Before. (1992) (Click pictures for larger view)
"When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and she says she's doing nothing but the dog is barking, call 911." ~ Erma BombeckIn the fall of 1992, Nyssa was in the first grade. First grade is wonderful; the little girls are all a twitter with sleepovers and parties at skating rings and McDonalds. They are still little open books, eager to learn and try things on their own. Unfortunately this may lead to problems.
The week prior to "the incident" as it seems best to call it, Nyssa had school pictures taken. (Thank God for small miracles) Each year we went to Stewart's Photography for a portrait and this was scheduled the following Saturday. This way the Christmas presents for the grandparents would be ready on time. This weekend she had a birthday party to attend on Sunday afternoon and my plan was to go to church, lunch and then the party.
Nyssa's hair has a lot of curl in it and when curled on soft, spongy, twisty curlers it would keep that curl all day. She had long bangs that could be worn straight or curled but we didn't usually put them on rollers. Everything was in place, she was in bed on time and so was I.
However, sometime that Saturday night something I ate caught up with me. Nausea and diarrhea, the two things I hate the most. I was up most of the night and when 6:00 AM came I was wiped out and decided it would be best to get some sleep and eat dry toast and tea. I didn't wake up until around 10:00 AM. Nyssa was already up. She knew how to get cereal in a bowl and put milk on it. She felt fine.
Something you have to know about me for this to make sense; I am almost blind without my glasses, nothing is clear. I saw her in her night shirt, her hair still in the spongy curlers with the bandana wrap in place. I really didn't notice anything except there was this nagging thought that kept saying, "Something looks different." I felt better so I got up, showered and dressed. Nyssa was upstairs playing in her room when I called for her to get her clothes on for the party. She dressed and came down for me to do her hair.
When she walked through the door, I finally SAW what was different. (Had my glasses on by this time) HER BANGS WERE GONE! NOT JUST SHORT! REALLY GONE! Then she had to ask me "What's wrong?" As my temperature and blood pressure shot up I slowly asked "What...happened.....to...your...bangs? Where...did....they...go?" She brightly answered, "I cut them, with the scissors." "Why... did... you... do.... that?" "I wanted to see what it looked like."
At this, I lost it. I quickly took her hair out of the curlers and positioned her in front of the bathroom mirror. She could tell I was angry and started rethinking her reason for doing the scissor chop. There is no big brother or sister to blame it on and the cats just are not that dexterous. Her long ringlets were almost to her waist and the BANGS; actually what was left could only be called remnants at best. She had grabbed ALL of her bangs in her left hand, held them straight up and putting the blades of the scissors flush with her scalp she made one cut; just one and they all came off in her hand. I found them in the trash. For a space about 3.5 inches wide and 2.5 inches deep her hair ranged from 1/4 inch long in the front to 1/2 inch long at the back and nothing even.
I decided that if she wanted to see how it looked short, then maybe we should cut it all off and go for the really short bob. At this point she changed her mind about having short hair and started screaming. Nyssa seemed to think I could put the bangs back. TOO LATE! I gathered the rest of her flowing locks and cut off six inches, but got my anger under control before doing any more severe whacking.
What do we do now? There is a birthday party in an hour and Nyssa looks like Ronald McDonald the clown. She didn't want to go. I made her. I brushed the curl out as much as I could and pulled it all back in a ponytail. Then we wet the bangs and slicked them back with gel as best we could. No matter what you do, 1/4 inch hair will only stand straight up.
This was it. This was how she had to wear her hair to school every day until they grew out. Slicked back ponytail. It would get worse before it got better and required many trimmings by the beautician to keep them growing even. For a time she looked a lot like little Jeremiah E. whose hair would only go in a spiked do. I cancelled the portrait. On Sunday she had to wear a hat, every Sunday for eight months. At church Nyssa became known as the pretty little girl with the hats. We still curled the rest of the hair, but we slicked the bangs and stuck them under the hat. She couldn't take it off in Sunday School or Bozo the Clown would appear. At Christmas, Stewarts always did portraits with Santa. This year I made a Precious Moments granny night gown with a puffy granny hat....to hide the lack of suitable bangs.
Nyssa made it through the crisis. She had to endure stares and giggles of her peers for quite a while but I know this only helped her learn several important lessons. One: Sometimes choices you make have bad consequences that you cannot get out of with results that last a long time; Two: Mom does not like these kind of surprises; and Three: The next time I try to cut my hair, Mom WILL have it cut very, very, very, very short!
The results of Nyssa's experiment gone wrong were still prominent in November of that year, two months after the original shearing. And below that is Stewart's picture with Santa; the bangs well hidden. (See below)
Two months after.
Christmas. Photo by Stewart's Photography