Monday, March 14, 2011

The time I (almost) punched a woman out at the grocery store

This happened several weeks ago, but its taken me a long time to want to write about it. Mostly because it still hurts. And I still carry around a lot of guilt for Will's helmet.

For the most part, people have been really great about the helmet. Will still gets plenty of smiles. I get a ton of "pity eyes" now, but that's OK. I'm just glad he doesn't realize people are looking at him differently.

Little kids are super funny about it. At story time a few weeks ago, this little girl came up to Will and started gently petting his helmet. Too cute! And all of Will's baby friends think it's pretty neat too.

You can tell some people are really uncomfortable about it. They divert their eyes or scold their children for staring. I actually appreciate the people who ask questions. Many people assume that he had some sort of head surgery. Others think he has a disability. Most are surprised when I tell them it's for cranial remolding.

I really appreciate when parents come up and tell us their son or daughter wore a helmet too. It's so nice to talk to someone whose been through it. They get the challenges, and they've lived to tell about it.

For the most part, people have been awesome. But then there was this one woman at the grocery store a few weeks ago. We were in line checking out, and as I loaded the last of my groceries on the belt, I noticed that the woman behind me was staring at Will. I smiled and said, "Hi, this is Will. He's 6 months old." She stared blankly at me and asked "What's with the helmet?"

Always one for a teaching moment, I explained it was to treat  his flat head and that he would wear it for 3-4 months. She blinked a few times and replied, "Oh. You must not have held him enough."

Stab. Me. In. The. Heart.

Though I wanted to punch her in the face for being so horribly insensitive, I turned around, paid for my groceries and left. It took all my energy not to bust into tears immediately, but I held it together until I got to the car. And then I sobbed. Right there in the driver's seat, with Will in the back.

Even though I know my actions (intentional or otherwise) didn't cause Will's brachycephaly, there are still times that I blame myself. Why did I let him sleep in his car seat so much? (Uh, because it was the only place he'd sleep as a newborn.) Why didn't I push tummy time more? (Because he screamed his cute little head off whenever he was on his stomach.) Why was I such a freak about back sleeping? (Because the doctor said it was super important and I was terrified of SIDS.)

I know I didn't do anything wrong, but to hear a complete stranger articulate my greatest fear hurts terribly. Even if she has no clue what she's talking about.


  1. OH I am going to find this bitch and punch her in the face. Gonna need a physical description, the name of the grocery store, and a can of mace.

  2. I'm joining Maggie's army. What is wrong with people?!?! Also, I'm so all about kids asking questions in situations like that. I witnessed the sweetest interaction in the doctors office the other day. A little girl was just staring at a man who was using an oxygen tank, and her mom said, "You can ask him about it honey." So she was like, "why do you have that?" and the guy happily said "it helps me breathe". So simple, but so sweet. Sounds like the woman in the grocery store could have used a parent like this.


Thanks for reading!