Do you see this picture? I can’t stand looking at it. It was taken on the way to Chop for the emergency shunt surgery. Two weeks before my baby became an angel. Why you may ask? Because my little girl is bald? Of course not she is beautiful with or without hair and she knew it. I hate it because I can see the pain, the sickness in those beautiful blue eyes. Even though she was so sick she gave me a thumbs up because her parent asked her to. To show that she believed she was going to get better. No matter what, she listened to her parents. I was going to write a blog about coping but Carolynn wrote a post about the bald Barbie and I thought I would give you my opinion. I’ll write the coping one tomorrow.
When Make a Wish came out to talk to us about Gabby’s wish they said we can stay at Give Kids the World Village. Gabby didn’t want to stay there, Gabby stopped going in the playroom at Chop the third day we were at CHOP. Not because she saw these children as ugly, not because she was scared she would soon look that way. She didn’t want to go to the village because she didn’t want to be different, she knew she couldn’t play and color like the other kids anymore and that made her sad. She wanted to blend in. I’ve heard amazing things about the village, but my daughter just didn’t want to be there.
We told Gabby when radiation started she would loose hair, It was the Yuckies coming out and it would grow back. She was beautiful . She understood. I remember the exact day and time when Gabby realized she was losing hair. We were all sitting on the couch looking at her baby albums. She looked at Carolynn and said I look like a baby.
You see she never felt she was ugly, she thought she looked like a baby. She also was wearing diapers. She was potty trained since three and two years later she was back in diapers, she used to love making crafts and coloring. No longer…She realized she could not color in the lines or do what she used to do. It had nothing to do with beauty. It had to do with losing control. She always wanted to be like her big sisters and now she was getting further away from that goal not closer.
I’m Bald, Surprise! Would I like to have hair? Sure. Do I lay up at night and wish for it? No. I know hair doesn’t define who I am and it didn’t define Gabby. Gabby defined Gabby. Her attitude, her values. Hair was just a thing.
Society blames violence on video games, television, they blame obesity of the fast food industry and sugary snacks. So what does society do? Boycott, scream and yell that big corporations are marketing to children all these horrible things and we are helpless to stop them.
Seriously? Well guess what, my daughters don’t play violent video games, watch no more than an hour of TV a day on weekdays, never drink caffeinated soda and we limit the candy and dessert intake. McDonalds is considered an occasional treat. Our children for the most part aren’t going to buy these things for themselves we buy these products for them and complain at the impact they have on our kids. I play XBOX, I stood in line one night at 1:00am for a release of Modern Warfare 3. A violent ,bloody, obscenity laced game. I never play it until the girls are asleep. They know two to three curses heard on the bus, ranging from hell, Sh@t, and D&*k. They didn’t learn it from the game. I bring this up because in front of me in line was a woman standing in the November freezing night with her 10 year old son waiting for this game. The same mother who probably speaks at the PTA about how horrible kids are becoming in todays age.
I was raised by two amazing woman, my single mother who waited tables while going to college with three children she had to look after. And my Grandmother, an old school no nonsense Ukranian woman. They taught me my values, my beliefs.
I’m a geek I collect Marvel action figures. As a boy it was Star Wars and GI Joes. I never wanted a bald chubby Gi Joe (as I look today) I wanted a scarred faced bad ass who was ready to take down cobra commander. Toys are to imagine your someone else. To pretend your saving the world or being rescued by prince charming. I don’t rely on toys to teach my children they are beautiful.
I have asked my daughters for the last 9 years three questions every morning and every night. Who is the most beautiful girl in the world? (response is I am) who is the smartest girl in the world (response is I am), and finally who can be anything they want when they grow up ( response I can). Hair, scars, feeding tubes, isn’t what defines our children. What we teach them does.
If we went to Disney and Gabby saw nothing but bald princesses she wouldn’t like it because that’s not the fairytale. News flash “Cinderella has hair and our kids all know that) How do we address she’s bald now? Say Cinderella has cancer? Fairy tales don’t get sick, that what draws our children toward movies with talking squirrels and Captain Jack Sparrow.
I do believe these toys are great in the hospital when you want to demonstrate what a port is, what a shunt is. And yes it’s not just for cancer, Alopecia needs to be addressed to. But it’s our job to teach our kids what beauty and being handsome mean. Mattel and Hasbro can’t teach this to our children. Its no different than teaching our kids how bad smoking is. We don’t rely on Marlboro or Newport to do that do we?
Please understand this is just my opinion and I expect pushback. Geeky me can customize action figures, if you want a bald Barbie all you have to do is go on Youtube and you’ll see how to customize one yourself. Save the money and donate it to Gabby s foundation or another worthy foundation. Don’t rely on Mattel to pass the message on to your kids and the money to these organizations. Also imagine how amazing your daughter or son will feel when you tell them they have a one of a kind doll or figure. One that dad or mom made for them, one that is special just like them.
I was talking to a friend today as I was watching birds. I made the statement all birds are beautiful no matter if they are plain or colorful. They are beautiful, their songs are unique, their feathers and markings are never exact. They are individuals, from how they eat to how they protect their territory. Just like your children. Just don’t let them try to fly (Katie broke her arm that way) and keep them away from the bird food.
Yesterday I was painting a bird house with Kate. She wanted to quit because she didn’t think it would turn out as she said “ugly as it was” I looked at her and said: Baby it’s beautiful because it’s one of the kind. Hair isn’t ugly and neither is lack of hair. Your child is beautiful because they are yours, because they are themselves. Teach that to them, don’t look at the mean kids that say things to blame, or the lack of related toys. I looked at Kate and said” Darling just remember to say “no worries” Because there are worse things in life than painting outside of the lines.