When I walked into the barbershop carrying my 2-year-old son, X, the barber, looked at us and smiled.
“I see you’re finally bringing him in for a cut,” said George, the barber. On a few occasions, when I was traveling for work, my wife, KayEm, took the boys to the barbershop for haircuts. Each time, George would inquire about cutting X’s hair. She would always tell him that X would get a haircut when his daddy brought him.
I nearly didn’t bring him this time because he was having a tantrum when I arrived home from work.
“He’s been a nightmare all day,” explained my wife. I was not in the mood to deal with a cranky toddler and I didn’t want to subject George to this behavior either. However, the thought of my having to give him a haircut motivated me to load him in the minivan.
I began to reconsider my decision as I listened to X scream in the backseat. About one mile from the barbershop, the crying stopped. I looked in the rear view mirror to find X sound asleep. Of course I had a new quandary – do I turn around and go back home or do I wake the baby and subject the entire barbershop to his crankiness?
Obviously, I decided to wake him up. Surprisingly, the few minutes of sleep worked wonders. His mood was much improved when we entered the barbershop.
The shop was buzzing with football chatter (X loves football BTW). Everyone was discussing a phenomenal backfield tackle by the Baltimore Raven’s linebacker, Ray Lewis. X grunted as if he were trying to contribute to the discussion. While we waited, I prepped X for his first trip to the barber chair.
“Are you ready for a haircut?” I asked.
“No!” he answered.
I reached into my pocket, pulled out a lollipop, and waved it in front of his face. “Do you want a lollipop?”
“Yes!” he said trying to snatch it from my hand.
“You can have it when you are getting your haircut,” I said as I jerked the candy away. He nodded his head as if to say okay.
After about twenty minutes, it was X’s turn in the big chair. I placed him in the seat and handed him the lollipop after George had draped the cape around him.
“Give me a high five,” George requested. X complied with a big hand slap.
X was perfectly content during the haircut. The only time he got upset was when he discovered his lollipop was covered with hair. Even then, he just whimpered for a moment and stuck the hairy lollipop back in his mouth.
I was proud of the little man. I was even happier that I was able to experience this rite of passage with my son.
Question: What rites of passage have you shared with your children?