” I grabbed her from the bed and ran to the bathroom. I stood her on the counter and flicked on the light. She looked, then her eyes took the form of small saucers. She was scared to death of the reflection staring back at her. Then she started crying as she reached up to touch her Cassie-before-Cassie-did-it ‘do.
I said a silent prayer, thanking the Creator that she didn’t nick her skin at all, then spotted the carefully placed scissors just underneath the bed. Plan of action? Take her to the barber in the morning and get it all shaved off. Evenly. Yup. Like a boy. And, man, did she holler upon hearing this…
Her dad agreed. “Give her a fade,” he said. “She can start fresh.” Then laughed his way back to bed.
The next day, we headed to the nearest shop and the man I planned on paying to put the clippers to my baby girl’s head had the gall to be hesitant. “You sure you wanna do this?,” he asked with sorry eyes and a faint smirk on his lips, because, yes, looking back, it was funny. “Yes,” I said with conviction. “Cut it all off.” Everyone in the shop, including fellow customers, shook their heads, trying to figure out an alternative. “If she wants her hair cut, let’s cut it,” I shrugged. “She has earrings and chains on. And pink. She’s a girl, clearly.”
Now aware of what exactly was to come, my baby had finally begun to bawl. Right there, in the barber’s chair. “Now c’mon Miss Lady,” the man started again, “This a lil’ girl. I’m sure we can figure something else out.” A gum-popping teenager came from the back of the shop, “I can braid it all to one side,” she offered. “Kinda conceal it.” But even she wasn’t sure if it would look “right.” Her statement sounded more like a question.
Exasperated now, I just shrugged. Because, really, I’d already decided that a cut was what this kid wanted? A cut was what she’d get. “Y’all do whatever you want. I’m tired,” I said and washed my hands of it. The gum-popper started on the braids, picking out special beads and the like. She was done in 30 minutes and though it wasn’t the full head of hair my daughter had 24 hours before, it looked okay.
That day, my firstborn came dangerously close to experiencing a very real consequence. And saw it in my face that I wasn’t going back on my word. Granted, there have been instances since then where she needs a reminder about actions and consequences, and the lessons that follow, but I’ve been ready for them all since the night she cut her hair off. So ready.