Thursday, January 10, 2013

Life Without a Helmet

FYI: I rescind many of my cheerful statements of the other day. Being sick can be nice and give some much needed R&R, but being sick with a baby who (thankfully) got over it in the speed of light... Not as welcome. Not saying that I've got it bad, because you moms who wrangle a toddler while sick, let alone MORE than one child, are superheroes. Remind me to take all my vitamins and shots and homeopathic treatments from now until my kids are in school. That's right. No more sickness for the next eight years!

Besides battling sickness on our home front, we've also come head to head with our first dilemma of parenting: to helmet or not to helmet.

You see, our dear, beautiful child has a little bit of a flat spot on the back of his head. It's like putty that smooshed sideways a smidge and just needs to be smoothed back. Sadly though, skulls don't work that way and instead take time to change. We've worked at lessening it for the past five months or so, somewhat effectively, but it still remains. (The baby baldness doesn't do much good for the whole effect, either.) After HOURS of deliberation and back and forths and professional opinions, we decided on the helmet-less route. I could wax on and on about all the details and facts, but the helmet isn't really the topic on my mind, it's the lesson I'm learning along the way.

One of the specialists we saw said that if she had a child, she did not believe she'd helmet. Ya know, that's a pretty big "if." I think there are many things you can prepare for with babies- feeding, changing, washing, playing, holding. Just being around children for years gave me the sense that most things are small and not to be worried about. (No huge freak outs over here. Well, not yet that is. ;)) But one of the biggest things that I was in no way prepared for was realizing that I am responsible for a small human's future, beyond just getting him there alive.

It all starts with choosing a name. The defining factor of a person. Often the first bit of you that is shown to others. (The name still gets me thinking, and we're eight months in!) Then come the decisions such as this. Decisions that could affect friendships, teasing opportunities, even Hollywood acting gigs! Or maybe not. Maybe it won't be a big thing. Children will find something, anything, to tease about and there is only so much we can do. So what, as a parent, do you sign up for?

I signed up to take care of a child. I chose to be there for him from the beginning, to give him a safe and healthy growing environment full of love, support, knowledge, and help. I signed up knowing that freedom is a big part of development, to let him take control of himself often to learn how something is done. I chose a lifetime of listening, assisting, and watching from the sidelines as mistakes and victories are made.

I hope that all we put in helps shape a wonderful human being. A perfectly imperfect person who we will try to take some credit for, but who is an individual in charge of his own choices. We can try to give him the best start possible, and we are, but it only goes so far. While the idea of giving him a perfectly round head sounds wonderful, it is also unrealistic. And maybe that's a good thing. Maybe it's a lesson in learning to accept what makes us unique and human. It certainly is a lesson in navigating potential guilt-inducing choices.

I don't think this is what he will "hate" us for. I think once hair grows in and his skull grows more, it won't even be noticeable. Everybody has imperfections, and I see that as a good thing. We will love him unconditionally and do what we can to raise him in a confidence-building environment, making sure he knows how wonderful he is across the board.

And in the end, I'm sure there will be a point where he informs us of numerous other ways in which we failed. But we will be able to say that we did our best, took all information given and went with what we thought was right.

What more can truly be expected?

And since I can't resist throwing in a few quick facts anyway :)... 

**Head shape can vary drastically in degree. As said above, we took professional opinions to make our decision. His is mild, purely cosmetic, and will likely result in the same outcome with or without a helmet. It might be a gut-wrenching decision to make, but it is an informed one.**



  1. I'm with you: these decisions are SO tough. (I still struggle with the name thing too!) But if you're informed about your decision and you've made the best one you can, then you can have peace about it. Thank goodness it's just a cosmetic issue either way!

  2. As a pediatric physical therapist, I deal with issue occasionally. It is most often purely cosmetic, thank goodness! I have had a few kids with significant physical delays (hence the unusual pressure on their skull) whose head shape caused them to have difficulties with head control when laying on their back. As soon as they are able to hold their head better in supported sitting, then that became much less of an issue, and there was often some spontaneous remodeling of the skull.

    Anyway, I think you are correct in being well informed, making a decision, and then letting it go. He looks QUITE handsome to me!


Comments are kinda the best and brighten my day! :)

And psst... I'd really love to write back, but usually do so through email, so I hope you're not a no-reply commenter!