Mar 1, 2011

My little man's noggin

Isn't he the cutest thing around? OK, I am biased I know!

You know how you hate telling the same story over and over again? Well, I thought this post could help me alleviate that problem because the next time you see my little man he will have a cranial helmet on to help correct some shape issues with his head.

The short version of the story follows:

At eight weeks I noticed that Dane always fell asleep in his swing with his head tilted to his left shoulder and when he drooled (all the time) it always leaked down his left cheek. A good friend of mine has a daughter who had torticollis when she was younger and I learned so much about it when she was little that I felt pretty confident telling my pediatrician at his two month visit that I thought Dane had torticollis. He did an evaluation and agreed. The scary part is that I don't think the doctor would have noticed anything was wrong unless I pointed it out.

We were referred to a pediatric physical therapist who agreed with the diagnosis. So what is torticollis? Well, in Dane's case he was a big baby in a small mama. His positioning led to a tight neck muscle on one side of his neck. It results in limited range of motion and can cause issues with physical development if not treated. We started physical therapy and Dane responded well to the stretches and exercises. While his torticollis resolved itself rather quickly, the time he spent during his first two months and especially the time at night on the back of his head led to some flattening behind his left ear. When you get flattening in one spot, it causes the opposite area to bulge. No one's head is perfect, but at five and six months we went in for scans of Dane's head to evaluate if he needed a helmet to help correct some of the issues the torticollis caused. Both scans showed him to be pretty borderline on a scale of 1 to 5. We found out his eyes and ears were slightly misaligned which often happens and the diagonals of his head if  you look from the top of his head are not equal.

None of these issues were severe. If you saw Dane on the street, you would not notice immediately unless I pointed them out to you. As parents we decided we wanted to give him the best start we could, so we made the decision to get the helmet. He is a boy who will likely have short hair. He may even want to shave his head for some crazy teenage reason and I don't want him to say, "Mom, I can't shave my head because you didn't get me that darn helmet." Also, once he loses the cutest baby chub ever the misalignment of his eyes and ears may be more pronounced and we don't want to wait to find that out.

So, today he got his helmet and over the next five days he will work up to wearing it 23 hours a day. He will likely wear it for 2 to 3 months. I'm hoping he can get it off before it gets super hot. He is handling it like a champ. I'm having the most trouble because I want to kiss his head so bad and the hard plastic is just not the same.

His head will not be perfect. You or I may not even notice much of a change, but the changes will happen and we will know we did the best for Dane.

So, hopefully sharing this will you will keep me from having to tell the story one million times. Now when you see Dane you can tell him how cool he looks with his soccer ball helmet. I don't have any pictures to share yet, but they will be coming soon!


Ashley said...

Awwww, I can't wait to see pics! I'm sure he looks sooo cute with his helmet. :) You're such a good mom for jumping on top of this. He'll for sure thank you when he's older! :)

Edie said...

One of my dearest friends' child had to wear a helmet and it worked out wonderfully for them. You guys made the right decision and Dane will appreciate all that you and Scott have done for him. It's time for kisses on his neck or blowing zurburts (as we call them) on his belly!! He will give the love all the same right back to you!!

the dawn said...

oh bless his little heart! what a trooper! and that picture is to die for :)

Amy W said...

He is the cutest little boy, helmet or no helmet!

5 Miles 2 Empty said...

He is the cutest thing ever---biased or not!! =) Love that smile and his squishy cheeks!!

And wow! I have never heard of that and how amazing that you were able to catch it. I am sure it feels good knowing that you are doing all that you can for your child. He wont remember this at all...although when he sees pictures who knows what he will say!

And I have not been keeping up with your blog--so sorry!! I will be catching up! I want to hear about your bike!