Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Look me in the eye and tell me your parents actually made you wear helmets when you were a kid??

That's what I thought. 

But since in this friendly neighbor day and age passerbyers are so concerned with watching moms like myself who "have our hands full" make a slight slip like forgetting all 400 helmets required for our family to "safely" bike at the park results in steam rolls of unsolicited advice and gentle safety reminders to make sure I don't neglect my kids ever again.

The problem isn't that I want them to crack their heads open on the dangerous park grass.  The problem is that kids' heads grow insanely quickly and nice bike helmets are expensive.

Clearly I'm not the only mom who forgets to bring everyone's bike helmets to the grassy park o' danger, because I can usually snag a barely worn helmet at the Other Mother Consignment Store for a fraction of the price.   However, styles and sizes are limited.

Which is how Jonah ended up with the brand new, super cool and highly coveted Disney Cars helmet (poorly pictured above) and Sienna got stuck with Humpty Dumpty Fell An Awful Lot's really previously "loved" helmet (no longer available for pictures as you will soon read).

It was really the outer shell of the helmet that was bad and since it is what's inside that counts... when I saw that some kind sales person had put brand new foam and new, clean straps on I was suckered for the $2.99 stah-eal.  Hey, at least her hair never had to touch used, sweaty foam pads??  Am I right?  Or am I right?

Well, turns out she loved it!  Purple (although I think it was actually sun-faded blue) is her favorite color.

Love-D, as in past tense is the key.

She loved it until the bike-a-thon at her school where she saw everybody else's sparkly new propaganda themed helmet to match their expensive, not-hand-me-downed bikes.


This day was bound to come.

It might have been ok had the preschool equivalent of "Mean Girls" not noticed.

When I picked her up from school she ran into the car crying.  She wouldn't tell me what happened until I tucked her into bed that night.....  The kids laughed at her.  They stole her "ugly, yucky helmet" and threw it on the ground.  They made fun of her and called her "ugly helmet head."

Anger. Disappointment. Sadness.

Why does it have to be this way?  Why even at 4 years old this is the reality of our world?

We talked about this at length. What do we do?  We can afford to buy new helmets.  We just don't.  Kids grow fast.  They hardly use stuff before it's too small.  Hand-me-downs are practical, environmental, responsible.

What message would we send by buying her a new helmet?  We'd only show her they were right.  She had a reason to be embarrassed.  To feel less "cool."  So with uncertainty and slight guilt we pressed on with Humpty's previously loved helmet. 

In her sweet innocence, she actually didn't complain.  It was the only helmet she had and if she wanted to ride her bike I guess she knew without asking that was the deal.  So last weekend we were at a store letting the kids play in the toy asile, just sorta killing time and checking things out when we noticed Sienna just quietly over trying on bike helmets.  She never asked.  She never uttered a word about anything really.  When we asked her what she was up to she said "just looking, Daddy."   Daddy and I exchanged the telapathetic oks before he said, "You know that purple one is really nice, it fits you perfectly too."  She looked at us with eyes so big I was momentarily concerned they might fall out and almost whispered, "I really like it."

And just like that.  The deed was as good as done.

It gave us so much joy and to be honest a little pride to see her reaction!  She was so excited, so happy, so thankful!  I think back to my 5 year old self and how ungrateful and spoiled I was.  We weren't poor per say, but we certainly didn't have a lot of extras.  However, I somehow seemed to demand things and find myself "above" plenty.  I can even remember doing it!  I remember my grandma coming to visit and bringing me a new doll that I didn't like and I'm sure I wasn't polite about not caring for it.  A brand new toy that I didn't like?!  We buy Sienna a brand new safety device and you would've thought we bought her a pony.   I wish I could say we're doing something right... but let's be honest, this gratitude and appreciation is probably a fluke, but I'm gonna take it and run!   

Luckly she insisted on wearing her new helmet the rest of the day, all around the store and even while we ate lunch, so when it was time for us to go on our bike ride she could bolt out of the garage like the safe cyclist she was born to be.

Tour de Neighborhoood here we come!!

Clearly, she knows she is pretty cute. 

But I'm willing to cut her some slack on that since first of all she is and second she'd probably tell you how thankful she was to be so cute.

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