Helmets Aren't Awkward if You're on a Bike

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cayman's helmet has created quite an awkward experience for many people when we go out.

I miss the oooh's and aww's I use to receive. When I would be at the grocery store, there were a lot a smiles from people when they saw the car seat in the shopping cart. On their way passing by they would peek around to view the baby inside...and immediately "Awww".

We had reached a point where I felt "normal" to be viewed. Cayman's hair had grown out and elegantly hid her shunt. I had made many stylish hats that match Cayman's outfits. Most people just passing by had no idea of Cayman's diagnosis. And it felt good to be treated "normal".

For the first several months after Cayman was born I did not receive many of the excited shrills from people that I had seen other mom's experience when they just had a newborn. It broke my heart. I was such a proud mama and wanted to show off my baby.

Being a first time mom, I have really appreciated getting the chance to know what it feels like to be treated "normal" and have people oooh and awww over my baby. I did not fully realize how special that was to me until now.

I still receive smiles when people see the car seat but once they peek inside and see a baby wearing a funny looking helmet, they quickly turn away as if they just looked at something they were not suppose to.

No more oooh's and awww's.

People seem afraid to approach a different situation. I think people have good intentions. At least that is what I like to believe. I think people are afraid of offending so they don't step forward and take a risk.

We attended a new church this morning. After the service an older woman came up to us and these were her words, "I see your baby is wearing a helmet. What is her problem?"

I seriously felt like hugging the woman!! I am sure there are many other ways she could have worded the question more compassionately, but I truly truly appreciated the acknowledgement. Experiencing people's avoidance has been tough to bear.

I shared my heavy heart with Mike tonight and he made a valuable point that comforted me.

He said, "Perhaps it's good for us to be experiencing this now, while Cayman is still too young to fully understand. It will help us learn how to manage these kind of situations and be able to teach Cayman how to handle it when she's older."

That's true.

I am so grateful for my sweet husband, my dearest friend.

14 Showin' Comment Love:

Mary said...

Seriously people should still be ooing and ahhing because she is still super cute with the sassy pink helmet. It will never hide the sparkle in her eyes or those cute little cheeks.

I have wondered many times what people think when they see Riley and figure out that he has Ds. He will forever where his disability on his face......I think your husband is right that we will have to help our children to deal. I think my older son has it all figured out. His honesty and simplisity of kids so so amazing. If he has a question he asks it and there is no mean spirit behind it he just simply wants an honest answer. I wish we could all keep this simple appoach to things that are different.

Lisa said...

Mike is very wise.

and just so you know, there are lot's of 'ooohs and aaaah's' coming your way from the Sorenson home. Cayman is cute as a button, and the pink on her helmet is just her color.

Keep positive :) Smiles from Washington!

Sara said...

If I was some stranger I'd oooo and ahhhh. I think the helmet is just as cute on as it is off. I never got the ooo's and ahhh until about a couple months ago, now I get awwwww he is such a big boy! When really he isn't LOL. He just decided to grow into his head....quickly!

She is the most adorable little girl!


Michelle said...

Well, you have a big Oooh and Ahhhh from me! She's still as cute as a button!

Josephine said...

You know I completely relate to this. It breaks my heart too when all people notice is what's different, and not what's beautiful. And there's SO MUCH MORE that's beautiful than weird about our gorgeous girls.
People are so afraid of offending that they do just that. I've no doubt that most of the people who've avoided making a comment have done so because they are worried that you'll think they only noticed her because of the helmet or something.
Cayman's beautiful. There's no doubt about that.

Monica said...

It is hard, but you are handling it very well!! Luckily, Cayman doesn't know any better at this age. People are so weird, who doesn't smile at ANY baby..geesh

Anonymous said...

Oh Kristen, I'm so sorry. I missed out on the oooohhhs and awwws too b/c all they could focus on was how small she was and her weird cry. I think the avoidance is the worst...how great of that woman at church even though she could have worded it better. I had a woman ask me once "So what's Olivia's life going to be like? Will she look weird?" It was awful to hear it like that, but I was so greatful that she was treating me and Olivia as if she existed instead of just ignoring us. Your husband's response is perfect and very true. I had to learn really quickly how to keep my emoitons in check and how to explain it to other kids and parents.

She is so adorable and beautiful...helmet or not! :)

The Soldatke family said...

I agree with what everything else is saying. We all want people to see our sweet babies how we see them, and appreciate their intense beauty.

The funny thing is,lots of "typical" children wear helmets for a flat head so really people should be used to seeing them.

Oh, and we think she looks beautiful over here!! I showed Matthew the picture of Cayman and he's drooling :) Mike may have to fight boys off a little earlier than he thought:)

Molly C said...

Coming out of lurking!

Can you decorate the helmet? I read a quad blog, and she put their names on it and everything. They had cranial bands which I assume are different than what Cayman has.

sending you ooos and ahhs from NYC.

and a confession: I found you through a link on Sarah Ely's blog and I was like "omg. cute baby. lets read this blog!"

Grandma said...

Kris I think you are right about the good intentions. I know personally I tend to fear of offending someone so I remain quiet in situations that aren't maybe the typical - I dislike the word "norm" because I feel it categorizes and stereotypes even more - what really is normal anyway? None of us are perfect and is that what we perceive to be truly normal? If so, none of us are able to meet that challenge. Sorry..went off on a tangent there :o)... Cayman has taught me so much! Maybe she isn't the typical but she is soooo WONDERFUL and BEAUTIFUL inside and out! I can't imagine how she could be any cuter! She is so full of love and happiness and she fills the world around her with so much joy! I thank God for blessing our lives with Cayman and for giving her such a strong spirit. I think if people could truly see "Cayman" they would not only ooo and ahhh but they would be WOW!!!! She is AMAZING! XOXOXO to our darling!!!

Hamza Zakir said...

your baby looks sooooooooooooo cute!.....i think i told you before that my neice had a helmet on 2 and it was new to people......and your husband is right......good luck!

Anonymous said...

Cute as can be, helmet or not! I happen to like the pink helmet. Very stylin'

Anonymous said...

Sadly I too can relate to this.

But I agree as everyone else has posted, Cayman is gorgeous helmet or not! I think that lady at your church would have been a breath of fresh air too. Someone that asks about your little girl instead of assuming, walking away and offending us as parents.

Lori said...

Never posted a comment before, but I read your blog whenever I get the chance. There are so many ups and downs to raising a special needs child. It is so hard to feel like you're not treated normal or to get funny looks, or those glance away looks that are so familiar. I have a little boy with autism and we get the...you need to control your child better looks when he has tantrums...there is also a lot of repeating and his inability to answer questions always gets people...it is hard. I try to shrug it off, but it is so hard sometimes. I just pray...and I'm sure you do too...that I will know how to handle the situations as they arise, and that people will be kind and accepting of my little guy. I think that is the hardest part...worrying about their future...any yet the Bible tells us not to worry...so we can always find strength there. I could go on and on but don't want to ramble too much. Praying for those Oohs and awwws to return. Your baby girl is precious.