I can't help it: I am hopelessly sentimental about my kid's hair. He's got really NICE hair, you see. It's sandy blond and thick and curly – so much nicer than mine – but hairdressers seem to have some kind of grudge against it.
They lop it off as if hair on a child is some kind of a terrible affliction. "You don't want all that thick hair," says the hairdresser, as swathes of golden locks fall to the floor. "You'll be too hot in the summer."
"BUT IT'S MY BABY'S HAIR" I want to scream, "he's not an f***** sheep!"
And then I realise that my 'baby' is six, and I am a crazy woman at the hairdressers, and I have to pretend it doesn't bother me. But it does. At the end of every haircut I can feel this aching frustration that once again they've made him look like a 16-year-old on remand for nicking a Vauxhall Astra.
When I asked parents about it, I was expecting a lot of empathetic cooing over lost baby curls. But instead I got a surprising 50-50 split between long-haired lovers and mums who were totally happy to get their kids shorn like Buddhist monks. Actually, many people were really unemotional about it, which made me feel like a lunatic.
"Joe loves going to the barbers and requests 'spiky'," says my friend Anna. "As I am not sentimental about anything, I'm quite happy to take him. I quite like reading the tabloids while he gets snipped."
"I care as little about their hair as I do my own. If it comes off, it comes off. My daughter took it into her own hands one day when she was two, and lopped all her beautiful ringlets off in one go. She looked FABULOUS afterwards," says Lucy.
"We've gone skinhead," adds Cath, mother of three. "No fear of nits, no need for hairdressers and the potential to include some kind of tramline/Spiderman design for added chav. I'm totally unsentimental about it - a friend of mine nearly divorced her husband after he cut off their kid's ringlets though."
Personally, I'm with the friend – but I wouldn't get a divorce – I would just murder him with the blunt end of my hair straighteners. And I'm not alone in my strong feelings. Indeed, the long hair advocates are as fervent about keeping their kids out of the barber's chair as the happy clippers are about getting them chopped.
"I love Edwyn's long hair," says my pal Claire. "I have a pile of recent snippings still sat on the bathroom windowsill. No-one seems to mind. I like that people think he's a girl too. My beautiful little boy-girl."
"My oldest son refuses to get his hair cut, " says Ella. "Luckily I love it, and he has the sort of poker straight hair women would kill for. He looks like a mini Brian Jones. My youngest also has long hair but in ringlets, usually containing egg and jam. I love long hair on little ones."
Jo says: "My eight-year-old son hasn't had a haircut for about two to three years - it's a tangly nit haven but we both love his hair long. I wonder if this is some sort of aftermath of my teen rocker days though!"
I wonder whether I have a long-haired 90s rocker hangover, too. I still remember when all the good looking boys at uni got their hair cut, and I realised that without all that lovely hair, they actually all looked like potatoes. Maybe I equate hair with attractiveness?
And maybe there's also a bit of snobbery at work. When I see a Mohawk, or a kid with lots of gel in his hair, or a number 1 buzz cut with tramlines, my heart sinks.
"There are a couple of wee boys at my son's day centre with very severe haircuts, and I know it's way easier to maintain, and I'm gonna sound proper middle class, but they look like thugs. Tiny thugs," admits Ella.
"I share Ella's middle class prejudice against severe, shaven thug cuts..." adds Ida.
And to be honest, so do I. Terrible isn't it? I mean, it's not like the Boden-clad kids with tangled hair down to their shoulders are any better behaved – in fact they can be a lot worse.
But the skinhead connotations are hard to shift, and having a Nike swoosh carved into their bonce is the junior equivalent of a 'love'/'hate' tattoo on their knuckles. (And let's face it, there are probably some kids out there with both.)
Even so, I know I need to get over it. Hair is hair. Long, short, middle class, working class, buzz-cut or skuzzy. It's just HAIR. "It grows back," Lucy shrugs. "It's not like an arm or something."
I think I'll always be protective of the stuff on my child's head, though – I'll never be able to relinquish control. And when he's a teenager and comes home with a green perm, I'm going to be one of those mums who screams and cries for a week.
Never mind that I once came home with ¾ of my head wet shaved and the rest of it in dreads. Or dyed pillar box red. And orange. And purple. And pink...
More on Parentdish: Extreme haircuts on children: too much, too young?
More:Is It Just Me?
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