Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Nicholas’s First Haircut…. And the power of commercials

We had a three-day weekend here in the U.K. (Happy May Day Everyone!) so it gave the Stapleton-Coulter Family an opportunity to get things done that we have been putting off. Mainly, getting Nicholas’s hair cut for the first time.

Yes, yes, I know he’ll be two years old in two weeks, but if you’ve ever seen his beautiful cherubic curls, you would understand my reluctance to get them snipped. I also realize that his hair was getting so long he was getting both dreadlocks and mistaken for a girl (I don’t know what’s worse), but still, I waited to do the deed.

Andrew, it should be noted, had the same type of beautiful curly hair, but because he was my first and I was eager for him to experience his first milestones as quickly as possible, we had his cut at 19 months. I think the difference this time around is that because Nicholas is my baby and we don’t plan to have any more children, I’m happy to extend his babyhood for as long as possible.

On Saturday morning, I screwed up my courage and called Trotters, the ever-so-posh children’s clothing/shoe/toy store in Chelsea that also does children’s haircuts. We don’t venture into SW3 very often, but this store makes a big deal out of a first haircut, and Andrew had his done there too, so we decided to return. SW3, the former home of Sir Isaac Newton, Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde, is just too posh, beautiful and lovely for words. Years from now, if anyone asks either of my sons where they had their first haircut, they can say with pride, “In Chelsea!”

I think Nicholas was as reluctant to get his hair cut as I was to see it done. When the hairdresser asked how much she should take off, I said, “Keep the Curls” as if it were a war cry.

Nicholas really doesn’t like people touching his curls—it usually makes him cry. “Don’t touch my Mojo!” is what we think he would like to say, if he could talk. Saturday proved to be no exception. As soon as the hairdresser started to work, Nicholas started to cry and kept covering his hair with his hands. I tried to hand him snacks to keep his hands busy, but he wasn’t going for it. Finally, the deed was done and it looked great. He still had his curls, but no one would mistake him for a girl—at least for now.

Meanwhile, Andrew kept himself amused during the haircut by browsing around the shop. For weeks, he’s been asking if he could get Geox shoes. I had no earthly idea what Geox shoes are, but Geox must advertise on Nick Jr. Andrew tells me, “They’re the shoes that breathe.” [I know all the parenting books say you shouldn’t use TV as a babysitter, but I use the time the boys are entertained by TV to do really exciting things—like make Andrew’s lunch or take a shower]. “Can I look for Geox shoes, Mom?” Andrew asked. “Sure,” I said, never thinking he’d find them.

But sure enough, the store stocked them. Disappointingly for Andrew, though, they didn’t have his size in any of Geox shoes they carried. When some other children overheard Andrew’s request, they said to their parents, “I want Geox shoes too!” (I guess they also watch Nick Jr.) Tim and I picked out some other shoes that we thought were just as cool, but Andrew would sigh and say, “But do they breathe?” When we’d say no, he’d put the pair back on the shelf.

We went to three other shoe stores and we could not find the elusive Geox shoes. The next day we decided to make Andrew’s need for Geox shoes our mission, so we went Geox’s only store in central London. Alas, they didn’t have his size either. At this point, I lost whatever maternal patience sent me on this quest and we went to Selfridges—a department store—to find Andrew a new pair of shoes.

While Selfridges didn’t have Geox shoes either, we found a pair that looked nearly identical. Having learned our lesson the hard way, when Andrew asked, “Do these shoes breathe?” We said, “Of course!” Andrew is now running around in a cool new pair of shoes, though they are not Geox.

Parental duplicity is a beautiful thing.

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