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15 years of experiments
15 years of experiments
Scott Dunlop

Hello again amazing parents,

Some scientists take decades to develop their theories into something useful, and I can relate. You see, I have been attempting to cut my son’s hair for fifteen years and only now do I feel that I’m getting anywhere. I don’t condone lab experiments on animals, and, to my shame, nor do I condone some of the awful hairstyles he’s had to endure.

I have snipped his ear with scissors and left him looking as though he’s been savaged by rabid badgers. Attempted to sort out a plague of nits by cutting the stubborn things out. I have cut his hair in the wind leading to chronic sneezing on his part (have you ever tried to cut someone’s hair when they’re sneezing at random intervals? Can you say “holes”?). But, finally, I am getting there. Just in time for him to start going to a real hairdresser.

That’s parenting, hey? The fruits of our labours seem to ripen just as we’re no longer needed.

There’s a sense that we’re preparing them for a life beyond us. Giving them the skills to survive as if their parents had been sucked up into alien spacecraft and they have to know how to make a fire using two ice lolly sticks and a piece of Lego. Sure, the only food they will be able to make is a pancake with syrup, but that’s more or less survival.

It’s not too late with my younger children. I can still get them mastering haute cuisine and even making that elusive perfect cup of coffee. Or, at the very least, migrating their clothes to the dirty laundry basket. Baby steps.

You may think I seem a bit callous in referring to my children as “experiments”. The thing is, I know what outcome I’d like to see, but the formula for getting there isn’t always clear. I know the funding for the experiments dried up some time ago, but I press on, boldly, intrepidly. Mad scientists, all of us.

To their credit, my little experiments don’t complain too much. They’re a little unhappy with me if I say “oops” when cutting their hair, but otherwise they’re quite encouraging. They’ll proclaim that some extremely dodgy culinary invention was “delicious”, when I all I can see is an imaginary Gordon Ramsay screaming at me “YE CALL THAT FOOOOOD?”. They’ll enjoy the tiniest things we do with an enthusiasm that’s entirely out of perspective. Kids. Slow to highlight our mistakes, quick to appreciate our successes.

Compared to when I started, I only have a few years left in the parenting lab, so now’s the time to put on the lab coat and practice my evil villain laugh.

Have a great time experimenting with your kids!

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