DEAR ABBY: After reading the letter from "A Loving Mom in Durham," about using harnesses for her young children, I had to write.
Our son, Carl, was also a very active child - almost from birth. My mother-in-law suggested we consider a harness when we took him in large crowds, etc. I thought she was old-fashioned and cruel. Her insistence eventually caused a rift in our relationship.When Carl was 3 years old, he and I were downtown waiting to cross a street when he noticed a large stuffed animal in a store window. He jerked his hand from mine and dashed into the street. Before I could catch him, he was struck by a car!
Both of his legs were broken; one was badly crushed. He also suffered head and chest injuries. At first, the doctors doubted that they could save him, but after three major surgeries and nine weeks in the hospital (three weeks in intensive care), Carl survived. He sustained some permanent loss of vision and balance, still suffers occasional headaches and walks with a limp.
Carl is now 5, and he is facing five more major surgeries over the next 11 to 15 years to deal with his crushed leg's inability to grow as quickly as the other.
Shortly after the accident, I was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown, and I'm still in therapy to help me deal with my feelings of guilt about the accident. The poor woman who struck Carl is still in touch - no one will ever convince her it was not her fault.
I must apologize for the length of this letter, Abby, but I just had to tell you how I feel about harnesses for hyperactive children.
When I see a child wearing a harness, I always smile and say, "Good for you!" to the adult at the other end. - A LOVING DAD IN TEXAS
DEAR ABBY: Please help me to impress on schoolteachers that the now popular idea of using baby pictures for graduations and yearbooks is not a good idea.
I have cared for many foster children in my home, and I also have four adopted children, all of whom have no baby pictures. All of our children's sixth-grade graduations used baby-picture slides. Some children are hurt by this. Often, the teachers would suggest that they bring in some other picture, but when everyone else brings in a cute baby picture, and your picture is of Little League a year ago, it's like announcing to everyone that you didn't have a family until a few years ago. These kids dread such occasions.
Don't get me wrong - I've seen many touching ceremonies done with baby pictures of the class, but I've also seen the tears, as a child desperately looks for a baby picture - anyone's baby picture - to take to school so he won't be different than the others. - SENSITIVE TEACHER, BLACK CREEK, N.Y.
DEAR TEACHER: Thanks for your sensitivity. This never would have occurred to me, but you make a good point for other schoolteachers to consider.
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