When my Paul was about 3, he dreaded walking into new situations, especially where there were crowds. The Rancher who fathered him is rather bashful so I intelligently attributed it to that genetic frailty (I can say this stuff because he doesn’t read my blogs.) I had to reassure Paul we would have a great time where we were going. I’d remind him of previous positive experiences. This is my child, who, without fail, would finally warm up and have a marvelous time – ten minutes before it was time to leave!
As we pulled into a parking lot, his anxiety would reach a frenzied pitch and he’d make the declaration that he wasn’t going in, excogitating excuse after excuse. He clung tenaciously to his car seat when it was time to get out of the car. I’d finally had it up to here with calmly reasoning, and pleading, and cajoling, and bribing, and he knew it. “What is wrong with you??!!” I would ask.
Like a whipped goat, he would finally bleat, “They’re going to touch my hair.”
The child donned a massive afro with the most darling boisterous curls.
“You get out of his car right now,” I would state rather clearly with teeth clenched and eyes narrowed. “Right now! No one is interested in touching your hair. You didn’t even comb it. I just need to cut it.”
“Nooooo…” he would howl anew.
“Then get in there! And you will look people in the eye and say halo.”
I’d finally march to the building and he’d come hobbling behind me, whimpering all the way with sagging shoulders, Thomas the Tank Engine in hand. He only came because Thomas told him it was probably a good idea. At the door, I’d sigh and recombobulate my frazzled self, and whisper a thank you to Thomas.
I couldn’t believe it! In the building, like eager moths to a fire, female hands – young and old alike – would come at him squealing lustfully, “Look at that hair!” They would moooaaan as they ran their fingers through it and I would watch my child give me the death glare, his little arms crossed in fury. A particular little girl loved to fondle his curls and suck her finger.
At that moment, it always struck me as funny how a shy child would relish donning a crowd pleaser like a massive afro, then dread the attention it brought!