Tuesday, May 3, 2011

No, actually. But your insensitivity is mind-boggling.

You may remember this post from earlier this year, in which someone told me that Will's flat head was my fault and I cried in the car. Yeah, that sucked.

There are a lot of misconceptions about brachycephaly, including that it's caused by parental neglect. People assume that this condition happens because parents don't hold their children enough, restrict them to a swing/car seat, etc. This couldn't be farther from the truth.

Most people are awesome about Will's helmet. They comment on how cute he is (naturally), how much he seems to like it (he's a champ), and that he must be a Badger fan (well, yeah). Some people avert their eyes or tell their children not to stare. And others are just plain rude. Thankfully, those experiences have been few and far between. But unfortunately I had another one this week.

We were checking out at Walgreen's yesterday when the little girl behind us asked her mother, "why does that baby have that?"

To which the mother replied, "because his parents didn't hold him enough."

Now I've come a long way since the initial incident at the grocery store. Both in terms of my own acceptance and understanding of Will's condition. So I took it upon myself to educate this horribly rude woman, right there in line at Walgreen's.

"Hi, this is Will," I said as I turned around with a smile. "He's almost nine months old."

Then I looked at the mother and said, "He's a beautiful, curious, busy little boy. I am a good parent and an attentive mother. I didn't do anything to cause this. Just like you, I want the world for my child."

She fumbled with her words, clearly embarrassed that I had overheard her (but duh, we were literally two feet from her). So I said to the little girl, "It looks like you have a nice round head. Baby Will's head is too flat, so he's wearing this helmet to make his head look round like yours."

To which she replied, "does it hurt?"

"No," I said. "It doesn't hurt."

"Does he have hair?" she asked.

"A little," I said with a smile. "He gets more every day."

"That's good. Hair's really important."

"That's true!" I said with a laugh. "You have beautiful hair."

The mother still hadn't managed to form any sort of coherent sentence to me, so I wished the little girl a nice day, paid the cashier and left.

This woman's insensitivity is still mind-boggling to me. But it affirms how important it is for Ben and I to model appropriate behaviors for Will. He's learning from us every day, so we have to be the people we want him to be. We have to show kindness, compassion and respect. We have to reserve judgement and give others the benefit of the doubt. We have to stand up for ourselves, and not let the actions of others tear us down.

We have to be the best we can be. Perhaps even better than we thought was possible. It's a tall order, but Will's the ultimate motivator.


  1. Sam I am jumping up and down for you in my cube! WAY TO GO! I love this post for you standing up for yourself but also for reminding us all that we need to be the people we want our children to be. They are watching and learning - you are so right. Thanks for that!

    Tyler, fellow mom of one 8 month old :)

  2. You're Will is just absolutley adorable!! I loved the way you handle the situation.........me on the other hand would've slapped the other mom......a big HIGH FIVE to you!! Love your blogs!!

  3. I'm so glad you said something. Nice work, mama.

  4. So proud of you, Sam! Nice job :) you are a great mom!

  5. I started tearing up a little when I read this! I think it's cause I get teary when I'm proud of people, and you handled this situation so well!

  6. Yay!! Good for you for saying something! You did it in such a positive way too... I might not have been so nice! ;)

  7. Wow! Thanks for the post love everyone! It means a lot to have your support. I love my readers!


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