So, remember in my last post several weeks ago, where I made a passing reference to a two-day road trip with my friend and her kids, and promised I would write about it later? Okay, so this is a bit later than I originally intended, but here it is.
Tag Archives: children
Perhaps you have heard this viral story about the Fargo woman who called a local radio station and announced her intention to hand out letters instead of candy to those children who she deems to be “moderately obese”. I’m not sure what gave this woman the idea that it was her duty to assess the general health of every child who comes trick-or-treating to her house this year, nor do I know what sort of education she has that makes her think she is qualified to make that determination based on a few seconds looking at a child in his/her costume. The thing is, it doesn’t matter, because no matter what her education might be, she has no right to pass judgment on children or their parents. I had every intention of writing a reply to “Cheryl” outlining the dangers in her plan, and suggesting some genuinely helpful things she could do instead if she really wanted to encourage children to be healthy.
A friend of mine currently has an 8-month-old baby. If you have ever had young children, or spent much time around someone who does, then you are surely aware that they often get enthusiastic praise for just about every little thing they do. For example, my friend’s little girl is working hard at being an early walker. She has been pulling herself up to stand assisted for a while, but yesterday she stood on her own for the first time. For a few seconds, anyway.
4-YEAR-OLD: Never wants to go to sleep because there are so many fun things to do. Wakes you up before your alarm goes off every day.
14-YEAR-OLD: Would sleep all day if you let him.
Today my daughter had her first appointment with the orthodontist. Today’s appointment was just a consultation to take pictures and x-rays and measurements, discuss the treatment plan, and talk about the cost. We knew it would be pricey. My daughter had extreme difficulty losing her baby teeth and had to have three of them pulled last year because the adult teeth were not pushing them out of the way. Her upper canines for example had actually formed a third row of teeth above the rest of the teeth and the baby canines were barely even loose.
We have always had dental insurance through my husband’s job, but when I got my new job last year I signed up the kids under my dental plan as well. I figured they were getting to be teenagers so it wouldn’t hurt to have a little extra cushion. It came in pretty handy when the girl had her teeth extracted because we only had to pay $40 out-of-pocket. In anticipation of the girl’s orthodontics, I also signed up for my company’s flex plan this year. I never had braces myself but knew they would be pricey so I wanted to be prepared. Good thing I did. Here’s a summary of our meeting with the orthodontist:
Dr: Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Dr Fleece.
Me: Hi Dr Fleece. I’m Mrs About-to-Be-Flat-Broke. What’s the deal with my kid’s teeth?
Dr Fleece: Your daughter has a moderately severe overbite, her lower teeth are off center, and of course as you know her canines are still too high on her gums. The teeth on her lower jaw are a little crowded too.
Also she needs to have 4 more teeth pulled before we can even start with the orthodontics.
Me: Wow. Ok, so how do we fix all that?
Dr Fleece: She’ll have braces for about two years, and we’ll have to give her a bionic jaw* for the first year or so. After that she’ll have a retainer for a while.
Me: I see. How much will it cost?
Dr Fleece: Well, we break it down into monthly payments for the period your daughter will be wearing the stuff. So for the next two years you’ll be paying us a little bit more than your car payment every month.
Me: Holy moley! Good thing we have two insurances! That should take care of most of those payments right?
Dr Fleece: Oh no, that payment is AFTER your insurance has been applied. Without insurance you’d be paying about twice that much.
Daughter: If I accidentally throw away my retainer, will I have to go dumpster diving?
Me: Hell yes. I’m not paying to park a car in your mouth for the next two years so you can lose your retainer and let your teeth get all messed up again. Also, you’d bloody well better be religious about keeping your teeth clean while you have those braces. I’m not buying you a car just so you can park it on the street and let it rust.
Daughter: But I’m not even old enough to drive yet!
Me: That should give you plenty of free time for brushing your teeth then.
Dr Fleece: Well thanks for coming in, I look forward to seeing you again! You can surrender your wallet to the receptionist on the way out; you won’t be needing it for the next two years.
And as if that wasn’t enough to be excited about, when I got home I found out my student loan deferment period has ended, and my first payment will be due in May.
On a related note, I wonder how hard it would be to find a buyer for one of my kidneys? I guess I don’t really need them both. I’m kidding of course.**
*It’s not really a bionic jaw obviously. They’re giving her this thing called a Herbst appliance (click the link above to see a video of how it works) which corrects the overbite by pulling the lower jaw forward with tiny hydraulic hinges. It would be kind of cool if it didn’t also look incredibly painful. The device is apparently cemented to the teeth and poked into the gums to hold it in place. The technician said we should stock up on pudding, ice cream, and applesauce because that’s all the girl will be able to eat for the first few days. Poor kid.
** Or am I? Make me an offer.
My kids have always been best friends. Our son Stephen was a little over 17 months old when our daughter Adele was born, and from the first day he always looked out for her. Of course they have had their moments when they swear they never want to see each other again, but what sibling pair doesn’t have moments like that? The first time they spent the night in different houses we were visiting my in-laws. Adele was invited to spend the night at her cousin Jasmyn’s house and Stephen stayed with us at Ian’s parents. That night Stephen confessed to me that he couldn’t sleep because he missed Adele so much.
Before Adele was able to speak for herself, Stephen was her interpreter. If he thought she need a new diaper, or was hungry, or sleepy, he always let us know. Stephen never had an imaginary friend; he didn’t need one because until she learned to talk, he had Adele. One of my mom’s favorite stories to tell the kids is the time Stephen went up the her and said, completely straight-faced: “G’amma Kim, ‘del wants me to have a cookie.” Adele was Stephen’s imaginary friend.
Since Stephen was born, Ian and I have worked opposite shifts so we did not have to put the kids in daycare. Not that I have anything against daycare; we had low-paying retail jobs and simply couldn’t afford it. After a while we got so used to working opposite shifts that it just made sense to keep it up. We had a drop-in daycare center we would use for the short overlap in the afternoons when we both had to work, but for the most part our kids didn’t spend a lot of time with other kids their age. Up until Stephen entered first grade, if you asked either of them “Who is your best friend?”, they would name their sibling. Even now that they are both in middle school and have their own best friends, they are still very close.
Today Adele brought home an assignment she had done last semester for Language Arts class (or, as we called it when I was in school a million years ago, “English”). The assignment was to write an RDF paragraph* on the topic of her choosing. She chose the topic “Why I love my brother.” With her permission, I’d like to share it here:
I love my brother. One reason I love him is that he plays with me. We play Magic** in the living room. Another reason I love my brother is that he helps me clean my room. He picks my laundry off the floor. Last of all, he compliments my pictures. Yesterday he said, “Nice rabbit.” I wish I had more brothers like him.
My heart=exploded. That is all.
* If you don’t know what an RDF paragraph is, please refer to my blog about my experience sitting in on my daughter’s 6th grade English class
** She does not mean the making-things-disappear, pulling-rabbits-out-of-hats-and-pigeons-out-of-sleeves, guessing-which-card-you-picked-even-though-you-stuffed-it-in-your-pocket-right-away-and-hey-how-did-he-pull-it-from-behind-your-ear-when-you-never-even-took-your-hand-out-of-your-pocket-that’s-amazing kind of magic. She’s talking about the card game Magic: The Gathering. Hey, we’re a family of nerds; what did you expect?