Big cuts

Lots of trimming, but the curls remain.

Hadley got her first haircut on Tuesday. I was definitely more nervous than she was — mostly because she didn’t grasp what was happening until I helped secure her in Kristan’s chair. Having a friend who is also a stylist means we can pop over to her house for cuts in a friendly, low-key setting.

Oliver has done OK with this, but I was nervous for Hadley. Ollie was two and a half before we first trimmed his curls, but his hair was much slower to grow. Hadley is a hair bear. We had no particular plan for when to set up this appointment, but her thick curls have been hot and challenging in the summer heat. It was time.

Ms. Lady will not tolerate anyone touching her “pony hair” — except her teachers, apparently. Hadley comes home from daycare with her tresses pulled back in a bun or braided or pulled into a topknot. Adorable! Stylish! But the second she even sees me reaching for a hair tie, it’s an all-out wrestling match. Not happening.

What do her teachers do differently? What’s the secret? I’ve asked, but there is no magic formula. Parenthood in a nutshell.

Hadley watched her brother fuss as he went first Tuesday, thrashing around despite knowing exactly what was going to happen. Ollie is always full of swagger after the haircut is done, but the process can be . . . challenging.

Thankfully, Kristan is a pro — and handles wily kids all the time. She got Oliver dusted off and turned our sights to baby girl. I’d already prepped Kristan by saying Hadley usually doesn’t let me comb her hair without a fuss, so I was prepared for battle. But this wasn’t our stylist’s first rodeo. The trick seems to be working quickly and offering continual distractions.

Spence and I have been talking to Hadley about her first “big girl cut” for days now, and watching a particular episode of “Sesame Street” for even longer. In one storyline, Julia is afraid to get her hair trimmed; her friends help by demonstrating how easy and painless it can be.

Sensing Hadley’s discomfort, Kristan’s husband magically produced “Julia’s Haircut” on their big-screen TV near the styling station. We followed along in real time as Kristan spritzed her hair, combed through and separated her curls, etc. There were a few dicey moments, but I never worried we’d have to call the whole thing off. Hadley sat relatively still and let Kristan work her magic.

Ultimately, Hadley seems thrilled with her shorter ’do — and I no longer feel hot just looking at her. I know it’s a complete projection on my part, but I can’t stand my own curls sitting damp against my neck. Summertime is for ponytails and messy buns. Looking at my daughter’s sweaty head made me feel like I’d wrapped up in a wool blanket myself.

Maybe it was just my imagination, but Hadley seemed bouncier the next day. Kristan trimmed a few inches off and saved a special curl for us. I’ll tuck it in the pages of the baby book I’ve been meaning to update for months now . . . along with the photos taken Tuesday of Hadley’s trademark scowl, already destined to be family classics.

The best part? Hadley’s curls are still curly. The baby-fine hair is just as soft, but less unmanageable. She even let me finger-comb it Wednesday morning.

Well — to a point. My daughter is still herself: sassafras look, hand on hip.

It’s OK. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Twitter: @rightmeg