Yesterday Stephen got a haircut. Every time we go it is the same thing, I have to explain what he wants because he is unable to talk to the person about to cut his hair. Why? Because they might yell at him? Because they might ask him difficult questions he cannot answer? Because they might say, ‘that is stupid, I’m not going to cut your hair that way. Now sit down and be quiet while I do what I want with your hair!’?
No, it is none of those reasons. It is because he doesn’t want to. He doesn’t know them (even though it is the same place we go every time and usually the same three people working there each time.)
But, this time I didn’t even go. We sent Stephen (almost 15) and his older brother (almost 18) on their own. I tried to give Stephen instructions on what to say. He wouldn’t listen. All he kept saying (whining, really) was, ‘they’re strangers, stranger danger” (he was joking, but in the way that one does when joking about something that really hints at the root of what you’re afraid of). I offered to tell his older brother what to say and Stephen said that would be weird. (At least we agreed on that one!) I still wasn’t backing down. He was going to have to communicate to the person cutting his hair what he wanted done. So, I offered to text the instructions to him. I thought, I can text it and he can just read it off the phone–that way, he knows exactly what to say and won’t forget anything if he gets nervous.
A little while later the boys arrived home. Dad was happy because the hair was short enough. Mom was happy because she didn’t have to go. Brother was happy because Stephen didn’t have a meltdown at the hair place. Stephen was happy because it was over. So, they all lived happily ever after … until the next time when Stephen forgets that he did so well going to get his haircut without mom’s assistance, but mom REMEMBERS.