When I was in Year Six my best friend's name was Julie. She had beautiful long blonde hair and I remember one day combing it with her little red plastic comb as we sat in the classroom. Her hair looked so pretty, shining under the fluorescent lights, almost hypnotic, and I absent mindedly twirled it round and round the comb, as one does with spaghetti on a fork, say.
Later, as I watched my teacher doggedly sawing through the little red plastic comb with a hacksaw and Julie wincing and holding onto her scalp in a vain attempt to stop the pulling, I realised that long hair, although pretty, was at times, also a heavy burden.
Tricky's hair is long and bouncy with soft baby curls framing his face. I love it and although I have trimmed a couple of wispy straight bits from the back that detracted from the general curly goodness, there has been no actual "haircut". This, despite the subtle encouragement of grandmother and even carer, who make comments like...ooh your hair's getting a bit long isn't it?
When Tricky ran his fingers through his locks one day and said to me: My hair Too Long, mine need hair cut, I had to fight fire with fire. After a little coaching he was able to shake his head fetchingly and shoot back Mine have bootiful curls.
Last month we went to a birthday party for twin three year olds and as part of those celebrations the little boy had his hair ritually cut. They are a Jewish family and it was beautiful to be there at this important milestone for their child and to be invited by the rabbi to join in and bless our own children.
I can't help but think it must have been an odd moment for the three year old, with his huge mob of abundant blonde curls, when first his parents and then friends and family in the crowd grabbed the scissors and snipped away but then, life for the toddler is full of odd moments.
In fact life for the forty year old is full of odd moments too.
This morning I ran a fine toothed comb through Tricky's hair. I was pretty sure of what I would find. He's been scratching at his head for a couple of weeks, not manically, just every now and then. Just enough for me to shrug it off as being a debilitating scalp disease or a mild case of galloping shingles. But finally, I could put it off no longer and I reached for the 'Nad's Nit Comb' (with bonus magnifying glass) that I had thrown into the shopping trolley the week before.
As Tricky flicked his Thomas Tank Engine snap cards (there's Gordon! There's james, ooh there's two Jameses) I methodically combed and wiped the debris onto a piece of paper towelling - just as I had seen my sister in law do with the Naughty Nephews time after time.
Outside, the sun was rising, the garbage trucks were rumbling. Black cockatoos swooped and dived. It was not an entirely unpleasant way to spend an early morning.
Just me, my son and the small six legged friends who have taken up residence amongst his follicles.