When Your Best Friend is Three

When the person you spend the most time with is three, it also tends to happen that they become your best friend.

You are with them every second of every day.

When you spend all of your time with someone you begin to notice the nuance of a sigh, the preamble to a smile, and the lingering of a disappointment.

They see you at your best, your worst, your strongest, and your most vulnerable.

And since the age of three does not come with a filter, they call you out. On everything.

When your best friend is three, they don’t hesitate to tell you that the green dress you put on makes you “look like a T-rex.” Obviously, you are not leaving the house in that condition.

When your best friend is three, they will help you limit your calorie intake by telling you that you don’t need to eat any more “so your tummy won’t get squishy.”

They can boost your ego with a “you look beautiful” and tell you like it is when you need to freshen up so you “won’t be scary” with a “maybe you need a little make up.”

When your best friend is three you find that your most animated conversations tend to involve the life cycle of bugs or the origins of poo.

They will also help you make decisions with impressive negotiating skills, like when you can’t decide if the afternoon’s activity should involve cleaning or playing. “How about this, Mommy? You can clean and I can play.” Problem solved.

When your best friend is three, you find yourself in power struggles. You want to value their opinion just as much as they want to be heard, but sometimes you still have to the be grown up.

When your best friend is three you might share your day with them even if it involved grown up things like bill paying and phone calls, because even though you don’t want to burden them with grown up stuff it’s ok to let them know it exists.

When your best friend is three you will truly be excited to hear about what the teachers said at camp today and who they played with that morning because you are just as curious about their child life as they are of your grown up one.

When your best friend is three you will sometimes not understand why they are so upset because you thought you were having a great day until the flip switched and you have no idea how to fix it.

When your best friend is three you may find yourself hovering between a desire to let go and a desire to hang on because three doesn’t last forever and fearlessness sometimes presides over logic.

When your best friend is three sometimes you just need a break because you can’t talk to them about all of the crazy that runs around in your mind all day. They are, after all, only three.

When your best friend is three you will find yourself on a roller coaster. I have spent days laughing, crying, being frustrated, being confused and being content.

When your best friend is three you will be surprised when you see bits of yourself in them. Maybe it’s looks or mannerisms or emotions but this little mini me has somehow become both your shadow and your reflection.

When your best friend is three you may find your world is small and large all at once. Because only in the confinements of a three year old world can you be completely isolated from the complexity of adult life and completely in awe of the world’s vastness in unison.

When your best friend is three you know there will be a limit to it. It’s not like when you were in school and you got those BFF bracelets with your girlfriends. (You did this, too, yes?) It’s not like your relationship with your husband that will grow and change and come together and fall apart.

It’s different.

When your best friend is three, you are completely aware that it is fleeting and that one day he may not be so interested in hanging out with you at the coffee shop or telling you all of the details about his day. Even the yucky ones.

When your best friend is three, you know that this part may end. But you hope, so very much, that the parts where he’s honest with you, and loves you, and laughs with you and shares with you will stick around.

Because you know that somehow what you are establishing with your little best friend now will be the foundation for what you will sustain with him later.

And even though you know he will not always think so, you will always think of him as the very best part of yourself.

That is what happens when your best friend is three.

My Best Friend, Age 3

Noah age 3

 

How Do You Get Your Little One Talking?

It’s hard to believe that in just a few short weeks (16 days if anyone’s counting) it will be time for school to start again.

I’ve enjoyed the summer, but truthfully my heart races at back to school time. Maybe it’s the former teacher in me, or the exciting new possibilities that come with the start of a new year, or the joy of getting back on a schedule.

I love back to school and this year my little guy is starting Pre-K. I am so excited for this new milestone for him and hope he has an amazing experience.

Now that I’m a parent, though, I know that finding out about his experience is not always easy.

Join me over at Richmondmom.com today where I’ve got tips on how to learn about what really went on in your child’s school day.

I would love to learn your favorite ways to get your little one talking!

I’ll see you there! xo

The Trouble With Three

Have you ever spent a lot of time with a three year old? By a lot, I would have to say approximately 150 hours a week. There are 168 hours in a week, and I legitimately spend 150 of them with my son. Who happens to be at the ridiculously challenging age of three.

(This is a true calculation. My husband is very rarely home, and this calculation took into account the times my son goes to school or attends church child care. I am with him AT ALL OTHER TIMES. I am including the night hours because at nearly three-and-a-half, this child still does not sleep through the night. We’re working on it.)

I remember my mom and my mother-in-law both saying that they found three to be harder than two. As a mother of a two year old, I found that to be an impossible statement.

Then, I became the mother of a three year old.

Three year olds are, for lack of a more appropriate description, ridiculous creatures.

I could handle the terrible twos. Terrible twos are just about the word “no” and temper tantrums. Three year olds are constantly on a roller coaster and they are taking you with them.

Here is my parenting time line so far:

Pregnancy, delivery, recovery: Terrible

Baby phase: I rocked it. My emotions may have been going haywire as I struggled with postpartum depression, but I found parenting a baby very natural and I knew exactly how to do it in a way that worked for me and my son. We had a really great run for those first 18 months.

Terrible Twos: My son hit his terrible twos early, at 18 months. Even though the constant “No”s and temper tantrums were trying, I was (usually) able to deal with them and think, “It must be hard to be two.”

Two and a half to three: Dare I say it, but from age two and a half to three parenting was actually EASY. My son was a good listener, very cooperative, and very willing and excited to learn new skills. He practically potty trained himself at 29 months, received glowing reviews from his teachers, and was fun to be around.

Then three hit. It wasn’t an overnight change, but slowly my sweet, loving boy turned into a whiny, emotional, defiant monster. He forgot how to listen and pushes limits like his life depends on it.

I am finding threes to be worse than twos because at two they are genuinely still learning. Their protests are out of frustration and your job is to provide guidance. At age three, I KNOW my son knows better than some of these behaviors and he continues them anyway. It’s exhausting and infuriating.

The thing is that no one tells you about how bad the threes will be, or they can’t tell you exactly why it’s hard. It just IS. It’s incredibly, frustratingly, hard.

It feels like another one of those unspoken rights of motherhood. Your body will change in indescribable ways, your bladder will never go back to normal, oh, and the threes are going to be REALLY hard.

My favorite term for my son is a threenager, because he certainly teeters between being a little one that needs me and a teenager with an attitude ready to be independent. My threenager has got his role down complete with going to his room and slamming doors when he’s mad to uncontrollable bouts of attitude and disrespect to telling me the other day, “Mom, please be quiet. You’re interrupting my show.”

Sigh. The beauty of being someone’s mother is you can see them at all of their stages. I can look at my son and still see him as a baby, and I sometimes flash forward to seeing him as a teenager and see glimpses of the young man he will become. And then I see him as three, at this challenging age of pushing limits and being in between.

And I think, this won’t last for long. This, too, is just a phase.

But so far I must say, it’s a phase I’m ready to move on from.

Only 23 more days till 4.

 

Tooth Trouble: The Update

My son has had tooth trouble since he was a baby, and on Tuesday we just completed our latest round of treatment; a second dental surgery. You can read all about our tooth trouble and his first surgery here: http://www.elatedexhaustion.com/2013/07/02/tooth-trouble-the-whole-story/

This time, my husband and I took our son to our new dentist (who we love), and after checking his vitals and reviewing the treatment plan the dentist gave him an oral dose of a sedative. We took our little guy back out to the waiting room and held him as he got a bit sleepy but mostly he said it just made him dizzy. When the dentist came to get him he went off in a daze and my husband and I exchanged a look that all at once expressed our nervousness and calmness and here-we-go-again-ness in a we’ve been together forever and I can read your looks kind of way.

And then we waited.

About two hours later we were able to get our little guy who was still out of his from the sedation and the procedure. His mouth was swollen and he was groggy, but they were able to fill all 4 cavities, do a through cleaning, get x-rays, and do “nerve work”, which, if I’m honest, I’m not entirely clear on what that means.

One of the teeth that had a cavity was his only remaining front tooth. It had an extensive cavity but she was able to put filling through out the entire back of the tooth to keep the tooth in tact.

We were left with instructions to keep him on as sugar-free of a diet as possible, do diligent brushing, and make sure we use the toddler flossers for nightly flossing.

I am so relieved that our little guy is healthy after this second round of dental surgery. And I am hoping, really really hoping, that we can avoid teeth drama for a bit.

image

Checking vitals before surgery.

imageMy boys pre-op.

 

Why I Don’t Work Out

Admittedly, I’ve never been good at working out.

I’ve never been super skinny, but I’ve always been at a healthy and happy weight without having to try much. Then having a baby happened and now I know that to keep my body in shape I’m actually going to have to do something about it.

I had such a difficult recovery from my birth experience that my first attempt to get back in shape did not happen until my son was 2 and in a two morning a week preschool class. I hated it, and I felt like dying. The few times I brought my son with me to child care he cried the entire time. It was just not a good fit.

Last summer I jumped back on the fitness bandwagon with a go at Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred. Another fail. The workout was intense for me as a beginner and even though the idea of a home workout video is great, it’s harder to do than you would think when you have a toddler interrupting you every 5 minutes.

This past spring I joined an adult hip hop dance class hoping for a workout, but it turns out it was really just about learning choreography for a performance. While fun, it didn’t do anything for me. I often had to bring my son with me to class, which meant a lot of interruptions and I’m pretty sure the rest of the class didn’t appreciate it.

This summer, we decided to join a pool. After a lot of research, it turns out that the best fit for us was a summer membership to the YMCA. The branch 20 minutes down the road has a full outdoor water park (which is awesome!) and the cost of membership includes the outdoor pool/water park, full access to the YMCA gym and group exercise classes, free childcare, 3 free wellness coach sessions, access to any branch in the Richmond area, and swim lessons for my son. This summer we could play at the pool and I could work out!

My little guy has been doing a lot of summer camps, so I’ve been dropping him off at those and then going to group exercise classes, which I’ve LOVED.

Then I brought my son with me to the child care area and he liked it and I got to work out. I had my first of 3 wellness sessions so now I better understand the equipment and what exactly I should be doing as a work out (which I think has always been a large part of my problem…I don’t know what to do and at what level). Maybe I could really keep this up this time! Wednesday he went to the child care area, I worked out for an hour, and then we hung out at the pool all afternoon. It was perfect!

And then this morning my son and I were going to the gym. We slept in a little bit, and then he wanted breakfast. Not the kind I fixed him. A different kind. And then he needed to get dressed, but first he wanted to lay his clothes out in a very specific way, and then dress his Curious George lovey. And we had to brush his teeth but with a specific toothbrush that was downstairs. After we finally accomplished getting dressed, brushing teeth, and overcoming A LOT of dawdling, he was cooperative enough to get his shoes. And then he sat down so I could help him put them on and somehow spilled his water cup all over his pants. So we went back upstairs to change and back downstairs to finally put on shoes.

We made it out of the house at 11:00 AM. After driving the 20 minutes it takes to get to the gym and a lot of persuading to get him out of the car..

*”Time to get out of the car, love.”

blank stare

“Noah, come on buddy! We are running out of time!”

moves as slow as a turtle*

….I checked him into childcare at 11:30. They only offer childcare from 9:00 to 12:30 so if I miss that window I miss my opportunity. I would have one hour to work out and then we could eat lunch and play at the pool.

Except he would not go in child care. He stood outside the door screaming “NO” and refused to go in. I went in and tried to entice him with toys, the child care lady was trying to be encouraging, and he would not enter the child care area.

Realizing this was a losing battle I said, “Fine, let’s go home,” crossed his name off the list and we left.

We got home at 12:05.

We spent all morning getting ready, wasted an hour of driving and gas for no reason, I still didn’t get to work out and now he’s in his room and I’m blogging in frustration.

Sigh. I feel like this is a losing battle and I might just have to learn how to be content with being unhealthy.

How do you moms that work out all the time do this?

How to Survive the Summer on RichmondMom

I am over-the-moon excited to have my debut post live on Richmondmom.com today.

This summer in Richmond has been wet, rainy, and scary humid. (The scary part being the big-ness of my hair.)

Join me at Richmondmom where I talk about how to survive the summer with a toddler.

See you there! xo

 

What I’ve Learned From a Summer of Night Shifts

My husband got the short end of the stick this summer in terms of his schedule, and he’s been on nights since May. He’s only had one 24 hour period off since then, and prior to that was on a 21 day stretch with no day off. This has made for a pretty long summer of just the toddler and I hanging out, but in the meantime I’ve learned some interesting things.

1) If left to my own devices I do not go to bed. Ever. Or at least until a ridiculously late time in the early morning which means I then have to function without sleep while taking care of a 3 year old the next day.

2) When given the opportunity to have complete control of the TV remote, I watch trash TV. The really bad kind that I make fun of other people for watching like Keeping Up With the Kardashians and The Real Housewives of Somewhere (mainly New Jersey and Orange County.) Ridiculous right?

3) I do not cook, so without my husband home to cook for us, my son and I eat out. A lot.

4) When we are sick of eating out, my ability to cook does make an occasional appearance. I actually do know how to throw together a meal of salmon, broccoli and rice or pasta and salad.

5)I’ve also spent a lot of time watching you tube how to videos…how to put on make up. This new little late night hobby has taught me a lot of new tricks and introduced me to some really fun new products. Also, I may have a new make up addiction.

6) Taking care of a three year old all by yourself day in and day out is exhausting. My old routine of put-the-toddler-to-bed-and-go-downstairs-to-write has become a new routine of put-the-toddler- to-bed-and-fall-asleep-with-all-of-the-downstairs-lights-still-on. Oops.

7) I actually like the new morning routine when my husband is home to help get the toddler ready for his various summer camps. He’s even been making scrambled eggs and bagels or toast for breakfast for our son, which I know he appreciates more than the cold cereal he gets from me.

8) Only seeing your husband for 30 minutes to an hour a day is difficult. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m lonely, because I am very rarely without the toddler and I’ve made sure to fill our calendar with a lot of play dates and summer camps this summer, but it’s hard. And it’s definitely not the ideal family life I had once pictured our family enjoying.

9) All of the work we put into getting our son to finally sleep in his own bed has gone out the window. The toddler’s been sleeping with me for two months straight now and I know that when we try to move him back into his own room it’s going to be a battle.

10) I often refer to myself as a “single mom who happens to be married” which I realize is not fair to my husband and I don’t mean to be insulting to all of the single moms who work so hard every day. But only seeing your husband/the toddler only seeing his father for 30 minutes a day for months is very difficult, and sometimes I’m downright mad about it.

This will all be over soon, and I think that the month of August has the potential to be full of quality family time, or at least family dinners, which to us will feel like a vacation.

Do you ever feel alone in parenting? How do you deal with it?

 

100 Mommies

“I think we need 100 Mommies,” I heard a little voice pipe up from the back seat.

This is my favorite time with him, when we are driving from one place to the next and his body, finally still from the requirements of a car seat, allow his mind to imagine, create, and share.

“100 Mommies!” I reply. “Why do you think you need 100 Mommies?”

“If I had 100 Mommies, then one Mommy could do every thing.”

“Oh I see. So every Mommy would do one thing? What things would the 100 Mommies do?”

“Well, one Mommy would clean, and one Mommy would drive and one Mommy would play with me. And, well, I don’t know what the other Mommies would do.”

“Hmm, would one Mommy cook?”

“No, the Daddy will cook.”

This is an accurate portrayal of our family roles.

“I really like this idea! Everything would get done if there were 100 Mommies!” I enthusiastically replied, genuinely on board with the idea.

There was a pondering silence coming from the back seat.

“I’m so lucky I get to be your Mommy,” I added to the silence. Because I am, and I want him to know that.

“Yes,” he agreed in his swaggering three year old confidence. “Maybe there should only be one Mommy.”

I smiled at his conclusion and focused on the road ahead of me.

And I thought, even though I love this idea of 100 mommies and the fantasy of actually having a crossed off to-do list, I’m glad there’s only one Mommy too.

Have you shared a sweet conversation with your little one lately?

Tooth Trouble: The Whole Story

My son started teething a bit early, around 4 months old. We did all of the things we knew to do; teething rings in the freezer, let him bite our fingers, gave him Tylenol, tried the homeopathic teething tablets, and gave him lots of cuddles.

By 6 months teeth coming through had become normal for us and by 9 months he had quite a few teeth.

We were moving from our apartment in Augusta, GA to our first home in Richmond, VA when he was 9 months old. At his final check up with the GA pediatrician, she was concerned about his teeth. “They seem to have some deformation,” she said. “I recommend you take him to the dentist immediately.”

Really? The dentist at 9 months old? Aren’t you supposed to have the first appointment at age 2 or 3? And we were in the middle of moving so it didn’t make sense to try and establish a connection with a dentist when we had one foot out the door to move 10 hours away. “Then the first thing you need to do when you get to Richmond is call a pediatric dentist.”

So I did. We moved when my son was 9 months old and at 10 months old we were sitting in a pediatric dentist’s office, my son in my lap, while the dentist looked at his mis-formed teeth.

The thing was, they actually CAME IN YELLOW. This wasn’t a case of poor dental care, this was a child whose teeth came in yellow as a baby. The pediatric dentist started grilling me about my pregnancy. Had I abused drugs? What was my alcohol intake? Did I have a complicated pregnancy? Was there a family history of poorly formed teeth? Basically, what did I do to make this happen? (Answers are no, none, yes but I don’t know how that would have affected his teeth, I don’t think so, and I have no idea why are you making me feel oddly guilty?)

After more questions about his diet and eating habits and making me feel like a terrible mother I was told that there was nothing we could really do (he was still too young to even brush teeth) but we might need to start wiping his teeth with a wet rag after he eats. Oh, and I needed to stop breastfeeding.

There is actually a lot of evidence that shows the health benefits of breastfeeding, including the positive effects on oral development and dental health. Discontinuing breastfeeding was not something I was willing to do. I left the office feeling deflated and angry for the way I was made to feel that his teeth were somehow my fault.

Some family conversations later my husband and I find out that some distant cousin/relative on my husband’s side had enamel deficiency. Some strange ultra recessive gene?

We wiped my son’s teeth after eating and he had a diet of breast milk and mashed fruit and veggies. At the next check up, three months later, the dentist’s views were much of the same. There had been no improvement in my son’s teeth but he was still too young for them to do anything, and they again urged me to stop nursing and questioned what happened during my pregnancy. I also hated the way they handled my son, making me hold him down in my lap so they could pry his mouth open and take a peek. It was difficult for me to physically maneuver him and to emotionally hear him scream. The verdict was the same; let’s wait and see what happens.

Three months later, we got a different dentist. A young, very nice resident who treated my son with care and didn’t make me feel terrible about his yellow teeth. She said that not only had there been no improvement in his teeth, but it actually looked like they were beginning to further deteriorate. She recommended that we put my son under general anesthesia to perform a dental surgery. She said the condition of his teeth would continue to deteriorate, and we could choose to intervene now or later but now would be best.

I was in tears at the prospect of my son facing a surgery. My husband was not at all comforting, since his specialty is anesthesia and he thinks of it as a routine procedure. He did not seem to fully grasp what it meant to face the prospect of putting your own child to sleep for a surgery. I felt alone in my concerns and scheduling the surgery became a task of it’s own, requiring multiple calls to the “scheduling coordinator” who was in charge of coordinating the procedure with the dental office, insurance, and the OR, as well as the anesthesia team.

We were going on our first family vacation in May and would have the procedure done in June. While we were on vacation I got a call about rescheduling the exact day. Also while we were on vacation, the deterioration the dentist was afraid of came true.

We made our way to the beach prior to going to GA to visit family. While in GA, my son started running a temperature and seemed to have some facial swelling. We took him to a pediatrician in GA who said maybe it was an allergic reaction or that sometimes there can be swelling with colds and fevers. My son was in pain, and later that evening we discovered why.

His gums had abscessed. Whatever it was that made his teeth yellow had caused an infection that had spread to his gums, causing his gums and face to swell. We had to call the dentist and have her call in a prescription for an antibiotic to GA. Depending on his condition when we returned would depend on whether or not they could perform surgery, since they do not like to put children to sleep if they are running fevers and on antibiotics.

After returning home, and 2 courses on antibiotics later, the swelling was down, fevers were gone, and it was time for the surgery.

I had had a few weeks to process, so I thought I was in a good place about the surgery, and it was very apparent that it was necessary. The morning of the surgery my husband, son and I woke up extremely early and got ready to go to the hospital. I spilled my chai tea all over the kitchen floor so perhaps I wasn’t as put together as I thought.

We made it to the hospital my 6:30 AM and I followed my husband through what seemed like a maze before we arrived. We took my son to a small room where they weighed him and talked to him. We had to sign a bunch of papers. People came to talk to my husband. We met the dentist and anesthesiologist. And then they gave my son an oral medication that would make him sleepy. It really made him incredibly loopy.

I don’t know if you’ve ever dealt with a drunk baby before, but it was incredibly strange. He got really happy, and as my husband said in his take away message, “At least we know he’ll be a fun, happy drunk in college!”

Then they took him away.

There were no tears from my son when they took him, which is good, and I think part of why they give him the oral meds when we’re there with him. So it wouldn’t be as scary.

My husband and I walked down to the cafeteria. I ordered a chai. “Don’t you want anything to eat?” he asked me. I’m never one to pass up good breakfast food.

“I’m not hungry,” I replied.

We walked in silence back to the waiting room, where we sat, crowded with other moms and dads waiting for their child and a lot of other families waiting to even go back into the little room to get started. My son was the first surgery of the day.

“You know, it’s not normal to have to hand your child to someone and watch them take them away to surgery,” my husband said. It had finally caught up to him.

We passed the time with people watching. I briefly gazed through a magazine. TV blared in the corner. We laughed about something, but I don’t remember what.

“Hembree?” We jumped to attention. “He’s doing fine. The procedure went well. He’s just in recovery now. We’ll come and get you when you can see him.”

The dentist came out shortly after. “He did great! We were able to cap the bottom two teeth and do a thorough cleaning. We used the base of his top two teeth to construct caps around them to resemble full teeth. Unfortunately, the infection was too deep to save the other top two teeth, so we had to extract them. I would like to send them off to a research facility in North Carolina. I’ve really never seen anything like it.”

At 20 months old, my son had undergone general anesthesia, had fake teeth, and had two teeth extracted.

Seeing him in post-op was heart-wrenching. His mouth was in gauze and covered blood. He was extremely disoriented in a hospital gown and over-sized orange hospital socks. His face was a bit swollen and there was sticky residue over his eyes from where they had been taped shut. He was calling for Mommy and Daddy and we were right there but it was hard to comfort him because he was so unaware of his surroundings.

At some point they brought him a snow cone (a cup of ice with syrup.) We tried to help him take small bites.

Soon we were released to go home. We carried him all the way to the car and drove home as quickly as possible.

When we got home he desperately wanted to walk and play, but he was stumbling and falling. The anesthesia still hadn’t fully worn off and he was incapable of walking. He screamed and cried when I had to hold him and finally threw a large tantrum, escaped my grasp, and crawled to the middle of the living room floor where he promptly fell asleep. That was certainly a first. My husband and I sat in the living room with him and watched him sleep away the beautiful summer day.

Hours later, when he woke up, he was fine. We gave him Tylenol and used teething ice packs for a few days and that was it. Tooth drama over.

We tried the tooth fairy thing that night and left money under his pillow. The concept was lost on a 20 month old.

I was worried that only having two front top teeth would affect his eating abilities. It didn’t. I was worried that missing two front top teeth would affect his speech development. It does, but this did come into play until earlier this year when it was brought to my attention by his preschool teachers. I was worried about what it would mean to his peers to be missing his front teeth. His baby teeth are gone, and his permanent teeth will not come in until he is 6 or 7, about first grade. I just hope this never causes him to be made fun of in school. Luckily, all of his peers will be losing their baby teeth at some point so maybe it won’t be an issue.

Then on September 1st, 2011, my son’s second birthday, we received a bill in the mail for a total of $13,500 for my son’s dental surgery. Insurance was refusing to cover it. It was unclear why. One call resulted in the claim that the procedure “was not medically necessary.” Another stated that the pre-approval had been improperly filed. Yet another inquiry informed me that the billing code was incorrect. In the mean time, we were not paying any money for the surgery as I fought with the insurance company, and the hospital billing sent our file to collections, so we were receiving threatening letters. Though this is a long story and could be a post all on it’s own, the summary is that I called our insurance company EVERY WEEK for an ENTIRE YEAR. We went through two appeal processes. I dealt with the insurance company, collection agencies, the hospital, and the dentist office. Finally, right before my son’s third birthday, the appeal was accepted. After my very strongly worded letter (I wanted an award for that thing) and a very thorough appeal packet which included reference to legislation supporting the procedure, photographic evidence, and many documents, our claim was accepted. I had spent a year of my time on it, but our outstanding $13,500 bill was brought down to only a $30 co-pay.

Summer turned to fall and my son started his first experience at preschool. Then that November, my husband and son were going up the stairs to change a diaper. Someone pulled too hard and someone let go, and somehow my son fell up the stairs, cracking his top front tooth. He was in a lot of pain and it seemed the fall had not only cracked the tooth, it had pushed the base of the tooth into his gums. It was 4:30 in the afternoon and by 5:00 we were sitting in the dentist’s office, the staff was staying after hours, and they were strapping my son down in what they call a “papoose” and pulling his tooth. No drugs or anesthesia involved.

I couldn’t watch, but I could hear his screams down the hall as my husband stayed calming with him and I cried from afar.

When it was all over we drove home with a popsicle from the dentist and a child with only one remaining top front tooth. He was barely 2 and was missing three teeth that will remain missing until he is 6 or 7.

Then it was over. We diligently brush his teeth twice a day. All follow up checks up have gone well. We thought we were in the clear.

Two weeks ago my son had a dentist appointment. I left completely defeated, as they discovered that he had 4 cavities and they are now suggesting another dental surgery to fill them and do a thorough cleaning, asking that he go on a sugar free diet, and saying he needs to brush his teeth after each time he eats.

We have not scheduled the second surgery yet, because we are trying to find a time that my husband in actually home to come with us and waiting on a pre-approval from the insurance company (we have since changed companies so hopefully it will be better this time.) In the meantime, we are starting a sugar free diet and doing a lot of teeth brushing.

I’m am so exhausted from tooth drama.

I know that in terms of health problems, we are incredibly lucky that his health problems are limited to dental. The only thing is, it spills into other areas of his health such as his speech development and we are in for a lifetime of dental work and braces. One of the points of baby teeth is to be spacers for permanent teeth, and since he does not have baby teeth to hold the space, braces are inevitable. I just REALLY hope his permanent teeth come in with out deformities.

Has anyone ever experienced anything like this?

 

End of The Year

I drove home alone from choir rehearsal as the dusk began to settle into dark.

Tears had been on the verge of falling for days, but I was completely unsure of why.

When’s the last time you let yourself cry? I asked myself. Surprisingly, I could not come up with an answer. Not a stranger to tear fall, I realized it had been a long time since I gave myself permission to just let go.

I got home to a house still alive with lights though it was well past bedtime. Things don’t always go according to schedule when I leave my boys to their own devices.

Last week was the end of the year songfest at my son’s preschool where they gave an adorable performance which I was unable to capture on film because my phone is ridiculous. (Or it was a user error. Either way.)

End of the Year Preschool Performance

End of the Year Preschool Performance

At the End of the Year Preschool Performance

At the End of the Year Preschool Performance

This week was the last week of school. The milestone of “the last day” was significant and difficult for me. My son wasn’t phased, but he was a very enthusiastic participant in picking out teacher gifts and delivering them with big smiles and equally big hugs.

Last Day of 3K

Last Day of 3K

This week was also the last week of his dance class and he had a dance recital. He was the only boy in the class, but he loved his dance teacher, dance class, and was very good at his dance routines. My phone didn’t capture much of that performance either (UGH) but I hope I always remember how proud he was of himself with his dance routine and the big smile he would bear when he glanced into the audience to see his Mommy and Daddy watching him.

Stretching before his dance recital

Stretching before his dance recital

The only boy in dance class. He rocked his dance recital.

The only boy in dance class. He rocked his dance recital.

I found something on Pinterest a while ago about the book “Oh The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss. You buy the book and have all of your child’s teachers sign it from their first day of school through high school and you give it to them at high school graduation. When I presented them with teacher gifts this year I asked his teachers to sign the book and tracked down his teachers from last year so they could sign it also. Now I have it tucked away, ready for next spring and the next set of teachers in his life to sign a book that I will give to him the summer before he leaves for college.

The house that should have been quiet was still blossoming with activity as my husband and son entered into a tickling game at 9:00 at night. Usually one to lead the time-to-go-to-bed parade, this time I decided to watch and found myself laughing along as my boys tickled and my son’s screams of laughter and delight floated through the air.

The notebook his teachers had put together lay open on the coffee table in the living room. Consumed with the busyness that accompanies end of the year events, we hadn’t had time to watch the CD enclosed in the yellow paper case tucked into the inside pocket.

“Do you think that CD would play on your x-box?” I posed, looking for a way to transition to a quiet activity and satisfy my curiosity at once.

“Umm, maybe,” replied my husband, jumping up to try.

A few seconds later we were all greeted with full screen animation of a class picture and a title that read “Zany Zoo Three Year Old Class 2012-2013.” A press of the play button would reveal a slideshow set to the song “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” of all of the pictures the teachers had taken of the students throughout the year.

And then, finally, I found myself sobbing on the couch. Really sobbing in full ugly cry fashion.

“It’s ok, Mommy, don’t cry,” said my not-so-little-anymore boy as he tried to wipe away my tears. “Why are you crying, Mommy?”

It took me awhile to compose a sentence.

“Not so long ago, I was a teacher. At the end of the year I worked very hard to make a book for all of my students and I made a CD just like this with pictures and music for the Mommies and Daddies to have of their babies. And now I’m a Mommy of a sweet boy who is old enough to go to school and get CDs like this and I have been working on a book to give to you at your high school graduation. And that means that one day you are going to graduate high school and you’re just growing up so fast!”

I’m sure he stopped listening half way through. My husband gave me a bemused look. His hardness balances my mushy. We are the epitome of opposites attract.

I did find the strength to laugh at myself over my scene. “End of school years are always going to be hard for me. I am always going to be that Mommy that cries at the end of every school year. Get used to it people.”

My husband and son laughed and smiled. My foreshadowing of events came as a surprise to no one.

We were laughing again, though I don’t remember why, and finally began our ascent upstairs to bed.

How apt, I thought, that I just pondered when the last time was I gave myself permission to cry, and then I found tears releasing themselves during a preschool slideshow.

Funny how sometimes things work out exactly the way they are supposed to.

A popcicle treat after his end of the year picnic at preschool. He's growing up so fast!!

A popcicle treat after his end of the year picnic at preschool. He’s growing up so fast!!

 

* Linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop inspired by the prompt “5.) Pinterest Inspired! Share something you pinned and actually tried.” *