Yesterday evening, Rowan and I were engaging in the wrestling match fondly known in our house as “helping him put on his pajamas.” He is perfectly capable of putting on his pajamas all by himself, and yet, there I was, “helping.” Whom, I’m not sure, given that a more appropriate parenting strategy might have been to cheerfully but firmly request that he put them on, and then leave rather than stick around to oversee things. It’s just that it’s kind of fun to forcibly slide one pajama leg on a squirming, laughing child even as he manages to shimmy his way out of the other leg approximately infinity times. It’s good exercise, too. And when I get tired of wrestling, I collapse in a heap on top of him and pretend to fall asleep while he shrieks with joy for me to wake up. As we used to say at summer camp, it’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye. So I’m lying there, “asleep” on top of my five-year-old when I notice something odd about his head. Like a huge bald patch. Or two.

“What happened to your head?” I say, bolting upright.

“Oh. I cut my hair.” He is completely nonplussed about the fact that it looks like beavers have knawed away at his skull.


“Just now. In the bathroom.”

He had seemed to take an extraordinarily long time in there. My gut response is to get mad, but, fortunately the little voices of reason that occasionally rent out space in my head win out: It’s only hair. It will grow. No one got hurt. Instead of saying something ridiculous, I have a peek in the bathroom. And this is what I find:

Hair is also all over the floor, and all over the toilet seat. “I tried to put it in the toilet, but it fell,” says Rowan.

“I see,” I say, pocketing the scissors. And all I can think of to say after that is, “Could you please put on your pajamas now?”

“Okay,” he says, and does.