Tag Archives: family

Queen of the Fairies.

Long live the Queen. Queen of the fairies, that is.

unnamed (2)I’ve been missing from here, I know. At the end of January, we received the devastating news that my beloved aunt had ovarian cancer. The word “aunt” is so incomplete  because this woman was so much more than my father’s sister, and I’m not sure I can adequately describe what a powerhouse of love, happiness, caring, adventurousness she was. And then she had the audacity to die three weeks after her diagnosis. My sister and I raced across the Atlantic on the first flight when we got the call that things were going very badly. We touched down in Gatwick airport in London, England, desperate to hold her hand one more time. To see that sparkle in her eyes that used to light up a room, to hear her voice again. The minute the wheels touched the ground, I turned on my cell phone (I know, I know, but this was an emergency) and texted my brother that we had touched down. We still had another 6 hours to go before getting to the final destination in Ireland, but I needed to update the family so that we could feel included. The only response back was “call me please.” I turned to my sister, fear gripping my heart, and told her I think she’s gone, I think we’re too late. I called my brother straight away and he asked me where I was. I told him we were still on the plane, and he responded calmly that I should call him when we got off the plane.

11001759_10152788459798860_6807096383217468643_n
Our beautiful aunt Rita.

That’s when the despair really gripped us. The plane couldn’t get to the gate fast enough. We were seated in the back too so we had to wait for everyone to get off. We ran down the gangplank and the second we exited the door, I called him back, only able to say “we’re off the plane” when he answered. And then the worst news in the world was given. This woman I revered, this woman who showed me what love was as a child, had died ten minutes ago. My heart shattered into little pieces in that airport and I sobbed uncontrollably. My sister saw instantly what had happened and I could hear her heart breaking too. It felt wrong that the world didn’t stop spinning. How were all these people walking around me not falling down in grief? Didn’t they realize the universe was incomplete now? How did time continue on because there shouldn’t be a world where that magnificent woman isn’t in it. The only thing I could think was W.H. Auden’s poem “Funeral Blues.”

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

We sobbed for the next several hours as we transferred to Heathrow airport, waiting for the last flight home. We had missed her. We had missed it. Missed death. I had desperately wanted to be there for her when she died, just as she was there for me all through my life. I had wanted to soothe her, assure her that she was loved as much as she had loved us. She needed to know how much I appreciated her and what she had done. How she had changed my life when we were in the worst of times and made it not only better, she made our time with her magical. My darling aunt was 82 years old when she died, but her secret was that she was really Peter Pan. She loved fairies and butterflies, adventures and discoveries. She never grew up and as children, she was a magnet to us. A magnet of happiness and wonder, security and love. As adults, we appreciated her lack of adultness, watching in awe as she still marvelled at the world, at nature, and was able to still always smile, always give a hug, always touching our hands or arms in a silent gesture of love. No matter what the situation, she was able to see a positive and move forward. Help all those around her and persevere. She worshipped the wonderment of children, and invested heavily in keeping their dreams alive. When my niece was seven years old, she walked up my aunt’s garden with my aunt, and found a fairy house. Still believing in fairies, my aunt encouraged her to write a letter to them and my niece left it in their little house. The next day, my niece checked on that fairy house and saw that, not only had her letter been received, the fairies had written back! That was the woman she was.

11021247_10152808974903860_6053527541749693700_nHer house is covered in pictures and statues of fairies and gnomes since she was an avid gardener. She loved belly dancing, playing the piano, singing, dressing up in costumes, making the most out of life. A woman so wonderful that when she retired, the partner of the firm she worked at (boring accountants no less!) sent out a memo to the entire company announcing her retirement, titling the piece “Greenfingered Bellydancer To Quit.” Click on the picture to see the full memo.

10599472_10152800769328860_4082967285454690520_nI walked through that house last week, Friday to be exact, knowing it was more than likely the last time I’d ever set foot in that house, that the symbol of security and love encompassing my childhood would be gone, knowing that I’d never hear that melodious voice again or see that gleaming smile. My heart broke apart all over again.

However, the oddest thing happened while I was there for her funeral. I learned that she had told our cousin the day before she died, the day before our arrival, that she didn’t want my sister and I to see her “like this,” and while I felt slightly robbed of the opportunity to see her again in person, I understand what she did was completely out of love. Her final, biggest gesture of love was letting herself die.  She let herself slip away into the other world before we arrived so that we could always remember that vibrant, larger-than-life lady. And she was a pure lady. Our family gathered, we shared stories of our aunt and laughed wonderfully. Even in death, she was still making us smile. We laughed, we drank, we reminisced, we connected, we smiled, and only occasionally did we let ourselves mourn because in keeping with her style, one would never be morose.

Last night, I lay in bed thinking about her, and the gift she had given us. Because she was truly a gift. While we had missed her death, we were there for the most important part – her life. We were blessed to be a part of it. And while my heart feels like it’s broken, I realized that she had created that heart, taught it how to love, made it bigger and stronger than anyone else ever could and for that I am truly grateful. In 2002, I wrote her a card thanking her for being so wonderful to me, teaching me how to love and for showing me such love throughout my life. In 2012, I wrote another card to thank her for teaching me how to be a mother, because even though she didn’t have any biological children, she showed me how a mother loves a child. I thanked her, telling her every time she told me I was a good mother, she should know that she and my grandmother were the ones to show me what a good mother was. As I looked through her papers last week, I found both those cards that she had kept forever. I was stunned.

Her heart was far bigger than her tiny little statuesque figure would make you believe. It makes me want to keep her legacy alive. To show my children the love and patience she showed me. To not get caught up in the minor details of daily life and to embrace it instead. As my sister said in her eulogy for my aunt, the journey was as important as the destination. That’s what we are all on, a journey. We can chose how we react, chose how live our lives, chose what is important. We can do it with a smile on our faces and appreciate the simplest of things around us. To not conform to the societal expectations given a certain age, and to simply live life to the fullest. To love unconditionally. To be happy. To appreciate the world around us. Appreciate the people around us. Therein lies the key.

As a friend put it perfectly, everyone needs a Rita in their life. And more importantly, everyone needs to BE a Rita in someone’s life.

Over-Parenting: Final Chapter

Begin here for the background story and here for Nelson Mandela’s prison. At the bottom, I’ve got some extra photos for viewing.

2086On my way from the airport to downtown Cape Town, the highway passed by a shanty town (a township). Not even 30 minutes in the country, I was stunned by the poverty I saw. Instantly, I thought of my kids and how incredibly good they have it. How immensely privileged they are and the thought that followed was how incredibly unaware (and subsequently ungrateful) they are. At that moment, I wished for my 6-year old daughter to see that sight. We’ve talked a lot for a while now about how fortunate we are to have a roof over our heads, a fridge with food in it, a pantry at our disposal. But that sight I saw brought everything to a new level. Feel free to click on the picture to get a closer look. Note the doctor sign.

Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope

I made it to my family and we strolled through downtown Cape Town via a gorgeous park and had a delicious lunch. Table mountain in view, the scene couldn’t have been more gorgeous. Pristine conditions, stunning scenery. Including travel, it had been three days since I saw my children and I wasn’t having a hard time coping. The five-star treatment I was receiving from my family made me feel like a queen. Every now and then, I’d think about the kids and be grateful they weren’t with me. Climbing all the way to the top of the Cape of Good Hope (Cape Point) would have been a nightmare because inevitably, I would have ended up carrying the wee one. I reveled in the freedom to take my time at the top and I was so overwhelmed by the beauty before me that I was moved to tears. At that time, I was grateful for the kids’ absence. In fact, throughout the whole week, I was grateful they weren’t there. I was grateful that my husband wasn’t there. Not because I don’t love them but because it had been so incredibly long since I got to be just me. Carefree, without thought of another person. The farthest I needed to plan ahead for was what to wear to dinner that night.

The oddest thing happened several times. It was hugely appreciated, and differs immensely from us mothers in the United States. Everyone there seemed to understand how hard it is to have children. The exchange usually went –
Brother: “Here’s my sister. She’s here on vacation without the kids for a week.”
Person: “Kids? Oh you needed the break! How old are they?”
Me: “Six and three.”
Person: “Oh you really needed the break.”

There was no magic cover over parenthood. Everyone understood how draining, wonderful, horrendous, precious, tiring and loving parenting is. No one was pretending to be successfully doing it all. No one was pretending it was easy. There were no veils of perfection at the front door. I was able to talk freely at shared frustrations, without judgement, because it was the norm to talk about such things. There wasn’t this silent but deadly competition going on to see who was the perfect mother.

Then there were the stories I was told. The sights I saw. Not just the shanty towns. I visited an orphanage called the Home of Hope where I met some extraordinary children. Children who have been abandoned, or neglected. Also, children with special needs because fetal alcohol syndrome is a huge problem in South Africa. One child I met was Ethan (not his real name). He is eleven years old and we cheered him valiantly as he counted to three. You see, when he was eight years old, his mother died. So his uncle carried Ethan out into the ocean and drowned him. He did succeed. Ethan was dead. But someone saw and revived him. However, he was dead for so long that he is severely brain-damaged. Those are the situations children are facing. Yet, they were the happiest little people I’d ever met. My heart bled for all the children in that home. How hard it must be for them, to be abandoned or neglected, but when I voiced my thoughts, I was told that these children, the very ones I felt sorry for, were the absolute privileged of their community. These children had a solid home to live in, food everyday, love provided freely, even specialized teachers to provide an education to them. Just those things alone made them the luckiest of their kind. And that hit me in the gut.

These were the times that I thought of my children. And honestly, the feelings weren’t good. I adore my children with all my soul, but they have no idea of hardship. They have no idea what goes on in the world. Yes, yes, they are too young for such knowledge to be imparted by me, but there are millions of young children living it. Here’s where my parenting changed. The dawning on me that my children are utterly lavished, living in the lap of luxury (comparatively), surround with so much food, so much toys, so much education, and yet it’s taken for granted by all. By almost all children regardless of age in this country. By most adults. The sense of entitlement has risen so high that it’s snuck into society as the norm and for me, that needs to be taken down a notch or fifty. A nice chunk of the problem is that we want to lavish our kids with stuff because we’ve grown up with the association that presents mean love. Early last year, hubby and I declared a family rule that we weren’t getting the children anything until it was their birthday or Christmas. If they wanted something, they could let us know and I would put it on a wish list. Come present time, we knew what to get. I’m comfortable with that arrangement. But there is still the gimme-gimme-gimme attitude bombarding us constantly. I want to change that for my children. I haven’t exactly figured out how to yet but I’m working on it.

Anyway, back to being fabulous without children! I got to eat in the best of restaurants in Cape Town. Even spent a night in a vineyard, experienced the most delicious food ever, and found myself again. It was nice to know I could still be me. I could still be sociable, fun, witty, without having to dart my eyes across the room looking for the little ones, checking that they haven’t destroyed whatever is available. I could still hold my own at a party and I could still have a blast.  About a year ago, someone asked me who I am and all I could come up with is “mother,” but now I’ve had this wonderful opportunity to step back from my life for 10 days. To live freely. To live well. To experience the beauty and the heartbreak that Cape Town offers. While I adored Cape Point, one of my favorite pictures of the whole trip is below. It sums up how I felt. I felt like I was on top of the world. All of Cape Town below, on top of Table Mountain, wind whirring, and a 360 degree view of pure beauty. Africa. I was actually looking at Africa. Albeit a tiny, miniscule part of Africa but it was Africa nonetheless.

Table mountain
On top of Table Mountain.

Now, all I need do is look at that picture, remember that feeling I had while standing there and take that deep breath. It was an intoxicating feeling, freedom at its best. My children were the farthest thing from my mind. Man, I could stare at that picture all day.

Sunset2
My brother, his husband and I.

By the second to last day, people around me were innocently asking or reminding me that I was leaving the next day. And I would cry. By the morning of my last day, I had banished all talk of the plane because each time brought tears to my eyes. I was threatening to not get on the plane. Even my new South African friend had offered me her spare bedroom!! But I knew I had to leave. I had to end the best week of my single, motherless life. Here’s where I have to thank, from the very depths of my soul, my brother and his husband for giving me this gift. And it truly was a gift in so many ways.

Final sunset in Cape Town
Final sunset in Cape Town

On my last night, we were invited to a friend’s house for a barbecue. We arrived to this gorgeous house in Camps Bay, overlooking the ocean, mountains on the side, pool gleaming, sun setting. A discussion began on parenting and my brother explained that he thought I “over-parented.” I had to think a lot about that because he was spot on. It’s not just me. More than likely, it’s you and everyone else you know too. Because we are so intent on our children being happy, our children being provided for, that we forget to give them the respect they deserve. One of the most important aspect of that is to let them learn the ability to do things themselves. Letting them spread their wings. I’m not talking about avoiding being a helicopter Mom. I was never one of those, but I can’t deny that at home, I’ve spent the past 6 years running back and forth at every request. My husband doesn’t over-parent. If my daughter asks for a cup of water to drink, he tells her to go get it herself. Because the plastic cups are next to the fridge, easily in reach, and she knows how to do it. But she’ll ask me to do it for her. Sure, there are times when kids just need that extra loving and coddling. But most of the time, we fail to let them learn to be self-sufficient. My little three-year old monster will get his own water, but the six-year-old still tries to be waited on hand and foot. It’s not a hardship to make them get their own water. The world won’t end for them, they know how to do it. I just need to say no. It won’t break their soul. ‘No’ won’t send them to therapy. It causes a few tantrums here and there but they’ll get the gist of it soon enough. My own worst trait is that I cave under a rainstorm of “pleeeeeeaaaassssseeee” a thousand times because I just want the talking to stop. But now, my answer is simply “did you not hear my answer the first time?” I then add in a consequence to repeating the question.

This trip wasn’t about them though. It was about me. And it made me realize how incredibly lucky I am, what a full, wonderful life I have. I may have cried for two days at the thought of returning home but that’s simply because I loved my temporary freedom and spending time with my family. God, how I loved every second of it. When I returned, the kids ran to me like never before, squeezing the life out of me, smothering me with kisses, reviving my soul in another way. They were so happy to have me home. It was an amazing feeling and for that, I am grateful. I am able to turn the microscope on my own life and realize how lucky I really am. I want to take with me the positivity of the South African people. An appreciation for what I have, what I can offer as a person and as a parent, who I am, and perhaps who I can be in the future.

My <3 forever and for always to Cape Town, and to the two wonderful men that made it happen.

*************************

Over-Parenting: Part 2

Robben IslandDuring my awesome trip, I took a boat to Robben Island to see Nelson Mandela’s prison cell. What was the most incredible thing to me was that the tour was conducted by a former political prisoner (1984-1989). I wish I had gotten his name. I never did. But he told us how he and four of his friends were kidnapped by security police on a barren road. How they were tortured, physically and mentally. How only four of them made it to Robben Island. The fifth was killed during the torturing process. To talk with this man, hear his story, ask him questions, was the most precious thing to me because what stood out the most was not anger. It wasn’t resentment. It was still joy. It was still hope. He told us how, even when imprisoned, the political prisoners knew that education was the key. Patience, faith, hope, non violent action. These were the tools those prisoners used to get the word out, to build their campaign, to get the world to listen until their voices were loud enough that all political prisoners were set free and apartheid was abolished. I can’t adequately describe the demeanour of this man. His energy was so positive. He was a beacon. Despite all that he had been through, he was still returning to that prison day in and day out, because he was continuing that education to the rest of the world. Robben Island2 I’ve always remembered that Nelson Mandela’s prisoner number was 46664 but I never knew why. Originally, it was 466/64 because he was the 466th arrival on Robben Island in 1964. His number then just became 46664. I met more native South Africans and the attitude always seemed to be the same. It was always one of hope, positivity. The current government is not one Mandiba would be proud of, but they still hope for more. For it to get better. Faced with so, so, so much, the people still focus on moving forward, gently, kindly, with education. As I sat talking to a new friend, I felt such peace talking with her and it made me realize how I myself view my own situations, including parenting. How our first-world problems are so utterly trivial that it borderlines disgust. That we, as a nation, stress so much importance on the most minute of things, letting it cause us so much aggravation. Even now that I am back home a couple of weeks, when I start to feel that familiar stress come on, I think back to South Africa, to a land where most of the people conquered the worst of obstacles, and even now, when poverty and crime are peaking, can still be positive. It’s a life lesson to be learned. That I needed to learn to change my parenting, among other things. But what I encountered with regards children specifically, I could never have imagined.

Over-parenting: Part 1.

MargheritaI was fortunate enough to be offered the trip of a lifetime by my wonderful brother and his husband for a 10-day break in South Africa to celebrate my birthday. This trip was just for me and the boys. No hubby or kids in sight. I had a very hard time being excited about the trip because I was so stressed out – I was leaving the day after Christmas so there was the Christmas mayhem to get through, would the kids be OK when I was gone? Would I pay dearly for my absence by my three-year-old mental patient once I got back? I told my hubby to drop me at departures drive-thru. I wasn’t going to go through any elongated good-byes. I cried. I looked at my children longingly. Smothered their faces with kisses. Kissed & hugged my hubby goodbye and watched them drive off. I swallowed the torrent of tears that threatened to flow. I checked in, breezed through security still wondering about my babies. Got to my gate with loads of time to spare and spotted a bar. I sat my arse down, ordered an insanely overpriced Margherita and suddenly, the world lifted off my shoulders. I forgot about the children. I forgot about my husband. I realized that for the first time in fourteen years, I didn’t have anyone else to think about or considerate but me. No children. No husband. Just ME! Suddenly, no one was there demanding my attention every 2 minutes. No one needed to hang off me. No one needed anything. It made me quite giddy.

LondonMy journey gave me a full day in London where I did the red bus tour and met up with some fabulous friends for a late lunch. I was noticing the freedom of movement. How easy it was to walk from A to B, how much less stressful it was to battle the crowds. By late afternoon, I made my way to Heathrow airport for the 12 hour flight to Cape Town, South Africa. I still fully wasn’t grasping what lay ahead of me though. I’d had a great day in London. Now onto another new place.

plane tripI talked with the marine biologist next to me about his kids and my kids, and how he wasn’t going to see them for a month. But I knew my time was limited and I felt a little twinge while talking about my children, wondering how they were doing. Daddy was taking care of them so I knew they would be just fine. And then I arrived. After almost two days of traveling, I arrived to a place that took my breath away. When I met my brother, the true excitement of what lay ahead hit me. Children? What children? Who has children?

What followed that week led to very interesting discussions and realizations about how I parent. What I do instinctively as a parent, and how parenting is viewed very, very differently elsewhere than in the United States. What I learned, frankly, is that it’s amazing any of us mothers in the US come out of it alive. More to come. . .

It’s a Wonderful Life.

lillyI had an experience the other day that made me swell up with joy and happiness, and realize just how lucky I am. Sunday morning, I took off to store on my own. Our family has a habit of always waving goodbye to each other as we drive away. It brings back some wonderful memories for me when my grandmother and aunt would always stand at the door, no matter how cold it was outside, and wave goodbye to us until we were out of sight. Even when we got a train that happened to pass by their house, they would learn the time of the train departure and wait outside their house for that train to pass, waving blindly, every single time we traveled. We always saw them there, we waved back frantically in the hopes they saw us back. As a child, it meant the world to me and I loved that warm feeling they always gave me.

Before my girl started Kindergarten, the kids and I would all stand outside, give out hugs and kisses to Daddy and wave him off. It meant so much to him, and knowing that it was going to be fleeting since she starts school earlier than he goes work, he made a video of it. Now I drive her to school, and he stands outside waving goodbye to us. But on Sunday, Daddy was inside while I was leaving. So my little 6-year old girl and 3-year old boy stood at our gate as I backed the car out. I rolled down my window, waving and blowing kisses, watching these two precious little creatures frantically blowing kisses back, yelling, “I love you,” and jumping up and down. And my heart exploded. I just happened to be in a state where I wasn’t thinking about the thousand things that need to be done or the mess of the house. I just looked, appreciated, and loved. I realized that I will probably never be so loved in my life as I am right at this moment when I am these children’s entire world. I soak up as much of this as I can.

Just today, I walked my girl to the door of her school. As customary, I kneeled down so that she could wrap her arms around my neck to give me six hugs and six kisses. A Mom and little kid were walking close by and I heard that mother tell her son, “See? It’s OK to give mommy kisses at school.” I know this loving scene we do every morning is only temporary. Soon enough, she’ll just want one kiss, then it’ll be a wave and before too long, it’ll be “see ya!” So for now, I spend those precious minutes smiling from ear to ear, I look at that infectious smile my daughter has that lights up a room when I tell her that hug #6 was so tight I couldn’t breathe. Her face lights up with delight and I will rush to give her six hugs and kisses back.

On her once-a-month Dress-Down-Days at school (no uniform day), she always wears her unicorn leggings and t-shirt. Last Friday, she had to wear her Christmas dress, complete with Santa hat. It was just pertfect, and so her.

So while the world is swirling, debts are due, time is crunched, space is limited, I’m on the brink of insanity most days, and the to-do list never ends, it’s really a wonderful life.

7 Gifts to NOT give for Christmas!

present2_1785835bMost toys aren’t made with parents in mind. Most gift-giving is well-intentioned but can be woeful for us mothers and fathers who have to live with the gift. So I’ll make it simple for you. Here’s what not to give the children in your life.

  1. Anything that has more than 5 parts in the box. It’s OK if the parts assemble together permanently, but if they don’t, put the box down and walk away from that aisle. I swear, that 125-piece food play set was sent from Satan himself. Items will get lost, trampled on, thrown, strewn all over the floor and eventually end up in the trash can.
  2. Anything that doesn’t have an on/off switch. Because nothing will drive you to the brink of insanity like a toy that can’t be shut off.
  3. Anything that doesn’t have volume control. Yes, that singing Elsa doll is oh so cute and the little girl will be delighted. But after two weeks of hearing “Let It Go” belted out over and over and over at full blast, it will take everything within the parent’s power not to beat the every living crap out of the doll. If the volume can be lowered, such as LeapFrog’s Scout, the toy’s lifespan just got longer.
  4. Anything that requires special markers or paper to work. For example, Crayola’s Color Explosion Set. Sure, it’s cool. But it’s advertised as “this Crayola Color Explosion set offers kids endless surprising fun.” Guess what? It’s not bloody endless. It’s 18 pages and that’s it. For a 3-4 year old, that’s gone in perhaps 3-5 minutes. Then they ask for more, the parent is empty-handed, staring at a sobbing child. So if you must buy something like this (because it is cool!), include lots of extra paper or markers so that it’s not a bust within 10 minutes.
  5. Any toy that requires an internet access. There will be war within the household if the toy is a hit and the kid wants to take it everywhere where it just becomes useless. This is one that you really need to check with the parent on. If the child is old enough to understand internet access is not everywhere, then it’s OK. But if not, then the tantrums will be epic and endless.
  6. Check if the toy requires special batteries. Batteries that are beyond AA or AAA are a problem. God forbid the battery is CR2032. The parent will either spend an entire paycheck in Target getting what’s needed, or have to wait a month for a bulk shipment from China.
  7. Do not get a gift that is not age appropriate. Getting a 5-yr old a gift that is meant for an 8-yr old only means the parent has to constantly interact/explain the toy and eventually, it gets tossed aside by frustration.

TIPS:
Things you can do to make the parent love you –
1. If the toy requires batteries, bring them along too. Few things are as thoughtful as this gesture, no matter what the toy.
2. Check with the parent what the child is into. If he/she has a set of something (e.g. My Little Pony dolls), ask which one the child is missing and commit to the parent to buy that one missing piece. Then follow through.
3. If the gift requires assembly, make sure the necessary tools are included in the package. But still refer to #1 above.

So, what are your pet-peeves with your kid(s) Christmas gifts?

Time for the yearly letter.

239Every year, on the kids’ birthdays, I write them a letter. I tell them about their year, the things they like, highlights of the year, major milestones and how much they are loved. Every year, the date of my letters are becoming less exact as the years get busier and busier. So it’s time to carve out an hour today and get my girl’s letter done. Because over this past weekend, she turned into a 6-year-old.

Last year, I also started a little questionnaire to record the small things she likes. Only a few things changed from last year’s answers but that’s what growing up is. Little unnoticeable changes until all of a sudden, a grown up is staring back at you. Disclaimer: I didn’t author this questionnaire, I found it on the interwebs somewhere.

1.What is your favorite color?
2. What is your favorite toy?
3. What is your favorite fruit?
4. What is your favorite tv show?
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
6. What is your favorite outfit?
7. What is your favorite game?
8. What is your favorite snack?
9. What is your favorite animal?
10.What is your favorite song?
11. What is your favorite book?
12.Who is your best friend?
13.What is your favorite cereal?
14.What is your favorite thing to do outside?
15.What is your favorite drink?
16.What is your favorite holiday?
17.What do you like to take to bed with you at night?
18.What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
19.What do you want for dinner on your birthday?
20.What do you want to be when you grow up?

I can’t believe she is six years old. WTF. We’re getting suspiciously close to 10, and before I know it, she’ll be in her teens and I’ll be public enemy #1. We still have the discussion about her growing up. You see, I’ve asked her to stop growing. She’s perfect just as she is and I don’t want a thing to change. She did note to me that she can’t reach the top of the shelves yet, so she does indeed need to keep growing. I told her I’d get her whatever she needs but she retorted that won’t help when I’m dead. Ooooookkkkkkkaaaaayyyy then. Thanks.

Dental Saga Complete!

unnamedYesterday, the day came where my 3-year-old was due for sedation to get two fillings, a cleaning, x-rays and a fluoride treatment. Catch up on his fear of the dentist here. The pediatric dentist office was kind enough to ask all their staff to come in early, making us #1 for the day. Unfortunately that meant we had to be there at 6:40AM but the positive of that is I didn’t have a child wailing for food or water for hours. We arrived at 6:30AM, and I told my little mental patient that we were at the dentist to fix his boo-boos on his front teeth. He likes that particular office amazingly, just not any dental work. He protested lightly but I think he knew the protests weren’t going to change anything.

We started out the morning well. While we waited for everything to get set up, we watched SpongeBob in a private room and we’re all feeling good. The pediatric anesthesiologist arrived to re-inform me of what was going to happen. At no time would my son be aware that he would be in a dental chair. While we were in our private room, watching TV, he would give my boy a shot of something (think kiddie Valium) to make him unaware of what was going on. So I held my boy while he instantly figured out that the fun was over and someone was doing something to his leg. He screamed, he cried, I hugged him tightly, I kissed him profusely telling him that everything would be OK and after a minute, he quieted. His eyes were open but no one was home. The nurse came in, took him to the dental procedure room, and I sobbed like I was never going to see him again. God, what a horrible, horrible feeling that was.

Honestly, the staff just couldn’t have been nicer. They delivered coffee and bagels while I waited in my private room. They updated me every 10 minutes as to what was going on (IV was in, X-Rays were done).  I was overwhelming relieved to learn all his other teeth were free of cavities. It was just the front two  because they crossed over a little when he was 1, catching food in between them. Both needed minor fillings and that was it. Instead of the hour they had allotted, he was done in 45 minutes. I was told he was in recovery and I could go see him. I ran back and found my little zombie.unnamed (1) His front teeth were perfect, the fillings invisible and the white color restored. While holding my precious boy, the nurse tried to get him to drink some juice, and asked that I push fluids all morning. I was then visited by the pediatric dentist and the anesthesiologist. The dentist said everything was superb, see you in six months for a cleaning (I can’t even process that right now). The anesthesiologist informed me the meds are flushed out by the kidneys so that’s why they wanted us to push as much fluids as possible. 

We came home. After an hour, his head cleared but as I was warned, his body needed to catch up to his head. He was trying to walk around and simply falling over. So we had a little battle while I tried to keep him on the couch for another hour or so but basically, by early afternoon, he was back to himself.

Here’s what I take away from this experience – not all pediatric dentists are alike. The first one last year was recommending putting caps on his teeth because he had the beginning of cavities there. That was my WTF moment. The second dentist, yesterday’s dentist, preferred a much more conservative approach. Oh, and because the procedure only took 45 minutes, the anesthesiologist only charged me for 45 minutes of his time. Later yesterday afternoon, I got a phonecall from each of the pediatric dentist and the anesthesiologist checking on my boy, who is doing fantastically, by the way.