Max with mohawk

Our son is shy. He can be painfully shy. He often is uncomfortable even speaking to adults he sees regularly. My husband and I both remember being the same way as kids. In fact, I remember wishing I could disappear when spoken to. My grandparents’ neighbors offering up cookies and compliments and me desperately wishing I could vanish. So we both get it, but it still frustrates us. We’re working to explain there is a difference between being shy and being rude. When someone we know speaks to him, it is not okay to ignore them. Of course the harder they try, the more reluctant he is to connect. We are working on it.

He has recently made noticeable progress and I dare say he might be coming out of his shell. Still though, his recent request for a blue Mohawk surprised me. I asked him if he understood that people would surely look and comment if he had such a hairstyle and would he be comfortable when they did. His response filled me with pride. He said he didn’t care if people looked or commented, “let them look, I don’t care, I just think its cool.” In an age of kids imitating and conforming, I welcomed this unexpected surge of individuality.

We set off in search of blue hair gel. Which for the record is not easy to find. Every possible color of hair dye imaginable is easy to access, but less permanent options are scarce . Thankfully, Sally’s Beauty Supply had tubes of colored hair gel. In the couple months since we’ve experimented with styles and added red gel to our repertoire. People do look and comment. So far, other than one of his grandmothers, all of the comments have been positive. Everywhere we go people tell him how cool his hair is. This past weekend he amped it up a bit and went with a two-tone Mohawk (red on one side and blue on the other). Who knew he had this bold streak?

He asked if he could wear a colored Mohawk on the first day of school and he was surprised when I said yes. Being comfortable in your own skin is a gift and if he is confident with his hair bright and spiky, I say go for it. One of my favorite parts of this little adventure is people asking him if he got his hair done at one of those kid’s hair cut places, a party, or a festival. He shakes his head no and says “my mom did it.” They then tell him what a cool mom he has. His response, “I know.” It makes me happy that I can help him feel good about himself. If only it remained as simple as a hairstyle.

For the record, I won’t be taking him in for piercings or tattoos anytime soon. We believe in dressing nice for church. There are plenty of wardrobe choices that I would have a really hard time with. There are limits, but in my mind this phase is pretty harmless.

Today is picture day at school and I sent my son to school with blue-tipped Mohawk per his request. The resulting first grade photo will be cherished (and likely laughed at) for years to come.

What things have you done for your kids that you never imagined doing?