Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Helmet Season

Jujo graduated from his helmet in January. Jojo is still in his helmet - see above. Huh? Helmet, what? Helmet is not the PC term. The PC term is DOC band. I am sick of being PC - it is a HELMET.

My twins got their helmets in October 2008 because they both had significant flat spots on their heads (termed "plagiocephaly"). I think when kids used to have flat spots the parents just said "oh, they have a flat head, oh well, at least they have hair". Not in this day and age my friends, now you get helmets.

Now, this is not to say that these helmets were not needed. Both boys had significant asymmetry in their faces because of this flat spot. So, this went beyond the mere flat head, it was affecting their face. I am not working for a perfectly round head. However, they were still beautiful to me. I never thought it was that bad. But mothers never do I guess. The doctors, physical therapists, my MIL, my Mom, J, everyone thought these helmets were for the best. So, "for the best", I (for the most part) have had to drive to Pasadena every other week (or more sometimes) for fittings, appointments, etc. I am not being a martyr here - I know there are worse things to do. There are wonderful, sad mothers who aren't seeing there kids back and forth for merely cosmetic appointments but for much more serious ailments.

But, I am a little bitter about the helmet thing and I don't know why. When they first got them, I was emotional about it. I honestly don't like seeing their cute little head covered by the helmet. We pimped out the helmets and so they look pretty cool but it doesn't change the fact that the kid is WEARING A HELMET. Jojo has never liked his helmet. He adjusted to it much more slowly than Jujo. And the poor kid of course is the one who has had to be in it longer.

Anyhow, the first helmet was ok but Jojo had heat rash issues and grew out of it rather quickly. Then, we were advised that a second helmet would be a good idea because not as much progress was made. So, in January, he was fitted for a new helmet which was supposed to see him through 4 months and then NO MORE HELMET. Since then, he has spent about half of his nights taking OFF HIS HELMET. At 2 a.m., I will wake up and watch Jojo playing with his helmet. At 7 a.m., when I go in, the helmet is on his leg...making great strides in making HIS HEAD ROUND? Um, no. At least he gives me a cute little devious smile, when I take the helmet off his leg.

So, now, they have recommended a third helmet. One that he supposedly won't easily be able take off. The owner of Cranial Tech is not charging us for this privilege. (As an aside, I just want to say that Cranial Tech is AMAZING. The people there are nice, supportive, accommodating to twins, AMAZING. Really good, well-run, well-meaning, business. I can't say enough good things about the place. Go Cranial Tech, Pasadena, Woot! Woot!)

But, that doesn't make me less sick of the helmet! Jojo tolerates the thing but he hates it. I can see that he hates it. I don't blame him.

So, I have tried to make a compelling argument to J that Jojo is looking much better and maybe we should just let things lie and accept his head shape. People don't have perfect heads. People don't have perfect anything. And honestly, I don't think he looks that bad. (OK, OK, I KNOW I AM HIS MOTHER and I don't see it). But, he looks fine to me. He really really looks fine. I see the flat spot but his head looks fine. His symmetry is much better. Not perfect, but better.

J argues that we should give Jojo every advantage in life (to the extent possible). He says that people judge you right away. If you have a "deformity" or a "facial flaw", it could prevent you from getting jobs, getting girlfriends, etc. He makes it sound like this decision is one that will affect his whole life. And yes, maybe it will and that is why I am sort of deferring to J on this one. But, I guess I just don't see it this way. Don't get me wrong, I understand that people are judged for how they look. I get that. It is an unfortunate thing but I get it. That is life.

But, is this small of a flaw, a few millimeters, going to prevent him from being on the bench? getting married? working summers as a lifeguard? Isn't it more likely that he'll be teased for not being circumcised or for being too tall or too short or too cute or too smart? Kids will find anything to tease you about. Adults are kinder but eventually his cranial aesthetic is going to be overpowered by what I hope will be a good inner cranial area - his brain, his common sense, his politeness, his faith, his good actions, his generosity of spirit.

I got teased mercilessly for my nose growing up. Joey Termini used to say it looked like I had a Winnebago on my face. Should my parents have rushed me off to Dr. Ray and said "fix her flaws" because she won't get a job looking like this? (Side note: Of course, the minute I could get a nose job...I did. I am still self conscious about my nose. People still make fun of it...including J.) Did my schnoz give me character? Shouldn't I be giving Joey Termini thanks? Would Jojo say, if I "won" the "forget the helmet" argument, "why didn't you fix my head, Mom?"
Jojo won't have the opportunity to do this later like I did. In a few months, his head will be hard, it won't grow as fast, it's shape will be fixed forever. But, isn't getting teased about your flaws part of growing up? Will anyone even notice this flaw? Will anyone walk up to him with a ruler and say...oh wow, your left eye is 2 mm lower than your right one? Will they notice that his glasses don't sit quite right? Will his football helmet not fit right? {{I hate football, that is ok with me.}} Sports like soccer and tennis with no helmets and long hair really are JUST fine with me.

I guess this is just one of those things we do. We don't like it but we do it because it is good for them. "They" say he won't remember this, that it doesn't hurt, that it is for his own cosmetic good. The only person bothered by this is me - seeing my kid tolerating this bugs me, seeing my kid wearing this, bugs me!

Aren't these the same arguments that doctors make when they want you to circumcise your kids: (1) they won't remember, (2) it doesn't hurt, (3) it is for their own good so they don't get teased in school? So, what did we do, the opposite of what doctor's said, we disagreed, we didn't circumcise the boys. And now, we are doing something else cosmetic for the same reasons the doctor's gave for circumcision.

I don't know. I'm just sayin'.

Jojo will keep his helmet. The decision has been made. But, as with all decisions parents make, you never know if it was the right one, the best one...

He's a cutie and I love him. We just gotta get through helmet season.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Teeners!! I agree with you, it does suck. I know it isn't the worst thing in the world but sometimes when life is just hectic normally we don't need something extra added on. And I don't blame you about the fact that it bothers you to see him in it, etc... But I think you made the right decision. In the grand scheme of life the next 3-4 months will not seem so bad and it may make a difference to him someday. It is so hard as a parent to make these decisions!!! I am with ya!!!