Jenni & I love adding text to our photos…
This is a pic I took of my daughter whilst away on a camping trip. I absolutely think she is beautiful, but she is also smart and capable!
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When life throws you a helmet – have fun with it! That’s what we decided anyway…
At five months old, my baby boy, Mason, was diagnosed with brachycephaly. In layman’s terms: a severe flat spot on the back of his head.
I took him to a physiotherapist for eight weeks to correct the problem, but there was no improvement. Instead, it was recommended by various medical professionals that my flat-headed son be fitted with a ‘helmet’. A what!?
Flat spots can be the result of many different things, but generally they develop because babies spend a lot of time on their back*.
Mason also suffered with severe silent reflux and was hospitalised after aspirating on his own vomit. Important ‘tummy time’ was too uncomfortable for him, so aside from cuddles and feeding, he spent most of his awake and asleep time slightly elevated on his back.
Countless hours on good ol’ Google produced few answers and little encouragement or advice about corrective helmets. I lost a lot of sleep trying to decide if I was doing the right thing by my unsuspecting baby boy.
My first concern was how the helmet would affect Mason’s sleep. I thought it would be irritating and prevent him from sleeping through the night.
I also didn’t want him to resent me for making him wear the unflattering and potentially uncomfortable device.
My third concern was how it would affect the whole family, in particular, my four-year-old daughter. Mason would look different to other babies. People might stare. And the biggest issue for any four year old: he might get much more attention.
The night before I collected the helmet, my husband (and very proud dad) raised a few concerns.
Hubby: “It’s not like anyone will know he’s wearing it.”
Me: “It’s going to be on 23hours a day.”
Hubby: “But you don’t ‘have’ to take him everywhere in it do you? And you definitely won’t post any photos to Facebook of him wearing it”.
Me: “Why not? Why should we care what strangers think? And our ‘true’ family and friends will be supportive. We can’t hide at home for three months. I think we should just ‘put it out there’”.
Hubby: “I suppose. I just don’t want people to make fun of him.”
Me: “As soon as we get it I’ll email everyone and post a pic on FB with all the information so people have a chance to process and accept it before they see him wearing it.” My husband was just being honest. No parent wants their child to be teased or thought of as ‘different’.
I have gained so much respect for the parents of handicapped children. There were some days when we just needed to quickly get a few items from the shop and I couldn’t get down one aisle without someone asking “Oh my, what happened to him?”
Some days I felt like handing out a ‘why my son has a helmet on’ flyer to avoid the probing questions. I would remind myself how lucky I was; Mason’s problem was easy and quick to fix.
About the helmet
We had our helmet made and fitted at Brisbane Prosthetics & Orthotics.
The helmets are made with a soft, spongy, waterproof foam and a hard outer casing. They work by leaving a gap where the flat spot is – this encourages growth into that gap & alleviates any pressure on the existing flat spot.
The helmets are usually fitted between 4-7 months of age – this is the most effective time while a baby’s head is still growing quickly. Usually the quicker the head grows the less time is needed in the helmet.
A baby’s head will naturally grow into a more correct shape as they get older but using a helmet will ensure a good ‘head’ start and give the best results in the shortest space of time.
Making lemonade out of lemons
Once the helmet was on, I decided to turn a negative into a positive and take a head-on (don’t mind the pun) approach by adding a touch of fun and creativity to the otherwise bland device. I wanted family, friends and even strangers at the supermarket to feel free to ask questions and feel comfortable with it.
We could have got some patterns on the helmet, but as cute as they were, we decided to go with a plain white one to help Mason stay cool in the hot climate we live in. Instead, I decided to decorate it myself with fun stickers. If there was a holiday or party, Mason’s helmet was themed appropriately. The serious fun started when I realised I could use a whiteboard marker to write on it.
Mason became a ‘spokesbaby’ for Playgiochepy. Whether we were at playgroup, the local shops, restaurants, birthday parties or on holidays, Mason’s helmet would invite many questions. I was often approached by mums who were considering one for their baby, or knew of another baby wearing one. I was surprised how many other babies we met who were wearing helmets too!
Playgiochepy is more common than you might think. In the future, as the treatment becomes more accessible, I’m sure ‘helmet babies’ will be a ‘normal’ sight.
Tips for a happy helmet-wearing bub
1. We continued to wrap Mason’s arms down for his sleeps so he couldn’t pull at his helmet in his cot. I found sticking to his normal sleep routine helped him adjust to the helmet quickly.
2. We put a lambskin/sheepskin in his cot and pram to help cushion the helmet. This is not SIDS approved, but it helped Mason.
3. Request that lots of holes be cut in the helmet. This lets their head breathe and helps prevent heat related issues.
4. Be prepared to see some heat rash-type symptoms in the first few weeks. We used a powder inside the helmet and on his body when rashes occurred. If you are concerned, it’s best to consult your helmet team. I asked a few other ‘helmet baby’ Mums and their babies had experienced the same one-off rash in the initial weeks.
5. Be prepared to wean them out of their helmet. It’s not as simple as just taking it off – there is an adjustment period. It even took me a few weeks to shake the ‘something is missing’ feeling.
6. Most importantly: stick to the rules! The helmet is designed to wear 23 hours a day. I think some parents think they’re doing the right thing by taking the helmet off to give their baby a rest. Can you imagine how confusing that would be for a baby? Consistency will help them adjust quickly and get the best possible results.
Foot loose and helmet free!
As I write this, my happy, healthy and helmet free baby is climbing all over me. I can’t help but wonder what all the fuss was about.
While every child and situation is different, I can say with confidence that the helmet was the best decision we made for our baby boy.
All the things I was worried about were not an issue once I decided to have some fun with it. Even my four-year-old daughter took it in her stride and requested to wear her bike helmet to the shops to match her little brother.
The time went fast and was filled with so many special memories. Mason celebrated his first Christmas, all with his little white helmet. And I have lots of photos of my cute boy sporting the helmet to show at his 21st birthday. Hopefully by then he will just be grateful for his normal shaped head!
Now his helmet sits abandoned on top of his bookshelf. I have joked that it became my third child after the time I spent bathing and drying it each night. I’m sure I’ll think of something fun to do with it!
* This is recommended to reduce the chance of SIDS. I do not recommend any different.
Please feel free to ask any Q’s in the comments section :).
Give a Girl the right Shoes and she can conquer the World!
I had seen a very similar pic to this on Pinterest and HAD to do it! After having a little boy first, I was amazed to see the differences with my little girl. She definitely likes all things girly. She tries on my shoes, gets out my handbags, plays princess dress ups and LOVES anything sparkly! It just seems to be the girly code of life…to which I have become rather accustom to!
These are so easy to make & look so adorable!
We did was draw some hearts with chalk for the background (optional)
Then the kiddies stand in front of the background with their little fists out! (make sure you get them to do it to the side so the lollypop doesn’t cover their face!).
Don’t you just love their little poses!
Now print off the pictures.
Then pierce two holes, one above and one below their fist, then thread your choice of Valentine’s delight through. We found these really cute Chocolate Roses & Lollypop Hearts! Give it a try, you’d be surprised how easy and how effective these are! They will be sure to melt the heart of any loved one!
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We were very excited to ‘hit the streets’ again in our quest for chalk drawing ‘FUN’ in the lead up to a momentous occasion..our first born’s first (official) day of KINDY!
We are so thrilled to know that Little Master L and Little Miss M will be attending the same kindergarten together (like we aren’t close enough right!). We have car pools planned, rostered on ‘Mummy’ days together & a myriad of kindy craft days in the works!
Anyway, we digress. We wanted to do something similar to these pictures at the beginning of each school year. We want to ask the kiddies “what do you want to be when you grow up” and see how their responses change from year to year & (wouldn’t it be wonderful) to see if that’s the career path they land on!
Little Master L and Little Miss M can be very ‘creative’, ‘imaginative’ and…well how to you put this…’crazy’, so we were pleasantly surprised to learn that their future goals did not involve riding on the backs of butterfly’s or speaking to fairies…..however there are possible moon landings & lion taming on the cards so let’s see where that goes!
We just love how individual and imaginative they are! I’m going to add these pictures each year to a memory book for them to look back on!
We hope you enjoy our pics and hope that you will have a go & do it yourself for your little cherubs!
Happy first day of School!
You might also like these ideas –
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Here is a simple and inexpensive way to show your appreciation for your teacher.
All you need is some chalk, a sidewalk/driveway/road and some adorable models! We had these pictures printed and framed –a lovely personal gift that costs next to nothing!!!
Now grab some chalk & chalk it up!!! x
We wanted to capture some fun photos of the kids to go in our annual Christmas Cards – we decide to set up a DIY mini studio at home. We used a room that was full of natural light and strung some Christmas Lights over a white sheet.
We stood back and zoomed in the focus to achieve a slightly blurry background.
We had some fun with some props – two large Candy Canes joined together to make a heart, Christmas outfits including Santa Hats and a funny ‘Return to Santa’ sign.
The best tip we can give you to get some great sibling shots…HAVE FUN! We made sure the kids were well fed, rested and relaxed before we commenced the ‘shoot’. We then asked them to tell us funny stories, asked them what was on their Christmas List for Santa, if they could remember all the reindeer names etc.
The best smiles you will ever capture are the natural ones 🙂
We hope this inspires you to make a home studio and take some FUN photos with your kids.
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