Hairstyle of the gods

So, Rachel and I kind of made this pact not to cut Isaac’s hair. No particular reason, just an effort to preserve his strawberry blond babyhood a few moments more, let him get all ringletty and wild.

Fortunately, our pact contained a clause that stipulated that, in the event that the baby began to develop a mullet, I was free to take out the scissors and even things up a bit. At least, that’s what I thought we agreed.

And so one day last week, when I decided that Isaac was starting to look just a tiny bit like Carol Brady, I sat him up on the bathroom counter and got out the scissors. I thought I did a pretty good job, all things considered. (The things considered would include the fact that Isaac tried to look at the scissors every time he caught a glimpse of them in his peripheral vision. I’m thankful that he still has peripheral vision.) In any case, my technique has certainly improved since Rowan’s first haircut, when one of our friends witnessed the clear-cut that was the nape of his neck and stage-whispered to him, “Don’t ever let your mommy do that to you again.”

Rachel wasn’t so sure. “He doesn’t look like a pretty little girl any more,” she wailed, when I brought our smiling little newly shorn lamb downstairs. For about a day afterwards, she moaned every time she saw Isaac and his big-boy ’do.

What the haircut made abundantly clear, though, is that Isaac, like me, is probably doomed to a life of difficulty finding hats that fit. He has what is known in the millinery industry as an “elongated oval,” which, loosely translated, means he has a big, weird, alien-shaped head. It’s a family curse: my dad recalls having to buy a fedora (to go with all those three-piece suits) when he was hired at IBM in the 1960s. The hat maker charged him $60 — probably something like his weekly take-home pay — for a custom-made number, because nothing in the store fit. I maintain the elongated oval is storing all that extra brainpower that makes us so smart.

As for Rowan, any day now I'm going to take him into the barber and erase the mop-topped evidence of the last summer of his life before entering the school system. Part of me hates to do it, sees it as the symbolic curtailing of all his freedom and creativity.

Part of me can’t wait.