My ten-year-old daughter, Evelyn, went for a hair cut recently. To the uninformed, that sounds reasonably benign. Usually by the time a child is ten, they have overcome most of those little fears and phobias that plague our toddlers. My son, for example, doesn’t necessarily like getting his hair cut, but he is now old enough to tolerate it.
Because of her delays, Evelyn has a lot of sensory issues. For example, she is undersensitive to sounds. Loud sounds have never bothered her. She loves loud groups of kids, funny sounds, whatever. However, she is oversensitive to touch, and that is a major understatement. When she was a baby, she could gag just from touching something. She isn’t nearly as sensitive now, but she hates, hates, hates it when anyone has to fool with her hair, brush her teeth, or basically intrude upon her person in any way.
As you can imagine, cutting her hair is lots of fun. She climbs into the chair calmly enough, and if the stylist could figure out some way to cut her hair in, say, 40 seconds, things would be fine. That’s about as long as Evelyn can tolerate the pinning up of the top layers, the spraying of the water, etc. Then the situation begins to deteriorate. Rapidly.
I basically hold her down for the whole thing. She yells and struggles and tosses her head. It’s loads of fun. Here’s another scenario for you. I have to do the same thing every day when I brush her teeth. It’s awful, but what am I supposed to do? If you don’t believe God has a sense of humor, consider the fact that my daughter has the thickest, heaviest head of hair I have ever seen. Ever. It couldn’t be left long, because she can’t stand any headbands or anything. Also, when it gets too long, she gets food in it when she eats. Also, she can’t stand to have it washed or combed, so I have to fight through those things as well. Imagine that with long hair. No thanks. In short, her hair has to be cut. Obviously, her teeth have to be brushed, too. It’s not like I can just quit doing those things.
It doesn’t really bother me all that much. The only thing that is moderately concerning to me is that she just keeps getting bigger and stronger, and I don’t. What happens when she gets bigger than me, or at least as big as me? She knows her teeth have to be brushed. Never once have I NOT brushed her teeth because she struggled. Yet she struggles with me every day, without fail, and has done so since the very first time I brushed her teeth all those years ago. So, I haven’t given up, or given in, but neither has she. More than that, she has great instincts. In the nearly five years she has been in public school, the school nurse has never once been able to take her temperature. Never once. Evelyn can smell fear a mile away.
So anyway, a trip to the hair stylist is quite an odessy for us. I don’t know what the future holds. All I can say is, if you see a battered woman walking around with what appears to be Cousin Itt with rotten teeth, be sure and say “Hi.” And don’t try to touch Itt’s head.