Friday, October 29, 2010

{pros and cons}

Operation Hacky Sack Head is officially two weeks underway. The first few days were rough: the little man had some heat rashes on his cheeks and a little trouble adjusting to sleeping with his fancy new hat on. But after a few days of gradually increasing helmet-on time, we are now sporting the helmet 23 hours a day, 7 days a week. The helmet is actually heavier than I expected; it has to weigh at least a pound or two. I mentioned this to Dr. Rob Bell, and he responded by picking the helmet up and then dramatically almost-dropping it on the ground. Good one, doc.

There are definitely some pros and cons to the helmet. The most obvious, most significant pro is that Ave is going to have one sweet looking noggin when this is all over. I'm already planning to make one of those old-fashioned silhouettes to celebrate the end of Operation Hacky Sack Head.

Another pro is that Ave is a little more protected from my chronic clumsiness. For instance, I am usually half-awake when he is ready to get up in the morning, and perhaps once or twice I may or may not have accidentally "tapped" his head on the door frame while exiting his bedroom. It probably isn't a bad idea that my baby wear a helmet considering how often I drop/spill/kick/break/knock over things.

And, as if I even need to say: sweet decals. Our good friends Ryan & Corin sent us an awesome sticker stash we are planning on rotating through. If you missed Ave's Halloween costume debut, do yourself a favor and scroll down to the next post. Your heart may explode from the cuteness. Seriously. It just overwhelms me sometimes.

Cons? Well, they aren't too serious. Inconvenient, yes. But problematic? Not necessarily.

First of all, it gives him a little heat rash on his cheeks. Nothing a little Aquaphor can't fix.

Secondly, the extra weight means it has been even harder for Ave to lift his already-extra-heavy head. When he wears it for Baby Boot Camp, it feels like we have regressed 3 or 4 weeks. He is just now able to again do the things with the helmet on that he was doing before we started. But this con is really a pro in disguise, as Drill Sargent Debbie pointed out: the helmet will act like a dumbbell for his neck and trunk, helping him bulk up even faster. He is going to be one hot body-building babe (with a perfectly rounded head) when this is all said and done. And with scars, too? The ladies won't be able to stay away.

It also smells faintly of a sweaty gym socks, despite me scrubbing it down with alcohol wipes every night. Oh well. I guess that's manly.

And people stare. Unashamedly. It doesn't bother me so much when little kids stare at him because, I mean, hello. They're kids. And most of the time it's a look of jealousy on their faces, like, "Man, my mom is so lame. I wish my mom would let me wear my skateboard helmet to the grocery store."

But when grown adults stare at him like he's a unicorn or a leprechaun, it takes every ounce of my internal fortitude to not lash out. I have to try so hard to not say stuff like,

"Oh, yeah, he was born without a skull, so the helmet holds his brain in place."

"I drive a motorcycle, so he wears it when he rides on the back instead of in the sidecar."

"The dog keeps gnawing on his head like a chew toy, so we got this helmet for him so he won't get any more scars on his head."

"He's on the 6-12 month day care co-ed football team. Flag, of course. We start tackle when he's 18 months."

I have to keep telling myself that Jesus would not, in fact, say these much as I would like to believe He would.

It's also hard to get mad about him wearing the helmet when he looks so unbelievably adorable in it. Several times a day I half expect him to come flying around the corner on a skateboard or look at the window and see him jumping over flaming trash cans with a motorcycle, like he's Evil Kenevil or something.

In other news, we have visited the neurosurgeon, Dr.Taco (the neurologist), and Dr. Rob Bell this month. All of them say Avram is doing just perfectly, and both of the neuro guys said they don't need to see him until he is one. This is a big deal people. No brain guys until April. That's six months of only going to regular doctor's appointments.

All three doctors also said they usually do not support baby helmets, but that in Avram's case they believe the helmet is 100% necessary and said they were glad we were doing it. This was a huge relief to me; another small confirmation that we have all the right people along the banks of the river.

Dr. Rob Bell was very happy with Avram, except that I hadn't fed him any meat yet. To be honest, every time I read the words "pureed beef" in the baby cook book I threw up in my mouth a little bit. It just seemed so wrong to feed a baby meat, so caveman-like. But I relented, and we tried some chicken this week. Let me just say that if you're looking for a dramatic diet plan, just keep a bowl of pureed chicken around. It will do wonders for your appetite. And, of course, Ave loves it.

I am so ready for this guy to have some teeth.

And I am also ready for him to start walking. He is going to have to learn pretty fast, because tiny little 5'2", 110 pound me cannot keep carrying around at 19 pound, 28" baby. I am not kidding when I say this kid is going to be half my height by Christmas.

It's strange how relieved and how anxious I feel at the same time. He really is our miracle baby. With the conditions he has, he should be having seizures. He should have vision problems. He should not be accomplishing milestones as easily as he is: babbling and smiling and eating solids and propped-sitting.

It's a relief. It's a blessing.

But the dark side of me, the carnal side of me, is just waiting and anticipating for everything to suddenly take a downward spiral. It amazes me how every blessing, every bit of good news, is tainted with the fear that creeps in so conspiringly. Just another reminder that I have to choose to walk in faith, choose to live in the moment, choose to trust, choose to lean on the everlasting arms.

I have to keep putting him in the basket and sending him down the river of God's plan, despite how dark the sky may look, or how rough the river waters flow.


Netta said...

I love your blog, Cassie!

(and just for the record, I DO think Jesus may've said some of those hilarious things you listed - that made me crack up & prompted Zoe to say, "What? What?"...
however, He would have been able to say them without the slightest hint of frustration or anger... so perhaps we'll just enjoy them written out & NOT spoken! hee hee)

Love you

Angel said...


Family H. said...

Hi there,

My name is Kelly and we have a 7month old baby girl named Violet who has ACC as well. Like your baby, she is developing right on track, you would never know she is missing part of her brain! We, like her doctors call her our miracle baby. I can totally relate with what you say; that we are thankful for no seizures or vision problems and meeting milestones but, at the same time anticipating the worst that may be around the corner.

It seems like we are on such similar paths. We saw the neurologist at 6 months who said come back in a year. We also have weekly physical therapy appointments.

It is so wonderful that your son is doing so well. I pray that both of our children continue to defy the odds and be the miracles that they are.

Love, Kelly

Please feel free to check out our blog. (I found yours through a google alert. I have signed up for ACC google alerts).