There she is, my darling, minutes before her Mother decided to take her hair-care into her own naive hands.
It started really without much thought.
She was all bathed and ready for bed, I was sat combing her hair, amidst a flurry of “MUMMY! Owww! Mummy can I watch the iPad?! Mummy this is taking ages!!”.
I was adamant it would NOT take ages, but the more I brushed, the more I acknowledged the fact that this child really needed her hair cut.
She settled down and I found myself reaching for the scissors in my bedside table. (My absolutely-not-designed-for-hair-just-average-household-scissors-scissors).
“Just a VERY quick trim!”
I take a cut. Oh it was SO satisfying. I take a bit more at the back. Fab, happy with the length. This is going great. I swivel her round to take some from the side.
I take some.
In my head: “Opps, that was more than I’d planned. WAY more than at the back?! It’s fine, I’ll just take a little more from the back to even it out. *Takes more*.
“Opps, that’s now REALLY SHORT”.
It slowly dawns on me how much hair I’ve now taken and how much I have to cut from the other side to even it all out.
I thank God she hasn’t yet looked in the mirror.
She looks in the mirror.
“MUMMY?! MUMMY THAT’S NOT ME?! THAT’S NOT ME THAT’S NOT MAIA!!”.
I don’t remember what else she said because guilt had taken over me by that point.
WHAT HAD I DONE.
Reassurances given that night to my traumatised darling include:
“It looks absolutely beautiful”.
“It really suits you”.
“It’s much much neater than before”. (Definitely true).
“It will grow back REALLY fast”.
“You can still put it up!”
“Mummy will NEVER touch your hair ever again”.
I apologised, but also didn’t want her to think of it as a right royal mistake, so maintained the view it was a positive step and her face and hair are beautiful enough to pull off absolutely anything.
She made reference to it all the following morning (just how she didn’t like her ponytail anymore and that it “felt different”). But after that it was mercifully forgotten.
I on the other hand still get a pang of guilt every time I see the small mound of hair in our bedroom bin.