Fearing a negative response to hearing a complete stranger was going to come at her from behind with a pair of sharp scissors, I set about making the trip as exciting as possible. I pushed her there on her tricycle and, all the way, we chatted about how glamorous and exciting hairdressing salons are. I hoped we weren't going to see any women having foils put it.
We floated into the salon on a cloud of Ava's anticipation. She didn't baulk at the sound of four blasting hairdryers and, when she clocked the floor to ceiling shelves lined with colourful hair products, she had the expression (and hairstyle, still) of a pirate who'd struck gold.
So far, so good.
We checked in and were told we'd need to wait for 10 minutes or so and, after prising her away from all the sparkly bottles and pots of magic potions, I convinced her to come and do what the other waiting customers were doing and browse some magazines. They were all hair magazines.
"What this mummy?"
Without really thinking about what I was doing, I explained that ladies like to flick through, looking at the hundreds of hairstyles, to choose which one they would like.
"Oh! Yes!" said Ava. And she began furiously turning the pages, laughing at all the models who had been styled with hair over their eyes, to find her own perfect 'do'. "OOH! I like THIS one!" she said.
I was fascinated with her taste. Her ideal hairstyle, the one she absolutely intended to ask the hairdresser for, was a bleached blond afro, impossibly high, sculpted asymmetrically, with a Union Jack sticking out of one side. I think it was the flag that really did it for her.
"Hmm," I said and, to humour her, asked if I could have a closer look. She excitedly passed me the magazine. "Darling, I'm not sure, this one is really achievable."
"For one thing, look how curly this lady's hair is. You hair is a little bit curly, but I'm not sure it has enough curl to achieve anything quite so... lofty."
She hadn't heard the word 'lofty' before. This was deliberate – blind her with science, I thought.
"And also, this lady's hair is so blonde it is almost white. Your hair is a little bit blonde, but to make it this blonde we would have to..." (I certainly didn't want to reveal, at this crucial stage, that hairdressers do indeed have the power to make one's hair icy white blond) "freeze it." I said.
"Aw." She looked really quite sad and actually gave a little shiver, no doubt imagining what it would be like to stick her head in a freezer.
"And then there is this." I pointed at the Union Jack. "Excuse me," I said to the woman at the counter, "do you have any hair flags?"
She looked a bit weirded out: "Er..."
"Like this one?" I said, pointing at the picture and giving a little wink and a barely discernible shake of my head.
"Oh," she said. "I'm afraid we've run out of those."
"Perhaps," I said to Ava, who literally had her bottom lip sticking out, "we could just get a little trim and then some new hair clips?"
It was enough, thankfully, to appease her. "Ooh, yes – thank you!" she said. And as she sat there, incredibly grown up, staying very still and tilting her head forward when she was told to, I wracked my brains for where we might find a mini Union Jack flag on our way home.
Do you dread hair cut trips? Or is your child a little angel?
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