We were early. The kids peaked though the doors, pressing their faces against the glass. They pointed to the colourful seats and the horse ride. We killed some time by stopping for a snack from the food court and tying to prevent the boy from launching himself down the escalator.
The doors finally opened and we headed inside. The boy was bold and rushed ahead. The girl was cautious, reluctant to finally meet the "barber" and have her first real haircut. A haircut that didn't involve me quickly snipping her bangs while she wiggled in front of me on the dinning room table.
She needed a haircut. Her bangs had been cut, she had even cut some of her hair herself, but the hair reaching down to the middle of her back were her white blond baby locks. It needed to be snipped and tidied.
He boy needed a haircut too. His face was becoming obstructed by wispy pieces of his white hair that would fall forward to cover his eyes. The back was too long. He looked shaggy.
The girl went first. She sat in a chair shaped like a car. She could have pretended to drive the car but she was too mesmerized by the video playing on the wall across the room. That kept her riveted enough that she didn't notice the inches being removed from the back of her hair until it reached her shoulder. She did managed to tear her eyes away from the screen long enough to look at the hairdresser while her bangs were trimmed. The girl grimaced and squeezed her eyes shut when I made the hairdresser go back and make them even shorter.
When she was done the girl had her photo taken by the hairdresser. She had some sparkles added to her hair. I have sparkles in my hair she said to her grandma later, like a big, huge donut!
The girl had been nervous about the "barber". I had been nervous too. In the end she cautiously enjoyed it. I didn't cry she said to me. Unlike her brother.
The boy patiently wandered around and played while his sister had her hair cut. Once she was done and I told him it was his turn he started to sob. Big wet tears rolled down his face during his haircut. He sat red faced in an orange airplane chair while the hairdresser cut and cut. In the end more of his hair lay around him than had been cut off of his sister.
How do you want it cut? the hairdresser had asked me. Um, shorter? I had said. Okay, a boy cut she said back. I guess I replied, but not a, a... A brush cut, my mother-in-law had supplied. Yes, not that I had said.
The hairdresser trimmed and shaped until I could see the boy's ears and the back of his neck. His fine features emerged from behind the layers of hair. I watched the face of a boy appear and the last vestiges of his baby face disappear.
Bits of his blond hair fell and got stuck in the cherry lollipop he sucked on. The lollipop and the hand mirror I held in front of him were the only things that would temporarily steam his tears. When the haircut was finally done the hairdresser took the picture of a tear-streaked boy with a red sticky face.
We cleaned him off. The girl and boy took turns riding on the mechanical horse. We paid and thanked the hairdresser.
I took home two kids that looked older than when we had arrived.