8 tips for your child’s first salon haircut

7 tips to prepare your child for their first salon haircut
My toddler’s head was covered with wavy locks, so that for the longest time we got away without cutting his hair at all. His hair would simply curl in neat waves across his head, and any that would fall over his eyes could easily be brushed to the side. Even when his hair grew longer, we snipped the hair off ourselves, figuring that any uneven cuts could be disguised with his wild, curly hair.

After a while though, his hair continued to grow, so much so that even our at-home haircuts were starting to show considerable unevenness (in all fairness, we’re the least-talented people when it comes to hair cutting). It was time to visit the salon.

As with any new experience, especially one that can feel invasive, we did our best to prepare him for his first salon haircut:

1. Explain what he can expect.
We knew where and how the salon looked, so we described what he could expect when he walks in. We talked about the chairs, how the stylist will likely cover him with a cape and how they’ll snip his hair to keep it out of his face.

2. Pick a good time of the day.
With a kid that loves to eat, we made plenty sure that his tummy stayed full. We wanted to eliminate as many obstacles that might make him cranky.

3. Have mom or dad get a haircut at the same time.
My husband got a haircut simultaneously so that our toddler could go through the same experience and not feel completely alone.

4. Pick a salon with plenty of distractions.
With most young kids, anything new is a distraction, but it still helped to pick a salon where my toddler was able to see a ton of posters on the walls and was even able to swing some of the empty chairs around and around.

5. Plan to bathe the little one after.
Nothing worse than having snippets of hair hanging around the neck, face and ears, so to keep him comfortable, we went home right after and gave him a mid-day bath.

6. Ask for someone with experience with kids.
We lucked out because the lady who cut his hair was a natural around kids, in a not-so-contrived way. She seemed to have a knack with making my toddler feel comfortable and even mentioned that she often cuts her toddler-nephew’s hair, giving her some tricks to ease the process.

7. Have him sit on your lap.
The little guy wanted nothing to do with the booster chair, but when we told him he could sit on my lap, he obliged. I wore my own cape, and he sat on me wearing his own cape. I ended up with some bits of hair on me, but sometimes that extra comfort is all that it takes.

8. Focus on a positive experience instead of a neat hair cut.
While the stylist could have busted out her clippers, we opted to save that for another time since they can potentially scare young kids. Even though my toddler had a clean haircut, she could have cleaned it up a bit more but we wanted to keep the experience a positive one, aka no scary buzzing!

After the kiddo was done with his haircut, he entertained himself swiveling around the empty chairs and waiting for his dad to finish his own cut. We praised him for having sat through his first haircut and spent the remainder of the day in a fun atmosphere.

What steps did you take to prepare your child for their first salon haircut?

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Stop comparing your kid to others

Don't compare your kid to others
I jinxed myself, again. Just as I was writing about how my toddler’s tantrums don’t seem as terrible as in the past, he threw an all-out, can’t-catch-my-breath tantrum in what should have been a fun Saturday at a children’s birthday party. We had to listen to him cry the whole ride home—through traffic, of course—before he eventually calmed down.

All the while, I couldn’t help but think back to the birthday party where I saw his two-year-old cousin (the birthday celebrant) laughing with the family, sharing his toys and accepting gifts from his guests like a gracious host. And here was my toddler, ready to cry if I even so much as got up to grab a cup of water. And sadly I couldn’t help but compare their two very different dispositions.

The close proximity in their ages don’t make comparisons any easier. Only seven months apart, comparisons are bound to happen, whether one likes to dance, the other likes to fiddle with gadgets, and who got their teeth/started to walk/ate solids at what age.

If seven months seem short, one of my friends has a son who is just two weeks younger than my toddler, so you can imagine the comparisons running through my head: “How come LO isn’t into cars and bikes like L?” “L can already jump and is potty trained.” And so forth.

It’s so easy to compare. We compare whether our kids are into the same hobbies as others, what skills other kids have mastered that ours still haven’t (and vice versa), and we even compare their personalities. When I find myself comparing my little guy to others, I remind myself not to do so in a way that would make me doubt his own pace and abilities, because:

  • Every child has his own interests: Just as we adults have our own hobbies and pastimes, so do our kids. Children differ in their interests and will therefore expend effort on those that they enjoy.
  • Every child has his own skills: It’s so easy to forget our kids’ own amazing skills when we compare their shortcomings to others.
  • Every child has his own personality: While I absolutely love my toddler’s personality—his inquisitiveness, quick mind, humor and playfulness—one of the issues I grapple with is his fiery (and loud) temperament. Accepting kids for who they are rather than comparing their temperaments is key.
  • Every child develops at his own pace: While my toddler started walking early at 10 months, he was 21 months before he finally spoke his first words. As SSBE reader Tragic Sandwich wrote in a comment a few weeks ago:

There is a really wide range of normal, and all the weird stuff your baby is going to do fits right in the middle of that range.

Rather than comparing kids only to feel like we’ve failed, maybe we can use comparisons as a way to introduce new skills and interests. For instance, I recently read on a blog about a mom who showed her toddler how to slice a banana. I had never considered this skill, but rather than pressuring my toddler to slice every bunch of banana or worry whether he’s set back because he has yet to slice his own food, I found a plastic knife and showed him how fun slicing one of his favorite fruits can be.

I took the same approach when I heard that one of his playmates can remove his own shoes. Rather than sulk about my toddler’s inability to do the same or push him to perfect this skill in a day, I gradually introduced and practiced with him on how to remove his shoes. So yes, we can notice what other kids are doing and even introduce some of those skills to our kids, but try not to worry or fuss if they don’t catch on right away or have no interest.

Even though my toddler threw a tantrum in front of my husband’s family while his little cousin smiled sweetly and happily, I also have to assume that every parent, no matter the child’s temperament, has dealt with his or her own versions of the worst-tantrum-ever. In the moment, tantrums are embarrassing and draining, but in hindsight, I’m willing to bet that even my toddler’s sweet cousin has had his terrible days as well.

And even if his cousin’s tantrums are nowhere near the caliber my little guy can throw, accepting my toddler for everything that he is will serve us much better and lead to fewer comparisons. Tantrums are terrible, but I can’t imagine trading my toddler’s personality for anyone else.

And his shoes? He can now remove them all on his own.

How do you keep yourself from comparing your kids to others? Have you used comparisons in a positive way, e.g. as a way to introduce new skills?

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Why older kids aren’t always easier

Why older kids aren't always easier
How many times have you been frustrated with your kid and said to yourself, “If only he was a little older”?
I remember wondering during the early days just when exactly this parenting thing gets easier. “Three months—that’s when they’re finished with the fourth trimester,” I often heard. “Life starts to feel normal again at about one-year-old,” a coworker said. And to my horror, my brother responded, “Definitely not until three-years-old—that’s when it’s really easy.”

Three years old?! I have to wait for my little guy to reach three-years-old before I can resume my life again?

As my baby eventually grew and reached those supposedly easier milestones, I still found myself saying, “If only he were a little bit older, we wouldn’t have this problem.” Whether it was having to cradle his head in the first few months before he could hold it up on its own, I thought, “If he was three or four months old, I would have a free hand when carrying him.” When he still had to be carried in a car seat to and from the car, I wished, “If only he could walk, I wouldn’t have to carry all these heavy bags plus the car seat.”

And my recent wishing on a star: “If only he were four-years-old, he wouldn’t be throwing these tantrums.” (All you parents with four-year-olds, please let me live blissfully in ignorance for the time being).

Before I come off as a whiny, ungrateful mom, I’m willing to defend myself and assert that this wishful thinking isn’t completely abnormal. For instance:

  • It’s true. Almost everything I wish for comes true—my toddler’s ability to walk on his own has tremendously made transporting him so much easier. And not having to cradle an infant’s head gave me an extra free hand.
  • It’s frustrating. If there’s any job out there that ought to have the freedom to vent as often and as much as they want, it’s parenting. You can’t help but feel for the mom who longs for the day when her kid is finally talking or doesn’t need his food pureed to a pulp.

Even with all those reasons to wish for the day when our kids are older, parenting also doesn’t get easier. Sometimes I forget this, considering that I envy my sister for the ability take a nap whenever she want to because her teenage son doesn’t exactly need his mama to watch over him anymore. But I remind myself that wishing for my toddler to grow up—while absolutely normal—doesn’t solve everything:

  • New problems always arise. When my little guy was a baby, I knew tantrums loomed nearby, but when he’s waking up four times a night and cries every second he’s in the car seat, tantrums seemed eons away, and really, are they that bad compared to my current situation? Unfortunately, age doesn’t erase problems, so much so that as I sit here whining about tantrums, I realize I still don’t have to deal with how he’ll make friends at school or what shenanigans he’ll get into as a teenager.
  • Wishing for the future can take away from relishing in the moment. As much as I complain about whatever current demise I may have, I try to think about something I love about my toddler that’s specific to his age and stage. For instance, during one of the nights when we were still waking up multiple times to feed him, I held him up to burp and delighted in his smallness, wrapped up in his little swaddle, as he lay on my shoulder like a little blob.

When all I can think about is when my toddler finally turns 5, 12 or 18, I turn to these methods to keep me grounded:

  • Find ways to alleviate the problem. Whenever a parenting challenging presents itself, I do my research, talk to my husband, and try to find solutions so that I won’t be so inundated with too many burdens. For instance, when my toddler threw a fiasco and hysterically tried to flee the bathtub, we tried to find different ways to goad him back into the water.
  • Relish the moment. Maybe savoring a tantrum isn’t exactly the most pleasant experience, but perhaps we can try to appreciate other, less-stressful aspects of our kids that will likely disappear in a blink. When my toddler was still speaking with incorrect grammar, I tried to remember how cute he was when he says “to going grandma’s house.”
  • Reminisce with old photos. Nothing makes you go, “Awww…!” more than a cute photo of your kid from a few months ago. When I look through my toddler’s photos, all of those supposedly terrible experiences I experienced with him at that age melted away with that chubby smile or not-so-there hair. I realize how quickly time passes and how much he grows.
  • Try to remember those past terrible experiences. When I try to recall how difficult the first year with my infant was, I admit that I can’t think of too many, despite my claims that they were the most challenging months. While bad days seem like the worst at the moment, given some time, their arduousness tends to fade away. Selective memory, anyone?
  • Accept that it’s difficult. Sometimes simply accepting the ensuing stress is enough to put me at ease. Rather than wish for better times or deny the difficulty I face, I tell myself that this is how it is right now. I can only change what I can, and unfortunately kids’ behavioral development has its own agenda very different from mine.

Yesterday was an “If only he was older…” day. My toddler complained about every little thing. He wouldn’t even let me clip his fingernails, something he has never given me trouble for. But today… today was one of those days where my heart was bursting. My toddler was the perfect kid: happy, compliant, thoughtful, generous. And at the day’s end, I took a mental picture of all that transpired, so that when that “other” day rolls around, I’ll know that my toddler isn’t always so challenging, and that he’s perfectly fine at two-and-a-half years old.

When have you found yourself wishing “If only my child was a little bit older…”? Have you noticed whether your child’s current age is easier or just as difficult as the past?

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My toddler peed in the potty! And I had no idea how to clean it up.

My toddler peed in the potty! And I had no idea how to clean it up.
Let me preface this post by saying that we are not actively potty-training our toddler. We’ve introduced the potty (both kinds!) and have gone as far as having him sit on it without a diaper, but we haven’t been stringent with any training.

So yesterday morning, my toddler calls out, “Caca!” which he usually says after he’s pooped in his diapers. “Okay, let’s get you changed on the  changing station,” I replied.

But after unstrapping his diaper, I found that it was still empty. He had been a bit constipated so I think him calling out “caca” was his attempt at pooping it out. Either way, I said, “You don’t have caca yet; do you want to sit on the potty and see if you can poop it out there?”

As usual, he obliged, because he seems to actually enjoy sitting on the potty, even reading for several minutes. I sat him down and said, “I’ll bring you more books.” But when I came back, I noticed that he had peed in his potty for the very first time! I praised him for having gone pee pee and had him stand up so he can see his pee in the potty.

Then… I didn’t know how to clean the potty. I told my husband the story later that night and he said, “Well, you did flush it down the toilet, right?”

“Of course,” I lied immediately. Actually my first thought was to rinse it out in the sink and thought, “No, that’s gross.” But apparently I thought a less-gross way to clean the potty was to dump the pee down the bathtub and rinse it there. Which is what I unfortunately did.

For all the times we’ve had our toddler sit on the potty, I had never considered the day when he might actually have a successful bowel movement. Thankfully it was just pee and not poop because who knows what bungled up idea I would have come up with on how to clean his potty.

After I rinsed the potty and got my toddler all diapered again, the first thing I did was jump on my computer and look up how exactly does one go about cleaning a potty—the right way. And here’s a method that seems to work for me: Flush the pee or poop down the toilet, rinse out the potty with water (I guess I’ll still do this in the tub) and wipe with antibacterial wipes or bleach.

Still, I’m not sure how to actually get the poop out; do you scoop it out with a wipe? Ugh, I’m starting to think I know now why I haven’t been actively potty-training—diapers are so much more convenient in comparison! I’m also not looking forward to accidents where we’ll have to clean up pee and poop on our carpet. Not to mention going out in public and not knowing what to do with my kid if he has to pee or poop and there’s no bathroom nearby. Right now if he wants to pee and he’s wearing diapers, I can just say, “Go right ahead, pee to your heart’s content!” Not so much with undies.

We’ll probably start being more regular with him sitting on a potty, especially since he’s quite predictable (usually 15 minutes after eating and he’s already pooped). In the meantime, I’ll have to buy more antibacterial wipes and hope I can clean it up better next time.

Do you have other advice you’d like to give yours truly on cleaning up a potty?

p.s. sleepingshouldbeeasy.wordpress.com is now sleepingshouldbeeasy.com!

We cut his hair!

A few weeks ago we snipped a few inches from the back of LO’s hair. He had a heat rash on hisback, and his long hair was irritating him. Then yesterday, we snipped a few more inches off from the front and sides because his hair was getting into his eyes and ears. Thankfully LO has curly and wavy hair so that we don’t have to be precise with the trims. His hair sort of just gets combed to the side where it’ll wave and have that tousled look. So that means we laypersons can cut his hair at home for free instead of getting it cut at a salon!

He looks cute with his shorter hair. You probably wouldn’t notice it if you weren’t looking out for his new ‘do because it’s so subtle. But at least he won’t have to bother with getting hair into his face anymore. I also saved his first strands of hair in an envelope. You know, for the scrapbooking that I never do?