The Helmet

 My son has a helmet. Of course, I don’t like it. It stinks (literally), and it is a hassle to change his clothes.

The worse part of this whole experience though is that I don’t like how people stare at him. It is mostly adults, too. I hate it for him, even though he is completely unaware. I see people point with not so hushed, “Did you see that kid? What is wrong with him?” comments. At church, I even had a nursery volunteer ask, “What is wrong with your son?” Ouch.

Let me answer, once and for all, nothing is wrong with my son. We chose to get him a helmet to reshape his head for a flat spot he had. Nothing is wrong with his brain; he is completely normal. No, I did not keep him on his back all of the time. I constantly interacted with him. I don’t know why this happened. Regardless, I explain it like braces. While there are medical reasons for braces, such as an overbite, let’s be real…we all got braces to have pretty smiles. We got a helmet so our son would have a pretty head shape.

Before my son had this helmet, people would constantly gush over him. Now, we either get stared at or ignored. I think people purposefully look away out of kindness, not wanting us to feel like they are staring. I understand this. I am pretty sure I do this when I see someone “different”. I fidget. I grab the phone. I avoid eye contact. Now, as a mother of someone who looks, albeit temporarily, “different”, let me give you advice…. don’t act different. If you normally are the type that gushes over babies, approach that helmet baby and notice the same features you would have cooed over before.

I’ll never forget pulling up to the check out line at Publix. I could tell the cashier noticed my son. I was expecting silent stares or, heaven help me, another comment on what was wrong with him or me for having him in it. Much to my surprise, she gushed over how adorable my son is and how beautiful his blue eyes are. I could have cried. She was able to just see my baby, not the helmet.

For those who are curious, I will answer the top three helmet questions I get:

  1. He wears it 23 hours a day. He gets an hour break to air out, get a bath, and for us to clean the helmet. (Not that it matters…it stinks like a cast no matter how hard we scrub.)
  2. Yes, he sleeps soundly in it.
  3. No, it doesn’t bother him. Oddly enough, when he has the helmet off, he seems to miss it.

Only 3 more weeks until we are done with this headgear. My only concern is that our son has gotten quite used to bumping his head on things without any care in the world. As someone else said, that will only happen once.

Baby’s first Pinterest Art

I am not an artsy person. However, I am extremely sentimental. When I was little, I saved my unused napkin from Disney World because it has the pretty picture and quote on it.

All that to say, if you are a sentimental Mamma, that is all the skill set you need.

Naturally, this all began with Pinterest. I was inspired by discovering a recipe for safe,homemade finger paint while trying to find sensory activities for my 9 month old. From there, I decided to make a canvas painting. Then, I thought to add the words of my son’s favorite song. I went to Hobby Lobby and fortunately found all of my main components to be 50% off. Score.

What you need:

  • Finger paint
  • Canvas
  • Scrapbooking Letters
  • Dropcloth (in my case, plastic tablecloth)
  • Baby wipes and paper towels

What you do:

  1. Make baby paint.
  2. Putt scrapbook letters on the canvas in whatever phrase you want on the canvas. Get creative…baby’s name, favorite song, nursery rhyme, or Bible verse.
  3. Lay out project on a dropcloth. We opted for outside. First, it is easier to be messy. Second, better lighting=better pictures of baby painting for the first time.
  4. Plop paint on the canvas and brace yourself.
  5. Be flexible. Sure, my son got grass all over the canvas. But I decided I liked it better. It’s part of the memory.
  6. Allow to dry. This could take longer than normal paint.
  7. Peel off scrapbook letters, if you prefer.
  8. Mount the masterpiece in your home. Bonus idea: hang pictures of your baby painting around the masterpiece.

This was such a special project, and it cost less than $10. Did it come out Pinterest perfect? No, but it is now the most valuable, cherished piece of art in our home. My husband, mom, and I could not stop laughing as we watched my son explore this new endeavor.



Breastfeeding. Now that I have made you all uncomfortable, proceed knowing where I am going with this.

When I was pregnant, people constantly asked me, “Are you planning to breastfeed?” I’d say yes, blissfully unaware of the difficulty that was ahead of me. In reality, being a first-time mom, I was so terrified of labor that I didn’t really think anything after that experience would be hard. Afterall, my husband and I even went to the Breastfeeding Basics class at the hospital, where the mantra “If you are doing it right, it won’t hurt” was promised. Now, I realize I was clueless. As an unexpected exclusive pumper, I’d say labor was much, much easier than this experience.

Why do it then? Because it is what my baby needs. It is what is, by far, healthiest and best for him. Trust me, every day, I have been tempted to quit. I have even felt encouraged to quit and use formula by people around me. It seems like there has been an over-the-top push for moms to feel accepted and not guilty for doing formula, to the point of excluding moms who do commit to breastfeeding by diminishing the importance of it.

Here are the main comments I have heard from random strangers, friends, and family:

“Formula is not poison. Your baby will be just fine.”

Formula is not poison. My baby would survive with it. However, it is scientifically proven that breastmilk protects your baby against all kinds of illnesses. Breastmilk has shown to protect against stomach viruses, lower respiratory illnesses, ear infections, UTIs, and kidney infections. Babies who are breastfed even have a lower risk of SIDS, childhood cancer, diabetes, obesity, allergies, and high blood pressure later in life.

The most fascinating thing to me is how breastmilk changes based on the specific nutrition your baby needs as he grows. When our baby was a month old, he had his wellness check up. The doctor said that fluid was building behind his ears and that he would have a full blown ear infection by the weekend. This never happened. He has never been sick, and I believe a large part of that is because of breastmilk.

“No one will know if your baby was formula fed or not…it’s not on their college application”.

Well, maybe not directly. But, your baby will be smarter. In a study of more than 17,000 infants followed from birth to 6 1/2 years, researchers concluded from IQ scores and other intelligence tests that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding significantly improves cognitive development.

Another study of almost 4,000 children showed that babies who were breastfed had significantly higher scores on a vocabulary test at 5 years of age than children who were not breastfed.

“Happy Mama, happy baby. You need to do what makes you happy.”

This is where I have the biggest problem. At first, this sounds smart. How can I truly care for my baby well if I am unhappy? Breastfeeding, especially pumping, is extremely hard. From the physical pain, the limitations on your schedule, and the constant cleaning of supplies, it adds quite a load onto an already tired momma. But, if I am honest, there are several aspects of parenthood that don’t “make me happy”. The sleep deprivation, the piles of laundry, cleaning up a diaper blowout, the new norm of dry shampoo and unshaved legs, all are but a glimpse into a sound-of-music-kind-of-list of a few of my unfavorite things.

If am I concerned with my happiness, I am in for a rude awakening. If I make decisions about doing things or not doing things for my baby based off of what will make me happy, my baby won’t be happy.

I have to remind myself that I get to go through these “unhappy” things. I can’t remember the last time I have slept through the night. I do remember all of the middle-of-the-night cuddles and coos, when I gazed into the eyes of my Little Miracle, and he smiled at me. I wouldn’t trade anything for these moments. Being a mom is not about making me happy; it isn’t about me at all. It’s about sacrificially, unconditionally loving my son, even through the small things of losing sleep, my perviously, perfectly clean home, and my boobs.