Thwaites Family Adventures │ 365 - March │ Winnipeg Family Photographer
Winnipeg Family Photographer
A hairy adventure
My son has had long hair for most of his life. He started growing his hair out this time, by his own choice, when he was 3.5 years old. He said he loved mommy's long hair and wanted to have long hair like me (cue heart melt).
A couple of years later, we got it into a ponytail for the first time ever. HE WAS SO PROUD.
But the downward spiral had already started..... the random, likely innocent, comments from strangers telling me "how much they love the colour of my daughters hair". Classmates going out of their way to refer to him as "she" or "her" just to bother him. Even a family member commenting that he would look like a girl with long hair because long hair is for girls.
In the beginning he couldn't care less. He was happy and proud of his hair. He loved it. He thought he looked like a rock star. We showed him pictures of famous men with long hair. We talked about how some aboriginal peoples in Canada think that the longer your braid is, the closer you are to Mother Earth (this one he loved the most, and he insisted on wearing his hair in a braid most days after we talked about this one).
But things wear on you after a while, and I saw his attitude shifting. I saw his resilient little heart wearing out and he was becoming more and more sad, and even becoming verbally aggressive with strangers who referred to him as "she" or "her" or "your daughter".
And then his teacher at school had a chat with me..... he'd tried to cut his hair off in class. He was sick of being called a girl.
So I asked him if he wanted to get a hair cut, and much to my dismay, he said he did. I knew it was coming... but it still made me sad.
Please don't mistake me, if he'd just wanted to have short hair I would have been all for it. I'm just really angry at society as a whole for unintentionally wearing down my son to the point that his little free spirit seemed broken, no matter how much me and his dad and his Nana and Opa and our close circle of family friends tried to lift him up. I even waited a full 2 months to make sure this is what he wanted and to make sure he understood that once we cut it, he would be 10 years old before it was this long again.
He was sure. So off we went...
He chose a mowhawk. So his hair still speaks to his independent and quirky little personality that I love so much. And of course, because he picked a mowhawk, so did little bro.
And there's a new spring in his step. In the moment, he was a bit unsure, but within hours he was on top of the world, and professing his undying love for our dear friend, and co-owner of The Sapphire Hair Lounge, April. And he hasn't been upset about going to school. And he hasn't been as confrontational. His confidence is back.
So while I'm sad about his reasons, I am happy for him... Because after all, this isn't about me.
And to all my grown up friends out there, I implore you, pause for a moment before you comment on a kids appearance... because they are listening, and they hear more than we think, and their little hearts and minds absorb way more than we give these little people credit for.
If you've stuck with me this far, thanks for hearing me out. I've fallen off the wagon with my 365 a bit, but this was a full story that needed to be told, and I'm trying to get back on the daily photo train for April.
Happy Monday friends!
Keywords: aliciaTphoto, Family Photojournalism, Family Photojournalist, Manitoba, Winnipeg, Winnipeg Documentary Photographer, Winnipeg Family Photographer, Winnipeg Family Photojournalist, Winnipeg Lifestyle Photographer, Winnipeg Photographer, Winnipeg Storytelling Photographer
Oh, Friend. My heart breaks that he had to learn this lesson so young in life. We have a similar situation over here. My older daughter has curly hair and she is currently working on whether or not she loves it. she also has a gap between her two front teeth and someone in our family very close to us commented in front of her that, gosh I hope it doesn't stay that way. These little ones are so impressionable, and we have to teach them that respect for one another's hair or teeth sore skin or whatever is irreplaceable. You are such a good mom.
So many speak without thinking sometimes..... glad he got back to his old self!!! Super cute Mohawk too!!
My heart breaks for him that, at such a young age, he had to feel the sadness of other people's judgments. He has beautiful hair!
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