Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places


first haircut

{Thursday’s Three Thank-yous} Ye merry gentle men

I grew up without a father for most of my life, but I’ve always had several father figures. There were many to be found within the church I grew up with in Singapore, and God has this wonderful way of providing different ones at each stage of my life.

My children are deeply loved by their daddy, but they are also very blessed to grow up around other men of character. On Sunday, anticipating a mini milestone, I took my camera along so I could introduce you to some of the men in Atticus’s life.

1) Raymond

Arddun, for reasons only her young heart knows, refers to Liz as Aunty Liz but to Raymond as Mr. Ray. Even as a baby, Arddun has never been afraid of his big bushy beard and loud, hearty laugh. I still have fond memories of Arddun reaching out tentatively to pat his bristly chin like it were a curiosity. He may look a very little bit like Gimli from LOTR (or a garden gnome, depending on beard length) and in many ways, he can be just as courageous in fighting for what is right. Always generous, always opinionated, deeply in love with God, Raymond is a teddy bear.

And Atticus adores him.

Atticus and Raymond seeing eye to eye

Raymond tickling Atticus

2) Peter

Before children, I was never one of those at church who would scan the room for cuddly babies. And on looking back, I wish I had been because at the very least, I could have provided something that many mothers of young babies are always thankful for – a bit of reprieve from baby, just so they can sit down for 5 minutes with a hot cup of tea for a change.

Peter is another gentle man in Atticus’s life. He just loves children, and Atticus has been a great and ever-willing beneficiary of his cuddles and walks around the room during our Sunday morning teas. I love watching someone else light up when they see a child of mine.

Peter with Atticus

3) Mark

Mark has three children of his own, two of whom Arddun loves playing with on Sundays. Miles (the youngest), I’m eyeing off as a playmate for Atticus in the years to come.

Being a father of two boys has also called on some resourcefulness when it comes to haircuts. Thanks to YouTube, Mark has learnt to cut his own boys’ hair. And with Atticus’s own wispy baby strands now falling over his eyes, I’d called on Mark to exercise some YouTube hair-cutting wizardry.

Atticus eating arrowroot biscuit in highchair
Arrowroot biscuits, a fabulous distraction for a first-ever haircut!





Atticus's face getting squished during haircut


Atticus with Mark
A handsome result. Thank you, Uncle Mark, for taming my unruly baby locks! Can you YouTube how to build a cubby house next?

Big fat hairy deal

After 3 years, 10 months and 6 days, I finally relented yesterday and got Arddun’s hair cut.

And only because it had become a real handful to un-knot after every shampoo.

There’s a scene in I Don’t Know How She Does It, when Sarah Jessica Parker’s character finds out that she missed her son’s first haircut because of her busy corporate life. The hot nanny had gone and done it, displaying great initiative but inducing secret muffled Mommy sobs in the process.

It has taken me a long, looong time to come to terms with cutting Arddun’s Rapunzelesque tresses which, at last measurement, hung slightly below her waist. At first, I had been nervous about sharp scissors near an active toddler’s face, but as time passed and her ability to sit still and obey instructions increased, I realised how attached I had gotten to her mane… mostly because I had attached so much sentimentality to it. It had been something we had left alone, intact, since birth and which had since become her trademark. In the early months and after a decent length, her hair signalled to the world that she is a girl in a way that no number of feminine baby clothes did. Her hair texture told the world she came from my body, but its beautiful brown with occasional strands of gold whispered of her uniquely mixed heritage.

Most of all, there had been something so unspoiled about it. Her Original Baby Hair, untouched all this time. To me, anyway.

Arddun three days old
72 hours old with standy-uppy hair
Arddun watching TV
Hair-raising television
Arddun watching for cars
No longer defying gravity: full head of hair by 6 months
Arddun wears grandma's wig
Our rug-rat, test-driving Grandma Singapore’s new wig
Arddun aged 1
Arddun aged 1
Arddun aged 2
Arddun aged 2
Arddun aged 3
Arddun aged 3

So it was a little Coming Of Age moment, when Arddun and I entered the hair salon together yesterday to get her hair shaped and trimmed.

Arddun, a day before her haircut
Arddun, a day before her haircut
Back view of hair before haircut
Back view of hair before haircut
Arddun on hairdresser dress
Even though we role-played the inaugural haircut, it’s still a big moment

We had practised not moving during the haircut, but none of us at the salon had quite expected Arddun to sit so still, nor to look that solemn throughout the affair. We sat next to each other in companionable silence, listening to the snip-snips, obeying gentle instructions.

Arddun during first haircut
Watching intently

And then she was done! I heard a “you can show your Mummy now!”, whereupon I turned to my left and looked at my little girl. Except she had suddenly grown up.

Arddun's first finished haircut
Arddun and Mummy with new haircuts
Sporting our new looks in public. Look out!

But then she goes and does this. Just so we remember that she is still a funny little girl at heart.

Arddun with pegs as hairclips
Pegs. They’re not just for the clothesline.

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