Have now got much better responses from the company and hairdresser apologising for the whole debacle. I am finding the whole thing less of a horrible memory now and will just have to put it down to a unfortunate circumstances.
I finally emailed the company to explain what happened and how upset we were by the whole thing. Someone called Laura responded with,
“Unfortunately the hairdressers is a completely separate business to ours. However I will pass this complaint on to her.”
Whilst I understand that the hairdresser is mobile and is a different business to Antz in your Pantz, I did only find her because her services were advertised on THEIR website. The hairdresser herself mentions the soft play constantly in her online promotion so it also wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility that someone would think she was an employee or was under the same insurance as Antz in your Pants, for example.
What I do actually find the most annoying with the above short response, is the cold response. If it were me, I would definitely apologise or at least express some sympathy that a child was upset and had such a poor experience on my company premises, and I hope you visit again…no. The above reply is apparently all we’re worth.
So here is a quick review of Antz in Your Pantz in Timperley for you (the Todder section) – The venue is huge and spacious, which is a plus. The coffee is average, and they seem to have a lot of young staff (teenage girls) who wander around gloomily, collecting cups and chucking toys back into the play pens. The toddler section isn’t really anything – just a big padded space with some spongy toys and lots of plastic Fisher Price type toys (play table, mini trampoline, slide etc.) There is little by the way of installations in comparison to my favourite soft play by far in Greater Manchester, Head over Heels in Chorlton, who offer a mini ball pool, an air blaster thing that suspends the balls in the air, lots of tunnels, mirrors, foam installations the kids can ride on and bounce on and a wonderful sensory room. Basically, it doesn’t rely on a ton of plastic toys for entertainment – it’s too Toys’r'us for me. So would I return for the soft play experience? No, there’s better soft play areas out there IMO.
“She’s so cute” people kept telling me when they saw Baby H…and that’s when I knew, my son, with his wispy long girly hair was due a hair cut. His first hair cut in fact!
I was looking around for a specialist kid’s hairdressers in Manchester, and as I have no regular spot myself I wanted someone who dealt with little ones regularly. Searching on Google, I found one place which never picked up their phone, another lovely looking salon in Cheshire (almost an hour away, so a bit too far) and then finally, another hairdresser, located in a Soft Play place came up.
I found the hairdresser’s number on Netmums, and got in touch, eager to get H sorted soon – his hair curling into is ears making him itch occasionally. Sure enough she had space for the weekend so we made our way over.
In the chair…
Now…this place (called Antz in Your Pantz, should you ever feel the need to visit soft play in Manchester) was a good 35 minute drive away and with heavy traffic we were about 15 minutes late in total, but of course I let the hairdresser know.
I should say, the soft play place was a pretty decent one (we’ve become experts in the last few months!) – very spacious, the parent crowd seem quite nice (trust me, rowdy parents = rowdy kids), and there’s lots of space for the 1 year olds to crawl around, although there’s a lack of interesting instalments (such as a ball pool or tunnels) for them. I digress.
So we made our way upstairs to the hairdressers – I thought it might’ve just been a mobile hairdresser working from the location but it looked to me like a proper little mini salon, with a TV in the corner playing cBeebies, mirrors, and a (unstable looking) chair for kids. It wasn’t swish looking, but it did look fit for purpose.
Now…what then happened afterwards is still haunting me 24 hours afterwards and I really did have to take a break before looking at the photographs again.
The hairdresser strapped him in, sprayed his hair, then started working right away.
(The whole thing took about 10 minutes in the end, so it all happened so quickly before I could even think clearly, but it is only now in hindsight I feel quite angry about how everything played out.)
She began snipping at the top – H was a little impatient, but we gave him a biscuit and started dancing around to try and entertain him but he was upset…this was new to him.
[I am not going to put any more pictures of the cut on here because it actually makes me feel sad looking at them].
He started to fuss and cry. I was taking photographs at that point so Mr C was calming him down, showing him games on his phone and so on. He was crying and fussing but nothing majorly dramatic. The hairdresser didn’t stop at all to take a break, she didn’t take a breath, except to ask Mr C to hold his head. He tried but H wiggled anyway.
Baby H is extremely strong for his age and determined…whilst you can try and guide a child’s head, to restrain him so that his head is completely still isn’t going to happen unless you are willing to twist their neck. So, baby H continued to wiggle and the hairdresser continued to quickly cut.
Funnily enough at this point I started to look around the salon; there were toys all around and I was looking for something to distract him with, but as most parents will know, once a child gets too worked up, they aren’t going to calm down easily.
I really didn’t want to attack the hairdresser but the fact is, she didn’t stop at any point to comfort H, or just to give him a moment to calm down. She didn’t even seem to like us using our own way of calming him down (instead of continuing to cut, she should’ve given us a moment just to relax him but I was just getting worried that she would cut him if he continued to wiggle).
Don’t get me wrong – as parents it is our job to calm him down of course, but there’s a big difference in someone who can communicate with children and be sweet and charming, and someone who just seems to have no connection with kids whatsoever. It doesn’t take much…a nurse can say to Baby H, ‘Hello darling’ and he immediately cracks a big cheeky smile – it’s that small connection that makes a big difference. We didn’t have it here at all.
As she moved towards his ears, I couldn’t hack it anymore so swapped positions with Mr C – it was at this point she told me to hold his head still and then pointed out some blood which was at the top of his ear – ‘He’s got a cut….it won’t bother him’ she said…(this didn’t actually fully sink in until afterwards) as I dabbed away the blood and then became EXTREMELY stressed out when she came near him and especially his poor little ears.
She looked visibly annoyed when I couldn’t hold his head still (he is seriously very strong), “Hold his head still” she repeated. To be honest I was getting quite irritated by her at this point because as I said earlier – you cannot restrain a little toddler’s head dead still, not unless you want to cause injury. I had absolutely no interest in hurting him so he could get a hair cut - it’s just a hair cut at the end of the day.
Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That
“I’m going to have to hold him” I said, as I removed him from the chair. Poor Baby H was so upset, I was done but she told me to sit on the adult chair with him on my knee as she didn’t have very much more to do. He was much calmer in my arms until she got near him again with her clippers to neaten up the ears and the back. He was screaming and wriggling now, and I just knew it was ENOUGH, uneven hair or not.
She had finished just at that moment and scooted off to behind the till immediately and I cuddled him and walked around the salon to calm him down. I didn’t feel like we had a single moment to just soothe him because she was stood there glaring, waiting to be paid (to clarify, there weren’t any other kids waiting for a cut) and she didn’t have anything to say really, like, Will he be ok? How is his ear (THAT I CUT!!!)? Etc. Maybe I am being sensitive, but the whole thing was such a cold experience.
I feel guilty now as I should’ve stopped her when she cut his ear but she was so incredibly blasé about it that we thought, IS this what happens when babies go to the hairdressers? She looked like she’d seen hysterical, screaming, crying, wiggling babies all day long so we kept thinking, what if it this is normal? I didn’t want to be that over protective mother, but the fact is, he is only one, and a complete stranger tugging at his hair is bound to stress him out.
I had this same feeling when taking H for his vaccinations, but the nurses are kind and they’re actually necessary. This is just a hair cut and if I had any indication it would be this horrid, I would let his hair grow like rapunzel or cut it myself (this is what I will be doing now until he is old enough to go to the salon with his daddy!).
As I said earlier, the whole thing was actually over very quickly, in 10 minutes and we paid £6 for it. It wasn’t till we left the salon and sat down I realised I was shaking and close to tears. The whole experience was so rushed and H was unhappy throughout and so were we – it wasn’t until afterwards we got to digest what happened. I am sure that cutting a child’s hair is no easy task at all, but why call yourself a kid’s hairdresser if you can’t handle it?
I inspected him afterwards and I am not happy about his cut ear and the back of his neck also has marks – another scab and some lines which look like light grazes. This is what happens when you cut a child hair that is clearly wiggling too much to have his hair cut. If it were me, I’d try and calm them the child down. If they wouldn’t calm down I would stop and ask the parents to bring them back another day because it’s just not worth causing injury, not keep chopping as fast as possible. Right???!
To make things worse, Mother Candy (my mum) and Auntie saw baby H later and said that his hair was uneven (to be expected) and looked too ‘straight’ around the ears! Can’t win!
Anyway here is my beautiful boy with a bit of baby Wax (Original Sprout) in his new hair:
Will I go back to Antz in Your Pantz for a hair cut: NO. Would I recommend them? Sorry, NO. Maybe older kids will fare better.
So that was our very unexpected and traumatic first hair cut experience for Baby H. From now on I will trim his hair at home even if it takes hours!
I would really recommend home cutting for any parent of a little one, unless they’re going to a hairdresser which has come recommended by a friend or is absolutely used to dealing with kids and is aware it may take some time just to cut a few wisps of hair.
What was your child’s first hair cut experience like? Did your child get injured in the process?