A Toddler’s First (Professional) Haircut

photoWhen 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.

Stay Strong,

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Question: What rites of passage have you shared with your children?

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About the author
Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at fjgoodall@mochadad.com or on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mochadad
  1. How adorable! My two year old prefers going to the barbershop with his dad over the salon with me any day!

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment on my Wordless Wednesday post. I appreciate it!

  2. How adorable! My two year old prefers going to the barbershop with his dad over the salon with me any day!

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment on my Wordless Wednesday post. I appreciate it!

  3. From before my son was born, the wife would say that I was responsible for his hair. But then when he turned 1, his hair took off. It had curls and the wife thought it was the cutest thing ever. She wouldn’t cut it. Then it just got out of control, it was just crazy when we went to church or dressed up. We had a reunion coming up and I said he needed it cut. I couldn’t go with him that day, but he looked like a new kid.

    I took him about a month ago, and the lady put the cape on backwards, I had to tell her it was on the wrong way. I was getting scared about this event. 2 suckers later, he had a pretty sweet haircut.

  4. From before my son was born, the wife would say that I was responsible for his hair. But then when he turned 1, his hair took off. It had curls and the wife thought it was the cutest thing ever. She wouldn’t cut it. Then it just got out of control, it was just crazy when we went to church or dressed up. We had a reunion coming up and I said he needed it cut. I couldn’t go with him that day, but he looked like a new kid.

    I took him about a month ago, and the lady put the cape on backwards, I had to tell her it was on the wrong way. I was getting scared about this event. 2 suckers later, he had a pretty sweet haircut.

  5. Sweet! I took my son when he was 14 months old. I took him to my uncle’s shop back home in Memphis. He did a great job. It was emotional to witness it all…and in my uncle’s shop on top of that. It was a big deal for our whole family. Here’s the pic that I took of them both and is now hanging on his shop wall. Something so special about boys and their first haircuts. :) Pic: http://bit.ly/KZgI7

  6. Sweet! I took my son when he was 14 months old. I took him to my uncle’s shop back home in Memphis. He did a great job. It was emotional to witness it all…and in my uncle’s shop on top of that. It was a big deal for our whole family. Here’s the pic that I took of them both and is now hanging on his shop wall. Something so special about boys and their first haircuts. :) Pic: http://bit.ly/KZgI7

  7. First time poster…

    Aww, X is a cutie and reminds me of my son. Now almost 5, he’s been going to the barber for a couple of years now and he LOVES it. It’s the only time that he’ll remain motionless for more than 5 minutes. He’s just so into what the barber’s doing to his hair, which “design lines” will get etched, and the fun brush that the barber uses at the end :-)

    While I’ve asked my partner to change shops (the owner of the first one would not reign in the foul-language coming from his employees), the general barbershop experience is wonderful time for Daddies to spend with their sons.

    You’ve been in my feed reader for about a week now (sorry, don’t remember who put me on to you) and you’ve got a good thing going here. Keep having fun with your family, MochaDad.

  8. First time poster…

    Aww, X is a cutie and reminds me of my son. Now almost 5, he’s been going to the barber for a couple of years now and he LOVES it. It’s the only time that he’ll remain motionless for more than 5 minutes. He’s just so into what the barber’s doing to his hair, which “design lines” will get etched, and the fun brush that the barber uses at the end :-)

    While I’ve asked my partner to change shops (the owner of the first one would not reign in the foul-language coming from his employees), the general barbershop experience is wonderful time for Daddies to spend with their sons.

    You’ve been in my feed reader for about a week now (sorry, don’t remember who put me on to you) and you’ve got a good thing going here. Keep having fun with your family, MochaDad.

  9. I (white mom) have taken my (black) son to the barber shop for haircuts.. it is always an interesting experience. I used to go to the white barber shop with my dad when I was a kid and watch him get his hair cut; it’s totally not the same thing at all. Both enjoyable in different ways, just different experiences. My little man used to get so relaxed in the chair he’d fall asleep sometimes, and I’d end up having to hold his head while they did the edging.

    Now for the most part I make Daddy take him to the barber shop, because I’ve got enough to do with 2 daughters with locs and one with braids. Plus, I just think it should be a father/son time.

  10. I (white mom) have taken my (black) son to the barber shop for haircuts.. it is always an interesting experience. I used to go to the white barber shop with my dad when I was a kid and watch him get his hair cut; it’s totally not the same thing at all. Both enjoyable in different ways, just different experiences. My little man used to get so relaxed in the chair he’d fall asleep sometimes, and I’d end up having to hold his head while they did the edging.

    Now for the most part I make Daddy take him to the barber shop, because I’ve got enough to do with 2 daughters with locs and one with braids. Plus, I just think it should be a father/son time.

  11. The barber shop is a good manly place. We have decided to give our son a haircut for his first birthday or thereabouts. He has a pretty good shag covering his ears.

  12. The barber shop is a good manly place. We have decided to give our son a haircut for his first birthday or thereabouts. He has a pretty good shag covering his ears.

  13. Sounds like a good time, minus the crankiness. When I got back from California my son gave me a high five, I was so proud. He looked at me, said ‘five’ as clear as day, and slapped my hand. He was so proud of himself that he wanted a fist bump after.

  14. Sounds like a good time, minus the crankiness. When I got back from California my son gave me a high five, I was so proud. He looked at me, said ‘five’ as clear as day, and slapped my hand. He was so proud of himself that he wanted a fist bump after.

  15. my mom used to always cut my son’s hair while he was growing up, then took him to haircut place when he got a little older. then he used to cut his hair himself which he did a darn good job, too. now he just goes to a haircut place again lol as for me & the girls, we are kind of sad…we don’t get our hair cut often enough lol btw….ewww to the hairy lollipop lol

  16. my mom used to always cut my son’s hair while he was growing up, then took him to haircut place when he got a little older. then he used to cut his hair himself which he did a darn good job, too. now he just goes to a haircut place again lol as for me & the girls, we are kind of sad…we don’t get our hair cut often enough lol btw….ewww to the hairy lollipop lol

  17. He looks so tiny sitting there in the chair! You’ve got an easy child if a short nap was enough for a change to a sunnier disposition…Even hair on the lollipop wasn’t a big deal :D Hope you took lots of photos and saved a strand of hair for the baby book…

  18. He looks so tiny sitting there in the chair! You’ve got an easy child if a short nap was enough for a change to a sunnier disposition…Even hair on the lollipop wasn’t a big deal :D Hope you took lots of photos and saved a strand of hair for the baby book…

  19. He’s adorable! Sorry, just had to get that girly little exclamation out of the way. Nothing works like bribery to calm a toddler :-)

  20. He’s adorable! Sorry, just had to get that girly little exclamation out of the way. Nothing works like bribery to calm a toddler :-)

  21. I recently took my kids for their first barber shop visit too. For a long time I cut their hair myself (a high and tight is really easy) but I thought they needed the experience of a barber shop. It’s just one of those manly sorts of things. I agree, it’s a father son sort of bonding thing. Don’t know why, but it is. Cool

  22. I recently took my kids for their first barber shop visit too. For a long time I cut their hair myself (a high and tight is really easy) but I thought they needed the experience of a barber shop. It’s just one of those manly sorts of things. I agree, it’s a father son sort of bonding thing. Don’t know why, but it is. Cool

  23. Lollipops are no joke. I had to take my girls to get led testing done and the technician couldn’t “find” a vein on my 2 year-old. She tried several times and I had the honor of holding the child down. Luckily I thought to pick up lollipops before the trip. She whimpered, but only as much as a mouth full of lollipop would allow.

  24. Lollipops are no joke. I had to take my girls to get led testing done and the technician couldn’t “find” a vein on my 2 year-old. She tried several times and I had the honor of holding the child down. Luckily I thought to pick up lollipops before the trip. She whimpered, but only as much as a mouth full of lollipop would allow.

  25. Very sweet.

    I’m too afraid to bring my two year old in for a haircut even though she desperately needs one. I think I have flashbacks of her brother screaming at the top of his lungs when we brought him in for a haircut which is why I haven’t brought her in yet…

  26. Very sweet.

    I’m too afraid to bring my two year old in for a haircut even though she desperately needs one. I think I have flashbacks of her brother screaming at the top of his lungs when we brought him in for a haircut which is why I haven’t brought her in yet…

  27. How cool that he behaved so well during the cut. Most kids will flail and freak out! My six year is finally copacetic about getting a hair cut.

  28. How cool that he behaved so well during the cut. Most kids will flail and freak out! My six year is finally copacetic about getting a hair cut.

  29. Awwww. I remember when my son got his very first hair cut, then his very first barber cut. He’s now 17, and growing dread locks. Time has flown by so fast! Some times, and I do mean some times, I wish my children were toddlers again. (Sigh)

    Enjoy this time.

  30. Awwww. I remember when my son got his very first hair cut, then his very first barber cut. He’s now 17, and growing dread locks. Time has flown by so fast! Some times, and I do mean some times, I wish my children were toddlers again. (Sigh)

    Enjoy this time.

  31. There’s a sweet children’s book about a young Black boy’s first haircut – Bippity Bop Barbershop by natash Anastasia Tarpley (Little, Brown publishers – hdcover 2002, paperback 2009). Recommended for ages 3-6.

  32. There’s a sweet children’s book about a young Black boy’s first haircut – Bippity Bop Barbershop by natash Anastasia Tarpley (Little, Brown publishers – hdcover 2002, paperback 2009). Recommended for ages 3-6.

  33. Hi! I’m here because BoredMommy tweeted about your donation help domestic violence victims with each comment. I was going to pick the actual domestic violence entry to comment on and say how great I think it is that your doing this, but I saw this entry and had to comment on it because I just gave my 9 month old his first haircut and It Is A Disaster! OMGosh. Serious. Anywho… good thing taking your son to a barber. And it’s a great bonding experience too. :) He’s adorable.

    I’m going to tweet about your donation too!

    ~Adriane

  34. Hi! I’m here because BoredMommy tweeted about your donation help domestic violence victims with each comment. I was going to pick the actual domestic violence entry to comment on and say how great I think it is that your doing this, but I saw this entry and had to comment on it because I just gave my 9 month old his first haircut and It Is A Disaster! OMGosh. Serious. Anywho… good thing taking your son to a barber. And it’s a great bonding experience too. :) He’s adorable.

    I’m going to tweet about your donation too!

    ~Adriane