Ah, picture day. The day when your parents dress you in your nicest outfit, wet your hair down before you leave, hoping that it will either still look normal by the time your photo is taken or a kindly teacher will take pity on you and will help smooth it back out.
Although I don’t have any hard stats on this, I believe the night before picture day is the highest occurrence of child “self-haircuts” as well. This was the case with me, the night before my kindergarten school pictures. I vividly remember sitting on the sink in my bathroom, taking out the scissors that were in my mom’s drawer (scissors I was of course forbidden to use) and cutting large chunks of my hair off. I can even remember the sensation of the thick chunks coming loose into my little hand, that almost sandy sounding noise as the scissors cut through each individual strand at once. I remember thinking something was not quite right pretty quickly and so I stopped cutting my bangs and started cutting chunks by my ears. This made things much worse and I wasn’t sure if cutting more was going to help or not, so I decided to just put the scissors back into the drawer, pretty confident that no one would notice how much hair I cut off or the fact that most of it was now all over the sink.
Of course my mother noticed immediately (I actually think she may have sensed it through the door somehow) and there were some words exchanged, that part is a little blurry in my memory, but I think it was something like “What have you done, blah blah blah”, or like “How am I going to fix this?!” etc, etc, all said in a shrill, shrieking sounding voice. That sort of thing. In my town there were only a few hair salons, none of which my very level-headed Midwesterner mother would have called up in any sort of “hair emergency”, so she tried to fix it herself.
As you can see from the above photo, she did not do a very good job either. My head isn’t actually on an angle, just my bangs are, FYI. If I remember correctly I did actually have eyebrows back then, although you wouldn’t know it judging from the photo. And those shorter patches by my ears didn’t do much for the overall “look”. I believe the only thing consistent about that “haircut” was the fact that it was uneven everywhere. In my defense, that white smudge on my (dress? Shirt? Halloween costume?) outfit is actually a crack in the old photo, I believe I was spotless for the picture taking, and I really pulled it all together with that winning smile.
I was actually pretty amped about my haircut, because all day grownups kept asking me “Oh my gosh, did you cut your hair yourself?!” with great big smiles on their faces, and I was so proud of it I didn’t tell them that my mother had finished up the job for me.
The picture is one of my favorites though, because without it, I doubt I would have remembered the Kindergarten Hair Cutting Incident of 1984 quite so vividly. Even though it is just one photo from one day of that year, it is like a little time capsule to what I was like then. It reminds me how much I still am like that girl in the photo (said while hair is in usual daily bun and wearing a button down from high school with a rip in the elbow). In a time in my life that seems to be speeding past, watching my own kids seemingly grow overnight, I cherish their little time capsule photos too, and I can’t wait to see theirs this year.
I did, however, try to make their pictures come out a little better than mine. I made them eat breakfast in their bathrobes so they wouldn’t get anything on their clothes and I warned them, “Don’t touch anything or let anything touch you before the picture is taken”. Hopefully someone will smooth down Finn’s hair for him, and fix Lev’s bow before the photos are snapped. xoxo