This evening Scott came home from work late.  Usually when he walks in the door from the office, Addison is in her high chair eating, I’m in the kitchen cooking and Oliver runs to door with a wagging tail ready to get his ears rubbed before the women of the house command Dad’s attention for the rest of the night.  This evening was different though, because Scott stopped off to get a hair cut on the way home from work.  Tonight when he walked through the door, the three of us were already in the entry way cleaning the floor.  Well, I was cleaning the floor, Addison was chewing on a wet face cloth and Oliver was panting in my face.

Scott didn’t even get his keys out of the door before Addison’s bottom lip stuck out and she buried her face into my shoulder, sobbing.  I first thought that her strange reaction to seeing her father walk in from work was because we had disrupted the schedule.  She wasn’t in her high chair, or in the kitchen with me.  Or maybe it was Oliver’s excitement that had scared her.  I looked at Scott; we were both baffled.

I pried Addison’s finger nails out of my shoulder and extracted her face from my neck long enough to determine that she wasn’t physically hurt.  There were no new bumps or bruises.  No blood, no swollen lips.  She caught another glimpse of her father during my inspection and out came the pout.  And the tears. Again.

I vividly remember my own father coming home one night with his mustache shaved clean off.  I was young,  6 or 7, and my sister was somewhere in that black hole surrounding the age of 16.  When Dad walked through the door that night I knew something was different about him, but I couldn’t place it.  My sister on the other hand, took one look at him and flew up the stairs in a fit, ranting something along the lines of, “How could you do this?”  Teenage girls can be so dramatic.  At 6 years old, I wasn’t exactly getting into hysterics over my Father’s clean-shaven face.  In fact, it wasn’t until later when he fell asleep and I was able to more closely scrutinize his face that I realized what was different.  My only observation to my mother that night was, “Dad looks like a monkey.”

Addison not only noticed the subtle change in her Dad’s appearance today, but she was petrified of it.  She knew he was her Dad, but he was different and she didn’t like it one bit.  This isn’t the first haircut he’s had since she was born but it’s definitely the first one she’s noticed.  I think Addison is so acutely aware of us and her everyday surroundings that when there’s a change it just rocks her world.  She didn’t know how to deal with this change and honestly, we were at a loss ourselves.

For over an hour Addison burst into tears anytime she looked in her father’s general direction; not just whining, but a slow, painful sob.  And then she would look at me like, ‘Why are you doing this to me, Mommy?!?!’ At one point while I was getting dinner on the table – with a crying Addie in a heap on the floor – I found Scott pacing in the formal living room at the front of the house.  “What are you doing?” I asked.  He said, “I don’t know what to do.  I don’t want to scare her anymore.”

I decided it wasn’t practical for us to live in separate sections of the house until his hair grows out, so we all sat down to dinner together.  Addie wouldn’t sit in her high chair because that would mean looking at him and his hair. That was like asking her to eat Brussel Sprouts with Hitler.  She stayed on my lap, her head hidden completely  behind my head, looking into the other room for the entirety of our meal, turning only for quick bites of yogurt.  After dinner it was like someone flipped a switch.  Scott made a goofy face and Addie grinned from the safety of the next room.  Then she looked at him and giggled and that was that.  The episode had passed as quickly as it had come on.  We made an important family decision tonight.  Scott will never go that long between haircuts again.  Also?  Neither one of us will be dressing up for Halloween.

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