One of the many “benefits” of being a grandparent raising a grandchild is you get to experience all of their developmental leaps, bounds and blunders.
Last night, my granddaughter decided she wanted her hair shorter, but she neglected to mention it to me. I was just getting ready to go to a meeting for my job and asked her to come into the kitchen and say “bye” to me.
She came into the kitchen with her hands behind her back. I handed her something and she reached to get it and dropped a bunch of hair. My first thought was that she had cut the hair of one of her dolls.
Upon closer examination, however, it became clear that she had cut her own hair! If you look closely, you can see the varying lengths of hair in the photo!
I thought we had missed this behavior
Up to this point, I had been feeling pretty confident that we were going to miss the whole “giving myself a haircut” phase because she was five and had never expressed any interest in cutting anything let alone her hair!
That delusion was shattered when she handed me a bunch of her hair.
My spouse and I asked her why she had cut her hair?
“Because I wanted it to be shorter,” she replied.
Well, that certainly made sense! But I wanted a better answer.
“Why didn’t you ask us if you could get a haircut?” I asked.
“Because I thought you would say ‘no’ and I would be in trouble,” she replied.
Ummmm, well, she was right about the last part of her sentence!
As we were talking to her, I thought back over the decades to when I was a little girl. I thought about the things I had done, including cutting my own hair and ending up with hair even shorter than hers would have to be.
As she was explaining the reason behind cutting her hair, I couldn’t help but feel compassion for her. She was so earnest! She was sure her hair would grow back so she had no fear in cutting it. Her biggest fear had been that she would get into trouble.
It was kind of funny and I had to stop myself from smiling and laughing because she just kept saying, “Well, it will grow back.” I didn’t want to smile or laugh. I wanted to be mad! I wanted to ground her for a month and give her a swat on the butt! I wanted to cry! Her hair had been so thin when she was little, but in the last year it had become thick and very lovely. UGH!
I wanted to be mad, but I just couldn’t be. I kept seeing another little girl standing there trying to explain to her mom why she had cut her hair. I kept seeing me at that age.
The professional redo
I was not happy about having to take time off from work to take her to the hair stylist to see just how short we would have to cut her hair to even it out. I let my granddaughter know that I wasn’t happy.
I explained that we had to fix her hair because school started in two weeks and she needed to be ready. I sure didn’t want her to get teased.
So I picked her up from daycare—which she loved (click here to see the struggle we’ve been having with daycare lately)—and off we went to the stylist.
We had to wait a bit before we could get her hair cut as the stylist was busy with another client. When it was our turn, my granddaughter jumped up into the barber chair and asked if the hair had grown back yet?
The stylist laughed and told her that hair did not grow back that fast.
My granddaughter seemed rather disappointed about that. She figured that it would grow back overnight! I felt kind of bad for her because she honestly thought this.
I tried to explain that hair did not grow back that fast.
“Honey, it took five years for your hair to be the length it was. It will take quite a while for it to be that long again,” I said.
“But…” she began.
The stylist, who has several children of her own, took the lead on this one.
“It will take a few years. You will probably be in 3rd grade before it is as long as it was,” she told my granddaughter.
Oh no, her haircut is adorable!
The stylist worked her magic. She cut and styled and measured and did whatever it is that stylists do that makes our hair look so good!
Midway through the haircut, I kept thinking to myself how cute her new haircut was going to look! I told myself that I should get mine cut like that, too.
I was still trying to be mad and still trying to teach her a lesson about not cutting her hair, but look at that smile! How could I be mad?
After I paid for the haircut, I took her back to daycare. She was excited to show the daycare provider and the other kids her new “do.”
Honestly, how could I be mad any longer? I couldn’t. I was grateful that she hadn’t chopped her bangs. I was grateful she hadn’t hurt herself. I was happy that she liked her new hairdo. I did make it clear that if she ever wanted a haircut again that she needed to ask my spouse or me first!
Tying it all Together
Being a grandparent raising a grandkid isn’t always easy or glamorous. It can be downright misery as times. But other times, you get to share these learning moments together and it makes all the work worthwhile!
I wouldn’t change a thing, even the “selfie” haircuts!
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About the author
Karin Nauber, “G.G.” is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 27 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. G.G. has five grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. She began this website with the hope of helping other grandparents who may be struggling with their role as parent/grandparents. If you would like to contact her, please do so at: firstname.lastname@example.org.