So I picked up Rowan from his babysitter on Tuesday, quietly buckled him in to the car, and casually started driving in the opposite direction than we usually go.

“Hey!” said Rowan. “Where are we going? Are we going to the barber?”

“Why, yes,” I said. And then, before he could say anything else, I added, “And then we’re going to the ice cream store!”

Still, he protested. But he got out of the car, helped me put money in the meter, and walked into Sam the Barber’s shop — the real deal, a one-room, one-chair establishment complete with stripey pole outside and a wood stove to keep warm in the winter. The chair is so old that it has an ashtray built into it. Things are held together with duct tape. Sam is a nice old Italian man with infinite patience. Rowan saw him and flipped. Tears, kicking, wailing, flailing, snot, running out of the building, the whole bit. “I don’t want to go to the barber,” he repeated. “I don’t want ice cream!”

Still, I managed to wedge him into the chair as Sam turned the TV to Treehouse — and, miracle of miracles, Go Diego, Go! was on. Rowan almost immediately sank into a television-induced coma (complete with drooling), and Sam went to work with the scissors. When he was done, we had to stay and finish watching Diego and his cousin Alicia rescue the pygmy marmosets.

And then we went to the ice cream store, where Rowan got a twisty cone and I got to look at his new hair.

“Hey Rowan,” I said, “that wasn’t too bad, was it?”

“No,” he said, carefully licking his cone, “that was good.”