Baby Brooke has a big, red, angry looking tumor on her big, bald, beautiful head. It’s the size of a half dollar and raised about a centimeter (I could be totally off on this measurement), and luckily, totally benign. It’s called a Strawberry Hemangioma. The only other child I had seen with one of these was my cousin’s daughter. It was right on her forehead and above her eye so they removed it when she was around two. Bubba has hers right on top of her head. It’s towards the back but raised enough that you can see it straight on. And thanks to my children not growing hair until they’re two, it’s definitely noticeable looking down at her. As she’s short, everyone can see it.
Looks kinda gross, right? It started out as a small, flat red spot on the top of her head but started growing pretty rapidly once she was eight weeks old. It’s definitely scary when your brand new child sprouts a tumor on her head, or anywhere else, but thanks to Dr. Google I didn’t freak out too much. At her next doctor appointment, the actual doctor confirmed Dr. Google’s diagnosis and told me it will likely go away by the time she’s ten, and besides, her hair will cover it.
What? Ten?! And hair? My children don’t start growing hair until they’re two, so that wasn’t comforting. As Rich and I watched it grow along with her, getting bigger and bigger with her monthly Facebook update posts (I’m three months old today!), we started to think about ways to treat it (i.e. put our precious second child under general anesthesia due to a cosmetic issue our baby has). We didn’t want to be the parents that had the kid with the “thing on her head”. We didn’t want to be the parents people talked about, saying “Kelly and Rich’s new baby is so cute, too bad she’s got that thing on her head”.
Luckily, once you know Bubba for over 30 seconds, you don’t see the lump on her head anymore. You see a ridiculous, hysterical, chubby little baby girl with a bad attitude and a pacifier addiction.
Big red tumor aside, Brooke really is a fun baby. She’s generally a very happy baby (attitude aside, but that’s for another post), but she’s always destructive. With Olivia, we really didn’t need to baby proof the house at all. I had outlet covers and all the usual stuff, but she was never one to try to touch the stove or walk out the front door. I felt confident that Brooke would be the same since she was a girl and girls were less destructive than boys. Turns out, its not the sex of the child that determines if they will love to fuck shit up. It’s the child.
At first, Bubba was quite an easy baby. She slept through the night by 8 weeks, would just hang around and watch what was going on, and had no interest in doing things quickly or hitting those milestones all of us parents worry about. When Olivia rolled over for the first time at four months, crawled at six months, walked at ten months, I thought we had a super-baby on our hands and she was going to be the quickest, smartest girl in the world. Turns out, those milestones really don’t mean anything. That kid was still shitting her pants at three and a half years old. So when Brooke was seven months old and still hadn’t rolled over, I wasn’t too worried. She was just content to lay on the floor and watch what was going on around her, which I was fine with as it made my job much easier.
She started to crawl at some point. I really don’t remember what month it was (is that bad?), but I do remember the first thing she did was find the one outlet that was not covered up because I had just unplugged my laptop from it, and she tried to stick her finger in it. Needless to say, once Bubba became mobile, shit got real.
Fancy things break. Food items get smashed and melted into some sort of fabric. TV remotes get lost/broken/wet/slimy. Makeup items get painted all over the bathroom walls and counter. Crayons get all over couches and walls. iPhones get cracked. Many things get into the toilet. Toilet paper gets everywhere. A common occurrence in our house is: we see two kids. We turn around for less than a second. We see one kid. We hear a crash/scream/bang or the worst, silence, and out comes baby Brooke from the scene of the crime, which is usually our room.
Another part of Brooke’s overall awesomeness is how fat she is. I really do love me a fat baby and Bubba is everything I could ever dream of. Olivia was a fat baby but once she started crawling she thinned out quick. Not Bubba. This baby runs around more than Olivia did and she’s still fat as hell. She loves her food.* The first time she rolled over was for a chicken tender:
By one year Brooke had 18 teeth and I swear she did that on purpose so she could chomp down on a hamburger.
I’ve never seen anything like it. Brooke is just hysterical in everything she does. Yes, she may have a big red lump on her head, but when I think about the day that its either completely gone or just covered up by hair, I will totally miss it. That hemangioma is a part of her story and I don’t even see it when I look at her. There are certainly times that I wish it wasn’t there, especially when people stare, but that’s normal and human. Anything outside the norm is going to get a reaction but its how we handle that reaction that counts. When I see a child stare at it, I always just tell them what it is. Some kids will straight up ask what’s on her head and the parents always have the same reaction, which is apologetic. Young kids are curious and rarely come with filters, so it does not bother me when they ask. I assure the parent that it’s ok and then explain to the child what it is.
I’m amazed, however, at how many people do know what it is. So many people have come up to me saying either they had one, their kid had one, or they knew someone with a strawberry hemangioma. I love when people talk to me about it. Please, ask questions! Don’t talk behind our back! I’ll tell you it’s ugly! Now, its easy for me to say that because Brooke has no idea that she has one or what it is, so if it was still there when she gets older and goes to school, I would hate to have her being picked on or made fun of because of it. That’s where I know we are lucky because some children have them on their face, and some of those never go away. If Brooke’s never goes away, at least it will eventually be covered up with hair (and really, I would totally have it removed by then anyway). Not everyone is so lucky. There are so many worse things in this world that a baby can be born with, and the fact that this is benign is a Godsend. So yes, my baby has a thing on her head. Its big and red and ugly, and we can only hope with treatment that it goes away without surgery, but hey, we are some lucky-ass parents to have such an amazing, funny, adorably mischievous and beautiful baby girl like Bubba.