When Erin Bollman and Tracy Miller uploaded pictures on Facebook of their baby, little Abram, decked out in “Evil Wizard Baby” garb, the good-natured snapshot of the jovial tot was an immediate hit with friends. But, as is always the case, some commenters called the Des Moines, Iowa, family out. “How could you put Marksalot on your baby for your amusement?” was the general sentiment. "Child abuse!" others claimed.
What people don’t know is the health struggle that Abram and his family have been in since his birth -- and that a moment of fun is, in many cases, just what the doctor ordered.
“Abram came into the world in July of 2012 and had a rough start from the beginning,” Bollman told HLN in an email interview. “He had a week-long stay in the NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] after an emergency cesarean and respiratory failure. Then the poor guy suffered through colic and still has acid reflux.”
At the baby's recent 9-month checkup, Bollman said the pediatrician "finally admitted what I had been suspecting and informed us he [Abram] was behind on his gross motor skills as he is yet not crawling or sitting up on his own.”
Bollman and Miller own Finder’s Creeper’s, an art gallery and specialty shop in Des Moines that sells handmade goods, clothing and oddities. The firm’s 100-year-old building kept having flooding issues, so in March 2012, they decided to close up shop and operate the business online from their home. The timing seemed perfect since little Abram was expected in July.
At birth, Abram had a lack of oxygen, which caused several health problems. Soon they learned that he had hypotonia, a condition characterized by decreased muscle tone. He also has problems with his eyes, Bollman said. “So after a lot of tears and stress we got him into a pediatric opthomologist where they informed us that he is extremely farsighted and will require glasses in the next six months,” she said.
“He is currently receiving in-home physical therapy and occupational therapy and will soon be doing outpatient PT and OT as well!” she said. After a whirlwind of "not-so-good news we were desperate to have a little fun," Bollman added.
Click through the gallery to read the inside story of how a cute and lighthearted family moment became a viral photo on the Web.