Google+ Authentic Parenting: Physical Authenticity

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Physical Authenticity

My husband goes through phases where he wants his hair to grow. So he leaves it to push, until one day, he gets sick of it and just wants to shave it off. This weekend, we came to the 'shave it off'-stage of the cycle.
So we got the clippers out, and this time, our daughter was really interested. She said that she wanted her hair off too. Of course my husband cringed. Would we be cutting off her gorgeous little angel curls? Remember that her hair has never been cut at all. We strongly believe in physical authenticity and therefor have always left her to decide what to wear (or more likely, not to wear) and how to look. Yes, even at the mere age of 3.
So since she had never asked for her hair to be cut (she did know the option existed, she had seen me cut and clip my husband's hair and has been to the hairdresser with me and my mother in law), her hair just grew and grew, without any shape or special cut. And that was fine.

But now she was asking for it. And to clip it no less!
So we laid aside our parental hopes and expectations, and she took a seat on the chair for me to 'work my magic'. For full disclosure, we asked her several times if she was sure, and we wee kind of  hesitant, and my husband ended up hiding behind the door, biting away his tears. I asked her if she wanted it short like daddy or long like mine (I could just take off the ends, if that was what she wanted). SHe seemed indecisive and asked long first.
I took off some ends and then she changed her mind. "No," she said firmly, "I want it all off".
So I started shaving the sides and back of her head, at 9 mm, her beautiful angelic golden locks dropping to the floor. After that was done, she told me to stop. She wanted to see.
We were left with something best described as the cut Rihanna had at the time of Russian Roulette. Very long at the top and trimmed at sides and back.

This is what it looks like from behind
So we went to the mirror and she had a look.
She instantly had a big smile on her face. "I like it." she said. "It's not like mommy and not like daddy. It's like me."

That made me the proudest mommy on earth. And I still am proud about it.
At 3 she knows what she wants, she knows who she is, and she is unafraid to make bold choices.
I am so very happy that we got over ourselves and made it happen. It has yet again proved to me that I have to believe in her, and follow her. That her appearance is hers and hers alone.

And for the reactions: everyone that has seen it thinks it's great and that it looks really well on her, but I am sure that, were we in Europe, we'd get even more bitching about this then we did about not cutting.



  1. A lot of children go through this phase... more frequently tho, they cut their hair themselves, with their parents to find out later. I cut my hair really short when I was 4-ish. Mom was heartbroken. I think it's wonderful that it was something you experienced as a family. Although to be honest, I am not sure I would have had it in me to personally buzz my daughter's hair...

  2. it was very hard indeed... but sometimes you just need to get over your preoccupations and illusions. It is her hair.
    ANd she did want to cut it herself a couple of times, but I could halt that by saying we could do it together once the proper tools had arrived (I found a tiny nail clipper not very apt for the job)

  3. Wow, amazing moment! As I read this I was cringing at the start, but her reaction made me teary--I have an almost 4 yr old, and I know those moments where look and the mirror and like what they see (a costume he's made, or a new mask we decorated together). And it is thrilling to the core. So what a great feat to take the plunge and go for it with her, I would have probably bawled with pride for her. (the 2nd pic doesn't show for me, is that another view? looks cute and funky from behind though!!)

  4. The second picture is probably just my signature, I had a side view, but she's too recognizable on there. I am indeed exceedingly proud

  5. I just don't get the meaning of the Europe comment... I would be proud of my child as well if he/she'd make a decision like that. Just wondering: what if she asks to get a tattoo - would you agree as well? regards from Belgium

  6. Hi Jade, I'm from Belgium too :)
    In the link I write about how everyone was always commenting on how we should really cut her hair. ANd now we've shaved it, I'm pretty sure that a lot of people would tell us we're crazy for 'allowing' her to shave it.
    For the tattoo: she's only 3 so that's not really something for the near future. However, if she were older, and she was to ask me, I would ask her if she had thought it through, if she had found a design that had meaning for her, and yes, I would go to the tattoo parlor with her, if she would want me to.

  7. Very brave of you! I don't know if I would have been able to do it! But I agree with the concept! That's why I get upset with people putting in studs in their babies' ears! I think they should express the desire to have it put in!

  8. oh honey,i got tears(for you+then for her)when she says she looks 'like me'.how beautiful she is+what a testament to your parenting thus far,that she had the confidence to ask+receive what she wanted.i bet she looks adorable :)

  9. there's another pic on FB, if you want to see the front

  10. I'm not on facebook, but I believe you if you say she is pretty being herself! I hadn't followed the link, and understand your text better now. As for the tattoo: I'm not sure I would be brave enough, but I know I should be trusting my children more, I still have a very long way to go! Thank you for your advice on so many topics children related!
    ps I did read about your being from Belgium, but only after having sent my first comment - that'll teach me!

  11. Wow! My 2 year old just asked me if I could cut her hair, because she sees me buzz her brother's head every few weeks. I told her no and she just walked away, not really caring. I know that her dad would flip out if he came home and saw that. I'm sure your daughter is beautiful, but I don't know if I could do that, maybe only if she was really adamant and determined.


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