My son squirms nonstop. And, like most toddlers, he hates when his parents wash his face, brush his teeth or trim his nails — basically any task that involves grooming.
So when I called to schedule Samuel’s first haircut, I imagined it being an experience that we’d both feel relieved about when it was over, like a doctor’s appointment. Thankfully, there wouldn’t be vaccines at the salon, but there would definitely be scissors, maybe even clippers, and a hairstylist who was a stranger to us.
The Big Haircut had all the makings of a meltdown. Still, I acted nonchalantly on our drive to the salon, so that Samuel wouldn’t sense my nervousness. We arrived at Cookie Cutters Haircuts for Kids before our scheduled time and, after signing us in, the staff didn’t mind when Samuel wandered past the waiting area to check out the hair-cutting stations with fun styling chairs. The location we visited on Hilliard-Rome Road had a firetruck, a carousel horse, an airplane and several cars to choose from.
Within a few minutes, it was our turn. I buckled Samuel into the airplane chair. Our friendly stylist, Danielle Bray, covered his shirt with a cape and spritzed his hair with water. Maybe Samuel was just distracted by his reflection in the mirror or by a nearby TV playing “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” but he sat calmly while Danielle snipped. She praised him as she worked, and when Samuel whimpered at the sight (or sound) of the vibrating hair trimmer, she quickly finished up.
We were done in 10 drama-free minutes. With young clients, time is of the essence, said Alison Celentano, who owns five Cookie Cutters salons in Central Ohio. “In an adult salon, people want more of the pampering,” she said. “Here, if we can make it as quick as possible, it is better.”
Stylists at Cookie Cutters perform first haircuts daily. On average, their littlest clients are 10 months to 18 months old. Children in that age group tend to behave surprisingly well in the styling chair; Celentano said 2- and 3-year-olds are often a bigger challenge because many are scared of the scissors.
For our milestone haircut, I splurged on an $18 package that included a photo of Samuel’s handsome ’do, a lock of hair and a certificate lauding him for “bravely submitting to the scissors.”
Next time, we might not be so lucky.