From your stylist or your parents or your grandparents for the actual scissor-wielding portion of the event, from a therapist for the anxiety that follows because your baby is not a baby anymore. If, like me, you have only your husband and Facebook to tell you everything is going to be alright, you probably won’t believe them.
Step two, don’t do it alone. Not only because of the crying (yours, perhaps, and certainly your child’s), but because of the inability of a toddler to sit completely still for more than three seconds. Especially when there are sharp objects in close proximity to the squishy parts of their faces. For us, the high chair was ideal. My husband held her hands and covered her eyes and it felt like torture for at least two of us.
Step three, breathe.
Step four, do it fast. We were lucky because we really only needed to cut Miss E’s hair out of necessity (her bangs were in her eyes and she abhors barrettes). I can’t imagine having a little guy or gal who might need more than a few quick snips. While I hesitated the first time I went for it, I dove in the second time and only evened her out a bit after that. It took about ten seconds.
Step five, accept that those ten seconds have aged your child six months. Or more. I can’t explain it, really, but Miss E has been seeming more and more like a little girl and less like a baby all the time, but trimming her bangs has framed her face in such a way that it makes everything stand out. Her toothy grin. Her tantrums. Her mad fine motor skills now that her visual acuity has no doubt vastly improved. I’ve got a better picture of the child lecturing me on the finer points of Ewok culture than I’ve had since the day we met. I can just see the person she’s going to be, and while I know she’s been in there all along, it’s breaking my heart to say goodbye to her baby self. My jolly, cooing gal is no more, replaced by a screeching, block-pitching, adorable fiend. I know we said goodbye to her several months ago, but now, it’s really real.
At least I saved her hair clippings, if I can’t save her littleness.