Day 1 was rough. Unfortunately (or luckily, depending on who you ask), I was unable to be there the actual day that RAD got his helmet. He also got it at 3pm. So really, his Day 1, wasn’t until his second day. But, according to my husband, those 3 hours were probably the worst of RAD’s short little life. He is an extremely laid back baby. Hardly ever cries. But boy if something makes him mad, watch out. He will go from 0 to 60 in less than a second! He reminds me so much of my grandfather in that way. So those first few hours were NOT good. For anyone. His REAL day 1 was a little better. He would fuss when we took the helmet on and off. But I could also tell that as the day went on, he would fuss less.
When you begin with the helmet, you start with an hour on, an hour off – and no sleeping in it. You will gradually increase in wear time. By the 3rd day, your baby will start sleeping in the helmet and by the 5th day, they will be in it for 23 hours a day, with an hour off for bath time and cleaning the helmet. There are a couple of reasons for this:
1.) Obviously – so the baby gets used to it.
2.) You release half your body heat through your head. Well, the helmet will insulate their head, making this close to impossible. So, by weaning them into the helmet, you will train their bodies to release their heat through the rest of their body. Crazy. I know.
So, our “real” Day 1 was spent at home mostly, except for a couple of errands. And with him in a diaper because he gets so hot already.
During Day 1, was also our first “public appearance” in the helmet. I had to take Big Sister to school. I debated if I wanted to put RAD in his helmet before or after drop off. On the one hand, I needed to put him in his helmet. On the other, I knew people would stare and point and I was not ready for that. Or I didn’t think I was. People can sometimes be unintentionally cruel and I didn’t want to deal with that at 7am in the morning. But, I put my feelings aside and knew that putting his helmet on him was the right thing to do, for HIM. What happened next was exactly what I needed.
I was walking Big Sister into school. Had RAD on my hip as we walked in. I tried to be brave, but I felt myself looking down at the ground much more than usual. And then I saw the principal of the school. He had the biggest smile on his face as we walked in. And as soon as he saw us, he came right over to us and began asking questions. And not in a condensing, judging way. But an actual curious, caring way.
Now, I’ve always said that God brings people in (and out) of your life at a certain time and for a specific purpose. It is our first year at this school, and Mr. Principal’s as well. If the whole reason that we were brought to this school was a 2 minute conversation outside the gym, it was completely and totally worth it. He was able to bring such calm and strength to me in a way that he will never know, and I am extremely grateful for him. (Don’t worry, I wrote him and email letting him know how grateful I was for him!)
Overall, Day 1 wasn’t as absolutely horrible as I thought it would be. I am excited for this adventure and where it will take us and to see my son grow and thrive!