The Toddler in a Helmet

The Toddler in a Helmet

Tsofia’s classmate, almost 2-year-old Meir, is a dapper and preppy toddler, true to his British/Shaarei Chesed roots.

Except for one thing.

On top of Meir’s size 2 polo shirts, khaki pants, and Baroque angel golden ringlets, Meir always wears a bicycle helmet.

I noticed that his father brings Meir to gan on the back of his bicycle, so I always assumed that Meir had not yet taken off his helmet (if I saw him during drop-off) or was wearing the helmet in preparation for the bike-ride home (if I saw him during pick-up).

But yesterday I saw Meir’s mother bringing Meir to gan in his stroller. And there he was, wearing his helmet in the stroller.

So I asked Meir’s mother why he always wears a helmet. And she told me that Meir likes wearing a helmet. So she lets him wear it. Always.

She explained that choosing her battles wisely means leaving the helmet battle unfought.

JewishMOM, what would you do if you were Meir’s mom? Would you let a toddler leave the house wearing a helmet (or something else unusual) every day if s/he really wanted to?


  1. I allow for a little selected mishigoss on both sides of the parenting equation. For a year or two, I made my twin girls wear the same (i.e. different for each of them) hairstyle everyday, so that I had a quick way to tell people how to tell them apart).

    Now that they are 4, they dress in this excessively layered style (skirts under dresses, shirts under tunics) that results in SO MUCH MORE LAUNDRY if I don’t pluck some of those layers out of the hamper first. It happens to be, uh, exactly the way I dress, so I’ve given up fighting it.

    I dress that way to contend with the realities of an adult body and the dictates of halacha, parameters they don’t have to consider yet. But dressing that way makes them happy and lets them express themselves.

    Incidentally, my mother let me wear a tutu (and occasionally carry a scepter) every day of preschool.

    Some 10 years later, I found myself without bus fare one day and asked a fellow passenger whom I hadn’t seen since we attended the same preschool. I asked if he remembered me from preschool and would he cover my fare. He said, “Of course I remember you–you wore a tutu every day.”

    • chaya, I love how your daughters dress, that is so hilarious that they are imitating you!

  2. Um – why not? What’s wrong with it? Depends what it does to the Mom, I think.

  3. the reason I posted this story is because it made me realize that I wouldn’t let my son where a helmet every day to gan because of my EGO. What would other moms think of me if I let my toddler wear a tutu or a helmet or flippers? And I admired this mom who just said that at this age, giving in to Meir’s meshugas isn’t harmful to him (I say at this age, because continuing on with this helmet thing when he is older would hurt him socially) and having her son feel comfortable is more important than a funny look or two or three from the other eemas at the playground.

  4. Yes I think I would – also a helmet is not so unusual. People give a lot of leeway when they see small children dressed in slightly unusual things – everyone knows that little kids like to dress up and generally think it’s cute. I’ve seen one of my daughter’s classmates dressed as a giraffe, when she picked up her siblings with her mother ( aged about 4!)

  5. My preschoolers very proudly dress themselves some mornings without help or input from Ima. I am loathe to discourage them because other mornings they won’t lift a finger to dress themselves. Does this mean they go to school with all of their clothes on backwards sometimes? Yes. Does this mean they are hilariously mis-matched? Yes. Or seasonally inappropriate? Sometimes. Instead I praise what does work, which means that more often than not, my 5yo can put together a decent outfit now, and more than half the time my 4yo’s shoes are on the correct feet. As far as my ego, I am not above mentioning that they dressed themselves to take the blame out of my corner! Do I wish I had kids dressed like a catalogue? Sure. But there is some charm to seeing a little guy dressed in a long sleeved shabbos shirt, shorts, and galoshes!

  6. LOL – my son is wearing a winter hat and coat today (65 degrees) because he wanted to…

  7. Well, it’s not my kids with the mishegases (how do you spell that anyway?!!) IT’S ME!!!

    I relate to the EGO thing. When I was a first-time mum, I COULD NOT STAND superheroes on shoes, or socks with sandals. I absolutely refused to let my potentially uber-cool child be so, well, uncool…. Oy vey. I’m glad to say that I did grow out of that desperate need to have my children reflect me. It’s now more of a concern that they look like good yiddishe kinderlach!!! There’s way too many ideas out there….

    The one thing that keeps me growing in this area is the realisation that my own mother NEVER commented on my own very wacky clothes sense when I was a teenager, to her amazing credit.

  8. My son has a mishigas about sweaters. He just loves wearing warm layers, and fights them being removed. Oh well. At least he’s warm…

  9. when my son was 2 he wore a fireman helmet every day for a month, taking it off only for a hairwash and sleeping. People would comment, but I got so used to it I didn’t notice any more- the only time I worried was when he told the librarian his name was Sam (as in fireman Sam)but eventually he grew out of it, like all fad… I choose my battles

  10. For a while my 2 yr old son wouldn’t go anywhere without his straw sherrif’s hat. The best was when he would wear it to shul so he could match daddy. I actually loved it because it protected him from the sun! Last night he went to sleep with his underwear on his head. (he’s a big fan of head-wear:)

  11. when you said he wears a helmet every time you see him, i was dreading that there was a medical reason for it, yes there are adults I have known who have had to wear a helmet at all times. Thank G=d it was just because he likes it. What a relief. One of my daughters always wore a favorite hat. The hats varied. Two of my boys thought it was hysterical when they put underwear on their heads. One of my daughters noticed in old photos how cute she and her sister were dressed. As they grew older the photos showed slightly wacky clothing choices. “Mom, we looked so cute in these, how come we’re dressed so funny in these?” Answer: That’s because you chose those outfits yourself.
    hope this helps put it into perspective.

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