To talk about the fascinating subject of...
Dentistry! Well, maybe not the whole field of dentistry, but just the parts of it that set off me off in an hysterical crying jag when I was on the phone with my sister yesterday morning.
It all stemmed from the kids having their 6-month cleaning yesterday morning. I was being a Good Mommy, so I asked for the first appointment in the morning, so the kids wouldn't have to miss any more school than was strictly necessary. (Promptly negated by the fact we let Cheyenne go with Daddy this week to hang out with Grandma and see the house Daddy's building, so she missed school AND her dentist appointment.) This early appointment necessitated leaving the house with all three kids in tow at a ridiculously early hour. (We are NOT mentioning the hour, because I don't need farmers and construction workers hooting at my definition of "early hour"). Marilla was still sleeping up until the last minute, so I gave her a bag of dry Cheerios and a sippy cup of milk in the van for her breakfast, apologizing to the hygienist when we got there for the residual Cheerio crumbs. Anyway, the kids were exemplary while getting their teeth clean, and I was keeping Lincoln quiet, so it was all a win. Until the hygienist told me there were suspicious spots on Rilla's teeth. When the dentist came in, he said they were cavities that were going to have to be filled. My heart sunk. Then, to really make me feel terrible about the state of my daughter's teeth, he asked how old Rilla was... then whistled at her diminutive size. Okay, no mother of a four year old has ever had a cavity before. Then the hygienist started an earnest little lecture about how these are the MOST IMPORTANT YEARS for a kid's teeth, and kids that get cavities young will have way more problems with cavities when they're older. Then she told me part of the problem was letting Rilla eat Cheerios in the car, it is "much more healthy for them to eat while sitting at a table." For the record, my kids eat at the table 99.99% of the time, it was only due to the Ridiculously Early Hour that Rilla ate breakfast on the run! Then, the leading question... "Does she still use a sippy cup?" Yup, guilty as charged. I'm the weird mother who hates mopping up milk 3 times in the same meal. Okay, that was contributing to the acid erosion on her front teeth, because apparently milk is something you only drink at meal times, never in between. (And crackers are NEVER something you snack on. Goodbye, preferred morning snack). THEN, she mentioned Rilla's "black line staining" (something all my kids have had). Thankfully, this sin could not be laid at my door, because the hygienist had just read that black line stains on the teeth may be connected to high iron levels. However, the lack of parental flossing was certainly directly attributable to me. Maybe I should buy her an electric toothbrush? I already had. Well, in that case, it was dangerous for kids to use them unsupervised, as they require a different kind of brushing action, and it can hurt kids' gums if used improperly. Oh, great, there's even a learning curve for the incredibly boring task of brushing 4 children's teeth twice a day! Soooo, an appointment was set up to bring Rilla in and scar her for life by sticking a needle in her gum when she was 4 years old.
This was all fairly depressing as a parent (Elliott getting to put his name up on the No Cavity Wall of Fame was small balm), but for some reason when I called to tell Bethaney the litany of my sins, I started blubbering like I was informing her of my terminal cancer diagnosis. This led me to realize that A. I was wildly overtired, B. I really, really, really am having a hard time being a single mom as the third month of having Evan gone most of the time draws to a close, and C. I guess I am was more traumatized than I realized over my dental woes throughout the years.
So, I had to sign Elliott into school with rather red eyes. (Sobbing: "I'm sorry, there's been a d-d-d-de-e-e-ntist in the family!")
Then to add to the Mother Shame, I took my kids to Wal-Mart. This is one of the worst things about being a single parent-- having to shop with children. There is something in the air at our local Wal-Mart that turns my children into fire-breathing demons. I can do everything possible to assure they will behave (take them in the morning, well-fed [those noxious Cheerios in the car!]), but no matter what, they either run wildly up and down aisles, or fight, or attempt to stand up in the cart, or try to turn upside while hanging off the side of the cart... And every. single. adult. I encounter in the store seems to be looking at me with censure, or actually does come over and earnestly tell me the story of how their cousin's sister-in-law's hairdresser's kid died because they fell out of the cart. I don't know why this is an arena that people feel perfectly free to give advice to others, but it is. I should start wearing a sign that says, "I understand the risks inherent in children misusing shopping carts. If it makes you worried, I will cheerfully let you mind my children while I whiz around the aisles, child-free for a brief period."
Anyway, after a lunch of teeth-foe food, I took a nap with Lincoln. And that helped life considerably. There was still the evening drama of supper not having defrosted enough, and of kids too silly for words. After reading them two interminable books (Horton Hatches the Egg and The Diggingest Dog), I cut the boys' hair, bathed them all, clipped their fingernails... and then brushed and flossed the living life out of their teeth. Apparently, this is the path to my Redemption.