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.

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