A Scalp and Two Calves.

When I gave birth to Ruskin in 1996 I likened the experience to a kind of death and re-birth. It wasn't that the event was traumatic, it was a great home-birth, but the feeling of the immense difference before and after 11.49 on the 7th of October was almost too vast to comprehend. I had the feeling that he too was transformed at that moment, cells that were somehow in flux settling into a boy-child as he breathed his first air.

Anton and Neve's early days felt quite different in that I felt their growth as much more continuous, pace and progress uninterrupted by the transition from inside to out. Watching all the children together, wearing little due to the heat, I feel so moved simply by the quantity of skin that began as cells inside me. When they cuddle together, or wrestle gently, I watch the shades and sheen of their bodies in awe.

I have always loved Ruskin's calves, loved watching the smooth muscularity of them as he jumped, danced and ran as a small child. They have not changed so much, they are longer and larger of course, but they have retained the shape they had a decade ago and I still love to watch them as he swims and dives.

Anton's hair is like golden linen. The reddish fluff he was born with surprised us by becoming lighter than that of his Scandinavian cousins. Touching it has been a reminder of how large the changes in him have been since I first held his slithery body. Living in Turkey his hair has also been something of a (better kind of) curse. His mop of yellow could attract people from across the street to touch it and take photos, many times a day. A couple of months ago we knew that a haircut was in order, it was in his eyes and inviting more attention than a nearly three year old needs. I tried to get the job done in England but Anton made such a fuss that even Lloyd, who has cut very many Cooke crops, refused.

Today we decided to get it done whatever. And whatever was so much screaming and kicking (yes, we had tried reasoning!) that the barber told Ville in a hurried conversation that the only thing he could do accurately was shave it. I didn't understand what had been said so watched in shock as Anton's scalp was exposed. Ruskin couldn't bear to watch. When it was done I picked up the hair from the floor and stuffed it in a bag, unable to abandon the strands I had watched grow with such pleasure.

Of course we are already getting used to our little baldy and are enjoying seeing his features so clearly. And we are very glad we won't need to think about a haircut for a long time.

The evening before the haircut:

Vapurs at Karaköy

Ramadan lightbulb messages.

Lighting a candle in St. Antoine's Catholic Cathedral, Istiklal Street.

Anton's haircut:

'I will have to shave it'

I can hardly look.

Discarded gold linen.

Anton's scalp, Ruskin's calves and Neve's eyes:

The look of love.

Pine-needle wig.

Chris diving, vapur passing.

Little girl, big girl.

Love you Neve.

From cute to beautiful.

In my arms.

Anton giving Ruskin water.

Our little baldy drinking.


Ruskin diving.

Fabulous first born.

A scalp and two calves.

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5 thoughts on “A Scalp and Two Calves.

  1. Oh Julia, I would have cried! To see those locks falling upon the floor! (I too have a blond-locked little fellow and I can't imagine him without his curls.) I'm not sure how you managed to keep your composure while you snapped a photo. :-) He does have a sweet little face and now perhaps his hair won't draw so much attention. How does he feel about his new hair-do?

    Those first two night scenes are so beautiful! And I love little Neve sleeping so peacefully in your arms. Baby bliss.

  2. How shocking it must have been to expect a haircut and instead get a bald child! I would have been picking up the locks of hair, too. He wears it well, though :)

  3. Oh, I remember the day my husband shaved my baby boy's hair. It's a very wrenching moment! Still, your Anton looks quite adorable still. :) Isn't it amazing how it's all the little details about them that we love as mothers? And there is no one else on earth we love that way...

  4. Thanks for your comments and understanding. I just woke up to see a boy who looked completely different the day before! I am sure we will get used to it in a few days and Anton has got over the initial shock, though straight after he was screaming 'Give me my yellow hair back'. Not my favourite moment!

  5. I'm loving getting to know your family through your blog! It is such a shock to have your little one's head freshly shorn - though I will say he looks happy to have such a cool head at the beach! Looks like your two sons are nearly a decade apart - my sister and I are as well (I'm the older) and, thought it took many years, we are so grateful for the relationship we have now. It must be wonderful to watch them together!


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