9.2.18

Shaving Our Daughter's Head

If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen that Clover sports a buzz cut now a days. Even though we did share the news in my stories and in the captions on a few photos, I know a lot of people just browse grids on Instagram (I'm guilty of this too!), so as a result I've received a ton of questions about Clover's hair.


First I'll catch you up to speed. A few days before Christmas, Oli and Lily came home from school saying their friends (who happen to be siblings in each of our kid's classes) had lice. Our kids are pretty close with these children and on top of that, we had had their whole family over for dinner a few days earlier. I'll write a full post on lice, because we have learned so much after walking through it as a family, but suffice to say, all three of our kids and I had lice. With only a few days before all the lice clinics closed for the holidays, and the length of time that over-the-counter treatments take (20 days! No thanks!) we quickly took the last two spots at a local clinic for Lily and I.

Treating lice is time consuming and expensive and Christmas was days away. We would be on the road for many days visiting family, and we knew we couldn't bring lice to another family! With all of this in mind, and taking into account Chloe's young age and ambivalence to all things beauty, we made the still-hard decision to shave her head along with Oli's. Shaving Oli's head wasn't hard at all, even though I love his mop of curly hair when it is long, but shaving Chloe's was surprisingly hard for us.

Here is a quick Q & A of common questions we've received

Why would you shave a girl's head!?

It wasn't a decision we took lightly, but in the end we felt it was the best choice for the situation we were in. All girls are different - some care excessively about their looks from a young age. Thank goodness this hasn't been the case with our daughters, and I'd argue that's a dangerous proclivity to foster in your children, regardless of their gender. It's true that shaving our son's hair wasn't at all hard for us, because he's always had relatively short hair and he'd still fit in with the boys in his class at school, and this wouldn't be the same for Clover. However our Clover girl has been blessed with an indomitable spirit, which everyone who knows her can attest to, so for this little girl, it wasn't going to alter her world or bring her down.

Why did you shave Chloe's head and not Lily's?

Every child is so different! We wouldn't have shaved Lily's head but it made sense to us to shave Chloe's. Lily is three years older than Chloe, has struggled with mean girls in her class (another post for another day), and has less confidence than her little sister. Drastically altering the appearance of a four year in per-kindergarten is not the same (in our experience) as doing so to a child in grade two.  We felt that Chloe is both young enough, care-free enough, and confident enough to pull it off, and we were right.  Covering Lily's and my lice alone cost us over $200 and a lot of time. It would have cost less but taken much longer to treat the lice with over-the-counter products. We were okay doing that for Lily and me for the above mentioned reasons, but we weren't ready to do the same for Chloe who we thought wouldn't be as put off with short hair.

How was it for you?

As I shaved Chloe's head with Brad's clippers, I was surprisingly emotional. Maybe for most mothers this is obvious, but I didn't think I'd feel this way. Brad and I have known several  children, even within our own family, facing tremendous obstacles in health, and seeing our little girl bald opened our eyes to how small and inconsequential this really is. Brad made the point that we are so lucky to be shaving her hair by choice and not because of a sinister diagnosis, which only made the moment more emotional, but more grounded at the same time. I feared being judged by other parents, especially as our life is quite public both online and in our city as a Minister's family. We offered her as many head bands as she'd like, and to even let her get her ears pierced. I think it was my way of trying to do right by her after taking her hair away, but I should have known that she's made of sterner stuff.

How has it been for Chloe?

This is my favourite question, because I'm able to brag on our little lady unreservedly! She really is amazing. She's never complained, not even once since we've shaved her head. She doesn't care at all! Her ears are now pierced but she refuses all hair accessories. She loves when people ask if she and Oli are twins and takes it as a compliment that she looks like her brother. Her eyes sparkle even more than before, and her hair is super soft to touch. For a little girl who loves to pretend to be a kitten, she loves that people are drawn to pet her head. She asked me recently when I thought her hair would look like it was before, and I said I honestly didn't know. Maybe next year? She was content with that answer and showed no sorrow. I seriously marvel at her character through all of this.

Any regrets?

Sometimes I've wondered if it would have been better to just pay the extra $100 or spend the extra hours to preserve her curly locks, but ultimately we made the best decision for our family and we haven't regretted it.

How have others responded?

One girl in Chloe's class told her she looked like a boy, which hurt her a bit, but true to her easygoing nature and tough spirit, she said to me, "I think she just doesn't know that I had lice!" as if that were the perfect explanation. Haha! Everyone we know, especially our church community have been outrageously supportive and have gone out of their way to encourage Chloe. One friend from church who shaved her head to raise money for cancer years ago brought Chloe pictures of her bald head, which Chloe loved. People constantly tell us she looks beautiful, her eyes pop, that she's "so hip!" and that she looks like Eleven from Stranger Things. I agree with the first two and leave the rest up to your interpretation!


I hope I don't sound disrespectful to those walking through true crises of health or otherwise, but for our family, having lice and shaving Clover's hair did feel like a trial. I really believe it strengthened us as a family and forced us to remember and to remind our kid's that true beauty is not on the outside. Seeing our older two rally around Chloe and tell her how beautiful she was brought tears to my eyes. Watching Chloe walk into school that first morning with no hair, I had a huge lump in my throat - Would kids be mean? Would teachers be judgemental? Would she come home in tears?  - but when I picked her up it was just as any other day. She has really walked through this with such courage and dignity and joy. What a girl we have!


2 comments:

  1. Clover looks great!♥
    She looks like (a happier) Eleven :D

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