Why do parents put their kids on braces? Why do they want to spend a lot of money and time to make sure their kids’ smiles are perfect? When their teenagers are starting to have acnes, why don’t parents mind spending cash on dermatology products and consultation? Why are parents okaying their youngsters’ wish to switch the glasses to contact lenses? Giving the health-related answers would be very common, but let’s be frank: it’s to make them look good.

I’ll be honest. I had my mole on my face removed 7 years ago because not only it was noticeable, but it started to itch and growing in size. Again, health reason and look-awareness. Why did I agree to suffer multiple tooth extraction and braces tightening for 28 for months? Sure my dentist was concerned about my mouth being over crowded (I used to have 32!) and it was hard to keep them clean and decay-free. He also mentioned something about crossbite. But to be honest, I hated my crooked teeth. I tried to switch from eyeglasses to contact lenses, especially to go out socializing, but I hate poking my cornea. So then, back to eyeglasses to complete my dorky look.

When my 5 year old son was diagnosed with chronic hyperopia or farsightedness (difficulty seeing up close), I felt so bad. My boy has to wear glasses in such a young age?  I groaned. What if his friends make fun of him? I worried. Spending extra on ‘hip’ glasses was our choice. Yes, I still want him to look good besides to able to see.

We all very cautious about how we look. Consciously or not. To ourselves, to our children, to people we care about. Sometimes we care about it too much, we judge people by it. When the Indian baby girl was born with two faces in mid March (read here), I deeply symphatized with the parents. Like the rest of the world, my first reaction was ‘Omg!’. Then as I followed the news, I learned that the father of Lali -the baby’s name, meaning ‘red’ because of her cheeks- had refused the doctors suggestion to have a CT scan to determine whether her internal organs were normal. He felt that his daughter is acting normally, therefor no need for the test.

Lali has an extremely rare condition known as craniofacial duplication, where a single head has two faces. Except for her ears, all of Lali’s facial features are duplicated -two noses, two pairs of lips, and two pairs of eyes. Regardless, her parents who are poor farm workers, think she is fine just like any other child. Even though Lali’s rare condition often linked to serious health complications, the doctors of Saifi Hospital in New Delhi saw no need for surgery. Reason being, she has no breathing difficulties. ‘Nuf said.

As I did more online research on Lali, I found out that some people’s reaction toward the treatment refusal is somewhat concerning. “Why would you as a parent do that [refusing]?!” a coworker exclaimed.

Others worried about the child’s psychological development when she’s growing up. If peers should giving her a hard time. If she’d be making fun of. But since they live on a rural India which is very superstitious and the fact that Lali is already hailed as a return of the Hindu goddess, maybe she’ll be okay. Some says she’s the reincarnation of Durga or Shakti. Living among people who think you have a god-like status is not so bad after all. The village chief wanting to built a temple on your behalf. Hundreds of people want to see you, touch your feet out of respect, and even offer money to receive blessings. Not a bad life, huh?  

I don’t know what would happen should this take place in United States, to an American. Would the parents undergo a surgery to ‘fix’ the baby? Look at Abigail and Brittany Hensel. Born 18 years ago, the conjoined twins are still inseparable and live happily with their mom who is a registered nurse and a carpenter/landscaper dad. The twins have made many media appearances and have a younger brother and sister. I think they have an amazing parents who don’t judge a book by its cover and love them unconditionally.

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