We are sitting on the floor of the living room, him on a towel, me kneeling beside him. He’s holding the Ipad, because I had a dream it would distract him and make this easier.
I have run the clippers -- clumsily, inexpertly -- over his left ear and a bit of his neck. He is screaming already, and crying, and pushing my hands away.
“Mikey,” I beg, “Mikey, please, I at least have to do the other ear. It’s totally uneven!”
“No!” he yells, waving his arms. “No!” I turn off the clippers and hug him to calm him down, then attempt to snip around the other ear with scissors instead.
When he was younger, for about a year, he tolerated the kid's haircut place. He sat in the police car-chair, or the fire truck-chair, watched Mickey Mouse during the cut. He hated the loud clippers and usually cried, but the girls could cut his hair in about four minutes flat, so he made it through and picked his sucker -- always pink -- at the end.
Then everything went downhill. Just like at home, the noise of the hairdryers scared him, and he would talk nervously about them for days before we went.