Tag Archives: Bill

It'll grow out

Before my son was born, I made my husband promise that he would never, ever, ever let me cut the boy’s hair.  I have a bad history with barbering.

I’ve cut my brother’s hair a few times. Mostly when I was a teenager and he was just a little kid.  It never turned out well.  The most memorable occasion was when he about 8 and desperately wanted a crew cut which my mother would not allow.  He brought me a pair of blunt edged paper scissors and asked me to do the job.  I figured that if you just cut it short enough it would have the desired effect.  It turns out that this is not the case. I kept cutting and cutting and cutting, but it never looked right.  When my mother stopped me mid-job, it’s fair to say that the results were uneven.  Uneven as in near-bald in some places and tufty in others.  Being young and gullible, I told him that it looked good, and he believed me.  But it didn’t.  It looked like he had the mange.

Foolishly, seventeen years later, my brother asked me to cut his hair again.  It wasn’t so much that the memory had faded but that he was a bit desperate and assumed that my skills had improved. They hadn’t. But at least I had the right tools – a clipper and a set of guards.  But it turns out that good results are uni-directional.  If you run the clippers the wrong way, you still get the mange look.

And even more foolishly, even after seeing the results of my brother’s cut, my husband let me cut his hair.  It didn’t go well.  It was kind of a post-chemo look.  Apparently I told him that I knew I’d cut it too short in some places, so let some tufts remain in the hopes that it would even out the look.

Behind the bar

My brother and husband with the proprietor of a country and western bar deep in the suburbs of Hamburg, Germany

I found this photo and showed it to my husband just before scanning it in.  He said “it does not convey the full horror of that haircut.”

So, even with the full knowledge of what my haircutting skills are like, he let me cut Bill’s hair this morning.

To be fair, the boy’s locks were getting very shaggy indeed.  And we’d already tried a couple of times to get his hair cut at the hairdresser around the corner who had done an excellent job back in December.

At the playground

Shaggy, shaggy locks

So we got out the clippers this morning.  It all started out well enough.  But Bill soon tired of my clipping and decided we were done.  Although we weren’t.

I do it!

I'm unlikely to become a licensed hairdresser

And even though it wasn’t a perfect job – a little rough around the edges and over the ears, Simon did say that Bill’s hair looked better after I finished than before I started. And then added that this must be a first for me.

I do it

Bill’s quite fond of power tools, and this was no exception.  He wanted to be the one with power.  He decided that he wanted to do the haircutting and was aggrieved when neither Simon nor I would agree to let him cut our hair.  But if there’s one thing I know about haircuts, it’s that you should never, ever agree to let anyone near your head unless you’re sure they know what they’re doing.

Final touches

refusal often offends

He’s not crying because he’s having his hair cut.  He’s crying because he’s not doing the hair cutting.

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Happy Birthday to Daddy

As somebody with a birthday right smack dab in the middle of the calendar year, it’s hard for me to truly understand the anniversary plights of those with a birthday near Christmas.  But I try my best, I really do.

Poor Simon’s birthday is on the 21st and tends to get a little overlooked in the run-up to the big holiday bonanza. But we opened presents and tried to have a birthday outing and we had a birthday meal and birthday cake, of course – with candles and everything.  Bill loves the Happy Birthday song – and of course he’s quite fond of fire, too:

Monkeys at the zoo

I always liked Curious George when I was a child so when I saw that the feature film DVD was on sale at the grocery store for a ridiculously low price I bought it both for my own enjoyment and in anticipation of the day when Bill would be old enough to watch the movie as a distraction technique.

And boy did it work.  I thought the Curious George movie was really just so-so.  Too much about the love life of the man with the yellow hat and just not enough monkey.  But Bill thought it was great.  So much so that I thought I’d look to see if I could buy a Curious George monkey toy (no, you can’t – not sold in the UK) And that’s when I discovered the Curious George tv show.  Apparently it’s a PBS show that was also aired – at least for a time – in Britain on Children’s ITV.  I bought one DVD and then a few more.  These PBS version is great – all monkey, very educational, and so cleverly done I don’t find it outrageously annoying after I’ve seen the episode 50 times.

And it’s not just Curious George that Bill loves.  He’ll watch pretty much any monkey (though George is best).  He loves to watch Monkey Business a reality tv series focusing on a primate rescue centre in Dorset.

And as for toys…it’s monkeys only.  His aunt and few other people have bought him some really lovely stuffed animals, but he cares nothing for them.  The only cuddly toy he’s ever had any time for is a monkey my mother bought him at a superstore in Calais.

Real live monkeys

Last summer I considered going to the London Zoo and taking Bill into the petting zoo area.  But apparently you had to sign a climate change pledge to stroke some goats.  For Simon, that was a step too far in the war on carbon.  But the ZSL (as they seem to be branding themselves now) have removed the pledge and opened a new area for kids called Animal Adventure, plus Bill’s monkey love has fully blossomed so I took him to the zoo.

It was my first time to take him into central London on my own since he’s been fully mobile (Simon wouldn’t go, still fearful of the eco-prop), so I was a little nervous.  He’s a willful child and prone to run.  Overall he was pretty good and we were there for over four hours. He was maybe a bit more interested in the toys and the play equipment than the animals.  And since I paid £18 to get in to see the animals, I wanted to see some animals , dang it.

Probably the best part of the zoo, from a two-year old’s perspective or perhaps the perspective of a parent as a two-year old was the animal adventure area.  You had to climb up high to see the Red Panda or the weird animal whose name I can’t remember but looks like a giant meerkat.  You had to crawl on your hands and knees to see the meerkats running around or see the aardvarks napping.  He loved it.

When we visited the Nashville Zoo, Bill really enjoyed riding the carousel and so he thought he’d love the London Zoo one, too.   There are two in London, one a big traditional one and the other more of a ‘children’s carousel’.  We were standing next to the smaller one when he demanded a ride,  and he enjoyed himself once it started but then he realized that the animals don’t go up and down and there was no music, he wanted off immediately.

No music, no up and down, get me off this thing

No music, no up and down, get me off this thing

I was very excited to see that there was a spider monkey walk-through area.  But sadly the monkeys had all retreated to their enclosure.  If I ran the zoo, I think I would have blocked that off while there were paying customers  on the premises.  Dance, monkey, dance – or no peanuts for you.

We did get fairly close to one monkey though, a white naped Magabey.  While everyone else was looking at the gorillas opposite, we had a look at the monkey.  Bill was very excited to be separated only by a pane of glass from the monkey.  Unfortunately the gorillas retreated and Bill’s excited squeal drew a crowd of competitors for the monkey’s attention.

Good thing theres some glass between us

Good thing there's some glass between us

On the way out, I was stopped by a ZSL market researcher who asked me all kinds of questions about our experience. (I try not to damage my survey karma)    It made me realize all the things we hadn’t seen, we hadn’t gone in the bug house, African Bird walkthrough, reptile house or aquarium.  We didn’t even see the penguins.  So it looks like we’ll have to go back another time.

(Photo credit: Curious George in a box from doc.neuman on Flickr, all others – mine)