Yesterday we went out for haircuts for the boys. Haircuts have had a very long standing history of being a nightmare. But in the past year or so that has leveled off and become o.k. Zachary of course has no problem. Daniel has always hated it. Let me say that the kid has more hair than any other person on the planet and it is THICK. It is like straw thick. I have seen many kids on the spectrum with this hair. No one else has this hair in our family, and since your hair can be a good determination of your health, it makes me wonder if any scientists have ever looked into this?
Anyway. I always did Daniel's haircuts here for the simple reason that it was horrible. He yelled, cried and carried on. I would put him in front of the TV on a giant sheet to catch the hair, and do my very best to cut WITH SCISSORS ONLY. This is not an easy thing. I'll admit when he was young (3 or 4) we used to hold him down and buzz him with clippers as fast as possible. It was horrible and traumatic for ALL. Apparently so traumatic that he has a terrible aversion to clippers. So I would cut it myself at home on the sheet. It usually took me over an hour with breaks and stopping and starting and crying. I would have to work myself up emotionally for weeks before I would start all of this. It was hard for me, and for him.
Eventually I felt he was ready for the big time. Kari, my wonderful wonderful stylist said bring him in here. So I did. It was rocky at first. But not terrible. She was willing to keep trying and so was I. I could just try to relax him instead of try to relax him AND be holding very sharp objects at the same time. This was way better. We kept working on it and she would talk him through it the whole time. Zachary would come to and so Daniel would see Zachary being brave. That helped. THEN Todd started going with them and all three would get their haircut at the same time. THIS was even better. I had to do nothing! That hardly ever happens!! Oh glorious glorious days.
Then Kari had to go and get married and then get pregnant. I mean really, the nerve of her?! :) Taking 12 weeks off to tend to the child she gave birth to. That really has messed up MY schedule! And over Christmas too? Goodness.
Yesterday was our second cut with the replacement. She is a very sweet girl. But she doesn't know how to talk to Daniel. I had gotten a bit complacent. I see that now. We sort of strolled in there and usually it's 15 minutes and out. Zachary's hair was cut too short for his liking last time, so we just did a "clean up" job along the back bottom and around the ears. Then Daniel's up and his hair was quite long. Like I said, he has quite a head of hair. She was commenting on it. You really have to be like a cheerleader to get him through. Always positive, rah rah rah, we are almost done. Then the replacement says. "Wow you have so much hair. This is going to take a lot longer than your brother." Daniel says, "is it going to take long?" Replacement says, "yes it's going to take longer and longer." one two three "SCREEEEEEEEEEAMMM. NO IT'S NOT GOING TO TAKE LONG!" Zachary looks at me and says,"can I go to the bathroom?" This is code for I'm dying inside and I must go and hide please. Yes, go I say. Meanwhile I try to calm down Daniel. We get through it, but he is UNHAPPY. He is his red blotchy self. The salon got mysteriously quiet. We need to GO. He was mad for 3 hours after that. Partially due to the internet going in and out, the fact that it was snowing, Christmas is almost here. Lots of reasons.
But what I realized is that this is what people don't get. Things look under control. It appears that he is dealing well with everything. And in some ways he is. But in a lot of situations those of us around him have been trained in how to get him through things. He has showed us how to help him deal with difficult situations. It is wonderful. He is able to do that. Kari had learned what he needed to get him through the haircut. The school has learned how to get him through the day. We have all learned and it helps him deal with his surroundings. When something is taken out of the equation you get to see what was lurking there under the surface and I think, Oh, there it is. I knew that autism was there waiting, threatening, looming. We've learned how to keep the monster pacified. But occasionally it comes and takes poor Daniel. It makes him sad he couldn't deal, even though he's done nothing wrong. It takes over and he can't get back. It makes me realize how volatile our little world can be. It jerks me back to full alert again. Sorry I wasn't there yesterday Daniel. Sorry you got upset. Thinking you'd be in the chair for how long? What did you think a long time was? A few days? A few hours. When she meant more than 2 minutes?
As you just said to me. You look very handsome. Let's put it behind us and enjoy our Christmas. Next time, Kari will be back and we can get back to the routine. Merry Christmas Daniel.
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