Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A "Hairy" Issue

I think my first post may have come off as a tad bit angsty, so I thought I’d lighten the mood a bit by complaining about something a little less weighty in the morality department:

My children’s hair. Or, more specifically, certain people’s responses to my children’s hair.

For some inexplicable reason, strangers are often flabbergasted by the fact that my boys have different haircuts, like it’s the most novel idea in the world not to turn twins (even fraternal ones) into creepy, carbon copies of one another, grooming them as actors for some future big break in another remake of The Parent Trap.

One of the more interesting things I've noticed about twins, in both my own and those of others, is that they seem to have starkly different personalities. Certainly this isn't always the case, but based on my conversations and interactions with other parents of twins, it is more often than not. I’m sure there’s some sort of scientific study or theory out there proposing a biological explanation, but I like to think that it’s the result of my boys getting bored in utero and passing the time by playing “rock, paper, scissors” for major personality traits. (This would also explain the frequent—and sudden—urges to pee while I was pregnant; someone must have been partial to “rock.” On my bladder.)

My youngest (by about 30 seconds), Oliver, tends to be a bit more on the timid side (which is not to say that he can’t also be a typical loud, rambunctious toddler at times). He is also an organizer. A neat freak. A bit of a perfectionist, really. To give you some perspective, when the boys are playing with toy cars, Oliver can usually be found arranging them neatly by color, as though they’re lined up in some oddly beautiful funeral procession for Rainbow Brite, while his brother engages them in head-on collisions (like, literally, throwing them at Oliver’s head). Ollie compulsively asks to wipe his nose, even when there’s nothing there. He becomes visibly and verbally distraught upon noticing a hangnail or loose thread on his sock, and can’t rest easy until the issue is resolved. It is an endearing quality, and one that I hope yields favorable dividends when we hit the teenage years.

Trystan, on the other—less manicured—hand, is my powerhouse, always-active, wild child. When left to his own devices, he will happily eat dirt, pillage in trash cans, and use his own bodily fluids as makeshift hair gel (this is especially disgusting when he’s got a cold). He actually asks me to lift him up so he can do “pull-ups” on the monkey bars at the playground. He loves to be chased, jump on the bed (using my spine as a springboard, if necessary), and has no problem with the gnarly runner toenails he somehow inherited from his Mama. I don’t think “tidy” is in Trystan’s realm of understanding yet, and the only time I really see him distressed over a mess is when we pass by mud puddles that I refuse to let him jump in. While Oliver typically sits patiently still as I dab his face clean with a washcloth after a particularly messy meal, Trystan acts as though I’m ripping out his fingernails with heated pliers. He is high energy, nearly all the time, and—even though it can be exhausting—it is so much fun.

So, besides the fact that getting Trystan to sit still for a haircut would likely require props from the set of Fifty Shades of Grey, I've opted to give them glaringly different ‘dos to reflect their glaringly different personalities. 

Yeah, we know...these looks work for us. And we work the camera. It's a double-whammy.

Sometimes, when Trystan is having a particularly wacky hair day, total strangers find it their civic duty to address the state-of-his-hairs (see what I did there?). I've noticed this happens most frequently either when he's just woken up, or at the bottom of the various tube slides at the playground, when the static electricity makes it appear as though he stuck his tongue in an electrical socket (which he would probably do, if I didn't have our outlet covers duct-taped firmly in place), causing his bright blond locks to tuft about his sizable head like dandelion seeds.

This, in conjunction with his adorably manic facial expressions, often solicits comments like, “Whoa, look at all that hair!” or “Looks like you've got a little wild child on your hands!” Why, yes, I do have “a little wild child,” and that’s precisely why I don’t really care if his hair is out of control. It reflects the madness within! Others opt for the less-subtle approach of, “Looks like it’s time for our first haircut!” in that typical, I’m-joking-but-not-really fashion (which I find almost as annoying as the use of the collective possessive pronoun “our”; why do people talk like this? Do you intend on joining my kid on a trip to the kiddie salon?).  Or, people will see that Ollie’s got a military-style haircut, and say something like, “Oh, his brother would look cute with his hair cut like that, too.” Yeah, he would. He’d look cute bald, or in dreadlocks, or wearing a dress. He’s a cute kid. I’m still not cutting his hair.

These backhanded suggestions about chopping my 'fro are making me angry.
My boys are individuals. They have separate interests, separate personalities, and separate craniums. Yes, being a “twin” is a part of each of their identities, but they are more than just, collectively, “The Twins.” They deserve individual recognition, separate birthday cards, and their own freakin’ hairstyles. When they’re old enough to tell me how they want their hair cut, I will allow them to make that decision. Until then, it's crew cuts and snot-locks.

Why are we still talking about hair, Mama? All we care about is cars.

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