It’s bill-paying time, and the numbers on the screen were telling me things were going to be a bit tight, until Josh gets paid out for the job he’s been working on for the past few weeks. No big deal– just a bit close. Nothing out of the ordinary for millions of families juggling, paying one bill and putting off another, calculating the month from day to day.
I thought about the week coming up. Thought about meal planning; wouldn’t it be a good idea (a good wifely task) to plan things out for the week, lay in supplies, make sure we were provisioned and wouldn’t need to shop again?
I immediately started planning soup, pasta dishes on the cheap, cooking a chicken one day and having pot pie the next. (Guilty secret, I love, love pot pie and would make it on the barest excuse.) I found myself wishing I’d paid more attention to the countless “a weeks worth of family dinners for $40” articles I’d skimmed in waiting rooms.
Once I’d mentally written a shopping list, I turned my attention to Alden’s hair. I’d had it in my head to take him in for a haircut. But as my inner Frugal Fannie was on the rise, I told him enthusiastically that I’d cut his hair this time! Just like I do for Daddy! And, I promised, he could have a candy afterward, just like he gets at the barbershop.
He was a bit reluctant but I think my enthusiasm carried him along. I bustled around grabbing the clippers, a chair, a pillowcase to wrap around him (“just like the capes they have!”) and I set to work.
I was worried about going TOO short, so I chose the 1″ guard, and started buzzing. Within a minute, I knew I had made a terrible mistake.
The “nice little boy” haircut I’ve asked for when I’ve taken Alden to Cost Cutters, or Great Clips, or Super Cuts, or wherever– that haircut, it turns out, is cute because it is NOT all one length. Quite UNlike what I was doing to my son right now.
Before my horrified eyes my “nice little boy” suddenly looked like a poster child for neglect.
Choppy, scraggledy, unkempt, and above all, uncared for. That’s all I could see as I was halfway into the “cut.” I was appalled. His haircut suddenly looked to me like the little boys who don’t have warm coats or real snow boots. It looked like ramen noodles for dinner.
“”It’s ok,” Josh encouraged. “Just use the angled guards along the ears to kind of, you know, blend it, and then clean it up with scissors.”
I was frozen. Couldn’t keep going. Something about the way he looked really pushed my buttons and I couldn’t forge on.
“C’mon, buddy,” I said, undoing the pilowcase and whipping off the jammies he was wearing which were covered with tufts of hair (turns out, the pillowcase did NOT do as good a job as the capes they have.) “We’re going to the barber’s.”
Mercifully, there was no line when we got there, and a sweet matter-of-fact gal with horse tattoos and pink-and-blue hair whisked Alden into a chair, clipped, snipped, and buzzed for about 10 minutes, and made everything alright again. His eyebrows stand out dramatically with his much shorter hair, but it looks intentional, and tidy. Worth every penny of the eleven dollars I paid her.
I honestly don’t know if I could have tidied it up myself. I certainly didn’t THINK I could, and that’s probably just as well. I don’t quite understand the visceral reaction I had to the way it looked, but I know that it, and the meal planning, and the bill-paying, are all related, and all part of wanting to make sure that everything, and everyone, is, in fact, well-cared-for.
Tonight’s dinner, yep, the chicken pot pie. Alden and Josh were both under the weather as it turned out, but I enjoyed mine quite a bit. My shorn little dude is asleep in the next room, blissfully unaware of bill-paying time — and of his mama’s horrible haircutting skills.