Month of new beginnings. Sorrow at the ending of festivities. Cold, dark days. And the long, sober lull before springtime arrives and exciting things start to happen again.
In our house, January often brings with it the urge to put ourselves through an MOT. So, Austin and Gwen’s Round of a claw for this month involves two milestones: a team trip to the dentist, and the Mumcut.
Apart from a light trim of her fringe, Gwen’s hair had never been cut. And – despite the fact that D and I both like long, scruffy hair on little boys – Austin’s untended barnet had grown so unkempt that could no longer be described as a ‘fetchingly floppy-haired offspring of two ageing indie kids’ group. No, instead his haircut (or lack of) shrieked: ‘this child’s parents really can’t be arsed’. Even his pre-school teacher had started dropping hints that it might be time for a trim.
So, out came the shears, and a Mumcut was administered to both children (who are pictured above, Austin post-cut and Gwen waiting her turn to be attacked by Mum’s inexpert scissor-hands).
It’s funny how – even without a pudding bowl to guide me – the haircuts both ended up being unmistakeably bowl-shaped. And, although I’d set out with the intention of leaving Gwen’s hair longer at the back, she ended up with almost exactly the same haircut as Austin.
Here she is, modelling the look, with biscuity reward smeared all over her face.
As well as Gwen’s first haircut ever, and the Pigeon Pair’s first group Mumcut, this month we all trekked off to the dentist together, our first visit as a mini-flock.
The excited twosome played their usual stair-based game of ‘sit together and stamp our feet very hard’ before we set off, giving me hope that youthful exuberance would help them overlook the fact that someone peering into your mouth – and poking at it with metallic instruments – is unquestionably a grim experience.
We started off well, with Austin doing his best to overcome any nerves at what, to him, must have felt like the first time ever at the dentist. I hadn’t taken either of them since Gwen was born, and Austin had no memory of his last visit. It’s been consigned, by him, to the dusty annals of his toddler history, kept lodged in Mum’s mind (it only seems five minutes ago to me), along with those other things I thought he’d still be able to remember.
Like breastfeeding Gwen. It’s only ten months since I stopped, and now he says he can’t remember me feeding her at all.
But I digress. And, in actual fact, he did remember something. It was the sticker.
You could probably convince most children between the ages of two and five that many hideous experiences – like, say, having the inside of their nostrils tickled by an electric toothbrush – were fun, just so long as they were presented with a sticker at the end of it.
Sticker or not, I don’t think Gwen would have stood for too much poking and prodding. Luckily she was spared much of an ordeal by a kindly dentist who recognised the dazed bewilderment on her face as a warning that too much exploration would lead to howls of misery. So all she had to endure was a quick ‘open-wide’ and a mirror perched gently on her lip. She was allowed to play with it afterwards, too.
Our trip to the dentist would have been a complete success if we’d stopped there, but it was my turn next. Gwen sobbed, and Austin comforted, while my teeth were cleaned; afterwards, I found out from both children that they’d been scared of the noise, and worried about what the dentist and her assistant ‘were doing to Mummy’.
But, aside from the children’s terror at what looked like their Mum being tortured, we had a good afternoon out.
After all, stickers were presented right at the end, and I’m hoping their restorative powers will help wipe any trauma and dentist-based phobias out of Austin and Gwen’s tiny little minds.
So, for facing down the January blues, with your shiny new Mumcuts and your gleaming pearly whites, Austin and Gwen I give you: A Round of a Claw*.
*’A round of a claw’ is what Austin has learnt to call a round of applause. For more about its origin, visit month one, April 2013.