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The Upsherin

Big Boy HaircutI haven’t been ready for Simon to get his hair cut. Even as everyone all around me made it loud and clear that his bangs were too long and that he had far too much flowing hair in the back, I’ve been holding out for unshorn locks.

“He’s a baby,” I’d think and sometimes say. “He doesn’t need a hair-cut yet. He’s got his whole life to be shorn in the back; right now he can have long, soft baby hair and be natural and beautiful.”

Except we are going to be seeing some old friends soon, and the hair was really bothering Matt. And we went to a special Kiddush luncheon for my Aunt Anita’s 70th birthday party yesterday (Happy birthday, Aunt Anita!), and saw tons of family there, too, including some I hadn’t seen for a decade. Many commented on Simon’s hair. About two-thirds flipped the back of his hair and said something like “Boy, he’s ready for his first hair-cut, isn’t he?” adding fuel to Matt’s shear enthusiasm.

My cousin Mark seemed to know where I was coming from, though. “Three years,” he said repeatedly. “Cut his hair when he’s three.”

It’s a Jewish thing, specifically an Orthodox Jewish thing, which I am most certainly not but grew up adjacent to. Baby boys get their first hair cuts at three, not a day before, and their side-locks are left untouched. This first cut is called an upsherin, and I was vaguely and subconsciously holding out for one.

Specifically, it was the three years of unshorn hair I was longing for. My nephew Nathan had the most glorious golden curls you can imagine as a baby and toddler. His parents kept it long for a very long time, so he was allowed to run around with a wild leonine mane for at least two or three years. When he eventually got his big-boy cut, he looked extremely handsome and everyone was pleased. But I at least mourned the end of the cherubic hair and the innocent era it seemed to represent.

Simon’s hair is nothing like Nathan’s, though. It’s a pretty golden brown, but it’s very thin and has no curl. So he was never going to have wild-child hair, and Matt and I simply don’t have the credentials to have our son pull off long, rocker hair like certain celebrity parents do.

So I finally agreed to a trim last night. I just wanted a tad off the front, enough to keep his bangs out of his eyes but no more, and a little off the back…. as little as Matt would let me get away with. Well, Simon went ballistic, and it was a pretty ugly scene. We had to forcefully restrain him, and he cried like mad. At one point, he reared his head mid-cut, and a section of bang ended up being shorter than I would have wanted and shorter than the rest, thus mandating the dreaded “evening up” maneuver.

Once we got the bangs evened out, it meant the back could no longer be long and flowing. We had to take it in tight, and it now follows the contours of his head. I held firm at not using clippers, but my little boy is currently sporting a total “little man” haircut. In fact, my father-in-law even called it that last night.

You can see my little man in all his glory at right. I’m still in a bit of shock over the whole thing, but I can at least admit that he does look awfully handsome with his new, echem, “older baby” do.

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