Last year at around this time, Michael (who was almost 10) decided that he wanted to grow his hair long. Personally, I don’t have a problem with boys who have long hair. If this is the only thing that he does to his appearance, I will be lucky! My only rule was that his hair had to be neat and clean.
Why Michael wanted long hair is a mystery. He decided he wanted to grow his hair long after we saw Grant Harris of Breathe Electric at Van’s Warped Tour in Denver (you can find Breathe Electric at http://www.myspace.com/breatheelectric). So maybe that was the reason. Or maybe it was because a number of Colorado Rapids players have long hair. As Michael puts it, “you’ll never know.”
Michael has beautiful hair. It is somewhat thin, but he has lots of it. The coloring, well as someone who wished for blond hair as a kid, is something that many people spend lots of money to have done regularly. However, keeping his hair neat and clean has been an issue. He doesn’t condition it well and combing and brushing it was difficult because of all the knots. It has only gotten worse this summer. And it was long. In fact, I’ve been growing my hair out and Michael’s was longer than mine.
Today I had it with Michael’s hair. He had an indoor soccer game and needed to be at the field at 12:45. At 11:00 I told Michael he had to get in the shower and wash his hair because it was a mess. He also needed to get his uniform on and get something to eat before his game. At 11:30 I reminded Michael that he had an hour until we left. Then, I got in the shower. By the time I got out, Michael was in. He claims he washed (and conditioned his hair), but it was a rat’s nest when I tried to comb it out for him at 12:10. Combing out Michael’s hair is a chore that often ends with him angry with me. Even with leave-in conditioner, the tangles are stuck in tight. No matter how gently I try to comb them out, I end up pulling his hair. He gets angry and we fight. Not a whole lot of fun.
With us having to leave in 15 minutes, I decided that he needed to get back in the tub so I could wash and condition his hair and then comb it out. Overall, he did pretty well. We got it combed out and he put on his shin guards, socks and cleats in the car. While we were driving to the field, I told Michael that I was done with his hair. He needed to choose and either he would learn to take care of it and do so without an argument, or he could get his hair cut. It was his decision, although if he didn’t start taking care of it, I would decide and he would get it cut. Michael decided that he was going to get it cut. He wanted to go after his soccer game so that he could get it over with. I had no problem with that.
Michael is playing soccer on a recreational co-ed 5th/6th grade team. They don’t practice for indoor soccer and play games every Saturday for 8 weeks. Indoor soccer is a fast paced game and often quite exciting even though the kids are still learning. Michael, who will be starting 5th grade in a few weeks, is really showing a lot of improvement in his skills. He’s always had good ball sense, but he is getting everything together. Two weeks ago he scored his first goal in this league (he didn’t score any goals when he played 3rd/4th and we played him up so he has played 5th/6th for a year already). Of course, we want to encourage Michael’s awesome offense and I told him that he could have frozen yogurt if he scored a goal today and $10 if he scored two. And I didn’t lose my train of thought – this does relate to Michael’s hair. Keep reading.
Michael scored a goal in today’s game. And after he assists or scores a goal, he does the professional soccer player victory run. Imagine his arms up like a “V” and his long blond hair flying behind him. Then he runs at his closest teammate and gives them a “high 5.” I think that he has this part down pat. One of the other parents then said, “Michael scored a goal and now all that is left is him getting his hair cut.” I’m not really sure what the two have to do with each other but he was shocked when I told him that we were going after the game. The other parent asked if I was making Michael get his hair cut. No, I explained, it was Michael’s choice. He was somewhat disappointed, as Michael’s hair made him look like the ultimate soccer player.
Now, even with Michael’s hair being down to his shoulder blades, he has not really been mistaken for a girl. Maybe 1-2 times over the past year. Today, of all days, just before getting his hair cut, he was called a girl three times. The first time was when he was getting a drink at Subway. An older lady was confused and couldn’t find the water button at the soda machine and he helped. She stopped me on her way out and asked me if “that was my daughter.” Then at the salon, an older man asked about it being a special occasion for her (meaning Michael). And finally, an elderly lady at the salon asked if “she was always like that when getting her hair cut.”
Michael didn’t get a buzz cut, but it is really short. He looks very handsome and I love his haircut. Honestly, though I’m going to miss combing out his hair and playing with it. But don’t tell Michael.