Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Flat Headed Zen

Zeni has a flat head and, let's be honest, that's putting it nicely. It's like a sheer freaking cliff back there. She's got a poof of hair to cover it up, but you put the girl in a hat and it's like a sunflower - all beautiful and rounded on one side and one the other - flat. I asked my paediatrician about it: "So" says I, trying to seem nonchalant, "you've probably seen a lot of flat headed kids in your day, would you say her head is, like, REALLY flat?" "Yes. Really, very flat."
oh.

Did you know that for the low low price of $1200 you can buy your poor black-kid-in-a-white-family even more stares and funny looks? It's true. We can put Zeni in a helmet to fix her head. Apparently they are very light weight and come in a variety of attractive colors. They put pressure on the sides of the skull to force the back of the skull out of it's sheerness and into a more visually pleasing orb. She wears it all the time except when bathing or swimming, for 3- 5 months. We have to decide soon or her skull gets too hard to re form.

Let me be clear (I know, I've been watching too many presidential debates) - this is TOTALLY cosmetic. One can go through one's entire life with a flat head and never suffer any medical problems.
We can't decide what to do. Some people say flat heads fix themselves, but I'm not sure about that (and I'm frankly not sure they know just how flat my kid's head is). If she always has poofy hair no one will notice unless she ever puts her hair up, or wants to braid it, or wears a hat. There have been many times in my life where I've wanted to do each of those things.

I try to think about if I had a flat head, and would it bother me? I'm not sure - I don't think it would, but I also know I'm less inclined to care about such things, and I blend easily in public and in my family. Not to be dramatic, but what if the flat head is a constant reminder of the relative neglect she experienced for the first months of her life? OR, what if she becomes some kid of militant looks-don't-matter-Bell-Hooks-meets-Gloria-Steinem feminist and is appaled that we did it to her?
So come on, let's hear it. Would you do it? Why? Why not?
(Oh, and who are you voting for?)


13 comments:

Anonymous said...

We adopted our daughter from Taiwan. She came home at the ripe old age of 18m and too old to use the helmet. In Asia, flat heads are considered beautiful. They said it makes for a rounder, more beautiful face. Go figure. It's all in the eye of the beholder. The back of her head is a site to behold. Nothing back there. QUite the opposite of our son from Ethiopia. Never seen quite as round and large occipital (sp) lobe. Huge. So I say all that to say, I don't have an answer for you, except whatever makes you comfortable. I, personally, have gone thru my whole life with a flat head. Hairdressers try to cut my hair to make it look like I have a round head. It doesn't usually work, especially when you add in the cowlick at the back of my head. Somehow I've survived. Don't remember anyone making fun of me for that. (other things yes, head no)

Good luck on your decision.

jan

anymommy said...

Tough decision. I don't know and I don't know. Is that noncommittal enough for a seat in Congress??

Kristen said...

this is a tough one. first of all, are you totally sure that this is only cosmetic? and, is it really noticable? or does her hair pretty much hide it? my first reaction is to do it. i think i would if it were L or g. i also have a friend from college whose son wore one and she said he was really comfortable in it. but a very tough decision indeed. we'll talk. lylas!

iloveadoption said...

If you can afford it, I would do it. 3-5 mos is not much of her life when it will affect her entire life, you know? My son almost had to wear one (not from neglect) but his is only a little flat, and we would have done it if they'd said to. Because you're running out of time to do it at all, and then there's no going back, do it.

Mona said...

You don't know me, but I follow your blog. I am currently waiting for a referral from Ethiopia. I recommend if the cost of the helmet does not put a strain on you financially and the helmet will not hurt Zeni, go ahead and do it. One less thing to get teased about and I'm sure she'll appreciate it when she's older.

msl said...

Zeni looks so great in your previous post! I'm going to side with getting the helmet for her. It's a relatively easy fix and she could be very self conscious about the flat head one day - poofy hair or not.

phulmaya said...

Thanks for your input! I think we decided to take the first step, which is to go to the place that makes the helmets, and talk to them and hopefully get some names of other families who have used them.
And why, you may ask, am I checking blog comments at 4:25 am?
Ugh - the not sleeping thing is definetly my least favorite part of this whole cute cuddle little baby project...
ugh.

phulmaya said...

Oh, and
obama.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Marcy sent me your link! I'm thrilled for you guys. She's beautiful and I'm glad to hear your happy. Marc and I are living in Arkansas these days so I can identify with things not being exactly what you expected... In my professional midwife/doctor of public health opinion, I say, do what you can to fix the child's head.
Cara Osborne

Jen said...

Zach"s head (my 10 year old) had a flat (misshapen) head. The doctor had it x-rayed because it was so bad. We (with the help of our dr) decided that it would correct itself. It did. I don't know what the specifics are; but I just thought that you may want to see someone on the other side...

Chris said...

Hi. My baby Ava from Ethiopia also have a flat head. Very flat . She is 10 month sold and my Dr didn't even talk about a helmet ??? She is almost 11 months . I don;t think that I would use a helmet . But Again I will ask him about it . At her first physical he checked all of her body and her head and didn't mention anything about her head . So I figured that she was fine. Now I am wondering ???

heytheredearheart said...

I meant to comment on this earlier when I first got up and runnning! In any event, if your doc recommends it, I would vote for the helmet therapy. I have a cousin whose child (premie) wore a helment for a few months with success. There's likely more to discuss, and I'm happy to do that, but I don't really see a down side to the therapy. Anyhoo, I voted for Obama.

Alicia said...

Hi,
I follow your blog and I love your sincerity and your writing style. I'm adopting two children from Ethiopia and if my baby girl turns out to have a flat head I will use the helmet since it doesn't hurt and it's only for a few months. But I also think that it's no such a big deal to have a flat head after all...
Oh, and I will add a link to your blog in my site if you don't mind
Good luck with your decision!
Alicia