His First Graduation

Back in April, our son Andrew began his helmet journey. I blogged about it here:

Originally, we were told he’d probably be wearing it until July. With each measurement that was taken from the beginning, his head continued to reshape itself quickly. Today, he was measured by the clinician and we were told that he would no longer need to wear it daily. Today was his Helmet Graduation!

Over the past 7 weeks, he wore the helmet 23 hours a day. In the hour that it was off he had to have a bath to wash his hair (which smelled like sweaty helmet). The helmet had to be wiped clean before it could be put back on.

In the time he has been wearing the helmet, he has become more adventurous and is standing on his own and has even taken a step or two. There have been plenty of falls over the last 7 weeks and the helmet had brought some great protection for his head. Both Sam and I realize that now that the helmet is off, the possibility of a good bump on the head is more likely. We’ve joked that the helmet saved us a few trips to the ER.

It’s actually weird to see him without the helmet for so long. We got used to seeing him in it. Now, we can actually hold him and snuggle him forehead to forehead. It’s not such a chore to kiss him on the cheek. The hugs feel closer because that “barrier” is no longer there. It’s fantastic.

Today he had his helmet graduation. When he graduates high school, his helmet and graduation certificate will be on full display at his graduation party. It will be a reminder of one of his first hurdles that he jumped over successfully. I’m proud of our little boy today!

Well Rounded Indeed!

My Kids – Posers?

One of the things I love about Facebook is the ability to meet others who share the same interests as me. I belong to many different “fan” groups and have connected with some very cool people through those groups.

Some time ago, I saw a painting of Moe Howard that I thought was very well done. I’m not sure exactly where I had seen it, though it may have been in Moe’s book. At any rate, through one of the Three Stooges groups, I found that the artist was a member. Her name is Belita William and she painted the amazing portrait when she was in her teens!

Moe, Belita, and her painting.

She and Moe became friends and they were in contact with each other until he passed away. Moe liked her work so much, he had her paint him a portrait of President Kennedy.

Moe, JFK, and Belita

I was surprised to find out that she had also painted a portrait for Larry Fine, as well. This is another picture I had seen somewhere prior to learning she painted it.

Larry and his painting

Belita is very talented and I am in awe of her talent. She has painted portraits of her children, church members, and many others. Here are just a few examples of her fantastic work.

To make a long story short, Belita and I became Facebook friends shortly after connecting through the Stooges group. She has often commented on photos of Ella, Andrew, and my kids. I was truly surprised when she reached out to me privately recently.

“Hi Keith. Your kids are gorgeous. Maybe you might consider portraits.”

I won’t lie, it is certainly something I would love to do. She talked about pricing and such and it is something that I definitely want to save up to do. It may take a while (thank you highest inflation rate since 1981!), but I really think this would be an amazing and one of a kind way to capture the kids. I am sure that she would do a wonderful job.

When Ella was first born, one of my co-workers said we should enter her in a “Cutest Baby Contest.” Others have said the same about Andrew. As a parent, you are biased. I mean, you KNOW how cute your kids are, right!? Sure they are “model” material! Sure they would be perfect for a portrait! Absolutely they could be in a magazine ad! You always think that, but when someone reaches out to you and actually asks to paint them (as Belita has done) or asks to use them in promotional material (like Andrew was by the place where he got his helmet), it makes you feel pretty darn good!

Thank heavens they got their good looks from their mommy! LOL

Not Exactly the Helmet I Was Expecting …

I have three sons. I had always hoped that they would be involved with sports in school. I played a lot of baseball with the neighborhood kids, but never did any in school. My two oldest boys played T-ball and baseball for a short time, but they never pursued it further. Neither one was interested in football either, unless it was a family game of touch football.

My youngest boy will be 6 months old in just a few days and he’s already got his helmet – although it isn’t a sports helmet. This helmet will help insure that his head is shaped properly.

I have never been one to doubt my wife’s intuition. I’m not exactly how she saw it or exactly what she saw that made her ask our pediatrician for a referral, but she was right. Andrew’s head is a little off. This could be because of the way he sat in the birth canal, or a variety of other things.

This has been quite a process to get evaluated, fitted, molded and receive the helmet. My wife went to pick it up yesterday. While she was at the appointment, they went over the meticulous instructions of what has to happen over the next week, month, and afterward. To say that it is overwhelming is an understatement.

For example, to start he has to have it on an hour then off an hour and repeat throughout the day. The next day it is 2 hours on and two hours off. Then that increases until he will eventually have it on 23 hours a day!

Then you have to watch his temperature. If he has a fever, the helmet could make the fever higher and may cause seizures. When it is off the inside of the helmet has to be cleaned and his hair has to be cleaned so that nothing “grows” in the helmet.

As my wife told me all of this I felt like I couldn’t process it!

I’m sure that the longer he wears it, the easier it will be.

The good news is that he seems to be totally ok with it. It doesn’t seem to bother him. This may change the longer he wears it, but for now, he is ok.

His is a light blue and it really brings out the color of his eyes. The guy who was fitting him asked if he could have professional pictures of him taken to use in a brochure for some clinics they are running for parents. How cool is that?!

Anyway, we’ll adjust to this new change and embrace this knowing that we are doing the right thing for him. Who knows, maybe in 16 years, he’ll be out there in a football helmet calling plays and winning championships!

Future Quarterback?