When the kids are playing together and Claire suddenly starts crying, it's a safe assumption some sibling-scuffling has occurred.
"Claire, what happened?" we ask.
"Kate!" she replies.
Yes, Kate happened. That's a good explanation for a lot of things.
Sometimes she'll add, "Kate . . . there," pointing to the spot on her body that was pinched or shoved. (Though we generally discourage eye-for-an-eye retaliation, I was kind of amused to learn upon picking the kids up at grandparents last week that the bruise under Kate's eye was due to Claire having had enough of Kate's domination!)
Kate happened again this weekend, and Claire tells the story so well.
"Claire, did you get a haircut?" asked her teacher.
"Kate . . . scissors . . . there," she replied.
Yes, we had a new rite of passage on Sunday morning, when I came downstairs after getting myself ready for church. Since it's a workday for Matt, he's out the door while the rest of us are still in our pajamas, and I end up getting all four of us girls ready by myself (and blowing into church at the very last minute because I'm vainly trying to soak up every minute of weekendishness, sipping coffee and watching the Today show and playing with the kids). Thus, the kiddos were dressed in their Sunday best and unattended while I got myself cleaned up.
I came downstairs, and when I bent over to get BGC off her play mat, I noticed some clumps of long(ish--longer than BGC's, at least) hair on the floor.
In about ten seconds, an entire episode of preschool-CSI went through my head. The hair is golden-brown, so it must be Claire's...either child could have done it...wait, does Claire have the scissor-skills yet to successfully cut through hair? . . . probably not . . . which child is more likely to have indulged such a naughty impulse?
"Kate?!" I accused. Her silence indicated guilt.
"Claire, did Kate cut your hair?"
"Kate!" she said.
"Where?" I asked.
Kate had to point it out, and I still didn't really see it. Claire's hair is so shaggy that I really couldn't even tell where it had been cut. As I dropped the kids off in the church nursery, I noticed a small section in the back, but had trouble finding it again.
To my credit, I was pretty calm. Mainly because hair-cutting is such a rite of passage that so many kids commit, and since the damage wasn't severe, I kept my cool and told her that was not a good thing to do, and that if she ever did that again, there would be consequences.
Even when the girls' hair has needed just a slight trim, I have resisted trying to cut it myself, largely because I didn't want to set any sort of precedent that cutting hair outside of a hair salon was acceptable. And yet, there was no warding off this rite of passage. It comes for us all. I'm just glad no one had to get an emergency hair cut to repair the damage.