Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Look, Ma! No cavities!

I am pleased to announce that William's very first visit to the dentist went very well. Not only did he willingly let the hygienist clean his teeth, but he didn't have any cavities. What a relief.

When the assistant called his name, I stood up, prepared to accompany him to the exam room. But she said, "Oh, you can stay there. He'll be fine." And he went willingly, didn't even look back or blink an eye.

Then they called me back to meet with the dentist. At first I was a little nervous. But then a woman came in and handed me a big orange balloon and a small bag. "William's too busy playing right now, so he wanted you to hold this," she told me with a smile. Apparently, the dentist has a small game room with video games the kids can play while their parents meet with the dentist to discuss their care. I figured, if he's playing, he can't be too traumatized, right? So far, so good.

Then the dentist came in and reassured me that everything went just fine. William apparently didn't want to lean all the way back in the reclining chair, but other than that, he didn't object to anything. Of course, he did tell the dentist that the hygienist "already cleaned my teeth!" when he came in to examine William's teeth.

For his good behavior (although I suspect they probably give the same stuff to the rotten kids, too), William received the aforementioned orange balloon and a bag filled with a new toothbrush, toothpaste, flosser, sticker and small toy. Not bad. I told him that my old dentist used to have a treasure chest, and he allowed kids who behaved during their dental appointments to pick a tiny toy out of the treasure chest. William was fascinated by that. I told him that he actually got better stuff than I did; the treasure chest was cool, but the prizes weren't all that special. (Think Crackerjack box toys.)

I am so relieved that it's over. I really wasn't worried too much about William behaving for the dentist. He always behaves pretty well at the doctor's office...unless they have to swab the back of his throat, and geez, I hate having that done to me, too. I was just fretting that there'd be something Terribly Wrong (and Terribly Expensive) with his teeth, and luckily, there wasn't.

No cavities. Woot!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ick ick ick

Every once in awhile, I think, "I wish I was a better parent."

I think it's a pretty natural feeling. None of us is perfect. We all do things from time to time that we regret---or we wish we could rewind time and do that over again and improve our performance second time around. For example, I wish I hadn't yelled at William this morning for spilling his milk; I'm pretty sure he did it on purpose, but hello, it was just spilled milk, and we all know what they say about spilled milk.

But you know, I felt much better about myself this past week after catching an episode of this horrifying television show that airs on TLC. It's called "Toddlers and Tiaras." The title alone should give you a pretty clear idea of what the show's about. Seeing it reminds me of driving past a wreck on the highway; it's awful, but you can't help but slow down and gawk.

I'm not going to link to it because I don't want to be responsible for any more viewers. Just suffice it to say it's a show about parents who put their toddlers and kindergarteners in full-on makeup and sequined gowns and ask them to shimmy their hips in a dead-on imitation of a stripper in front of a tacky hotel ballroom full of other people wearing t-shirts with their children's names emblazoned on them.
And it's not just makeup and hairspray. Some little girls even wear these weird retainer-like devices called "flippers" that make their teeth appear to be perfect and blindingly white and straight in a way that a six-year-old's teeth never, ever naturally look. (I'm sort of twitching, just remembering it.) Think dentures.

I have no problem with a teenager who wants to enter a Junior Miss pageant; ostensibly a teenager is old enough to make her own decisions. But a preschooler? Ick. And NO. Lots of the little tykes interviewed on the show talk, in lisping voices, about how they want to win, how they want to be the best, and all I can think is, "That's your mom talking. She's trying to live through you, and you're barely out of diapers." These kids aren't old enough to understand what this is all about. They're trying to make Mommy happy. Or they just like dressing up. But from what I saw on the show, it doesn't just start and stop with one or two pageants. It becomes an all-encompassing lifestyle. And an expensive one, to boot.

And most egregiously, it sexualizes young children. I'm sure that many so-called pageant moms would disagree with me, but you watch those little girls strut their stuff and tell me what you see. It's Jon-Benet Ramsay-esque. That may not be the intention, but that's definitely the effect. I hear moms bemoan the "hoochie mama" clothes that are marketed toward tweens; eight-year-olds in belly-baring t-shirts and low-rise jeans are bad enough. But a four-year-old winking and shaking her hips and getting a score for it? Oh my. Can we please put a smocked bishop dress on her and give her a Madeline book to read instead? If she really needs a crown--and from what I can tell, that's a big deal for the little girls--they sell some perfectly nice little tiaras in toy stores these days.

Granted, I have a little boy, so it's easy for me to say, "I'd never do that to my child." But you know what? I'd never do that to my child. And I'll try to stop yelling at him when he spills milk, too.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


One of the things they never tell you in advance about being married to a physician is that you're going to have to suffer through on-call nights, too. We had a rough night a few nights ago. David got paged about once every 90 minutes all night long. Every time I fell back asleep from one wakeup, I'd be jolted into wakefulness again.

Of course, it was much worse for David. He actually had to get up and call the people who paged him and THEN provide a medically useful answer to their questions. Gah. Meanwhile, I was wondering how many nights of interrupted sleep we've experienced since David was in residency and how much accumulated sleep debt we've managed to long. But that just made my brain hurt, so I then switched to tossing and turning and wishing the bedroom was cooler.

Anyway, the next morning, I yawned at the breakfast table. William asked me if I was tired. I told him that I was.

"Daddy's pager went off a lot last night in the middle of the night," I said. "So I didn't get a very good night's sleep."

William nodded, his eyes wide with sympathy.

"The king's pager went off all night last night, too," he said. "And the princess didn't get a very good night's sleep either."

Isn't it nice to know that the castle people know exactly what we're going through?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Child Containment Devices..unfortunately, a thing of the past

Sometimes I really miss highchairs. Or strollers. Or other Small Person Containment Devices.

Today, I took my beloved son out on a lunch date. We went to the Bread & Company in Belle Meade, as it's one of my favorite lunch spots and they have a great children's menu, too. I ended up chasing him around the store half the time while we were waiting on our order. He'd dash back and forth between the drink station and the refrigerated case with the salads. I tried to hold onto his hand, but that only worked intermittently; he's very strong when he wants to be.

Then, when we finally did get our food and chose a table at which to sit, he could barely stand to sit in his chair. He ran circles around the table while I frantically asked him to stop and sit down. (Okay, and I occasionally threatened him, too.)

Every once in awhile, I'd have to drag him back into his chair. And while I was doing so, I looked longingly at the mom a few tables over whose (much smaller) child was neatly ensconsed in one of those wooden restaurant highchairs. I miss those. I guess I could have tried to cram William into one, but I think that would have been utterly absurd, not to mention potentially impossible, logistically speaking. At some point, I gave up. I decided just to be That Mother, the One Who Can't/Won't Control Her Child. Surely I have accrued enough karma over the past few years to make up for this lapse, though, right?

The weird thing about this is that usually William is very serious about eating, and when presented with food, he gets down to business. I don't know what was going on with him today. And yet, amazingly, William somehow ate all his lunch...except for the bites of chicken finger that I snatched. He also ate my pickle and some of my sandwich. (And he told me about how the castle people like to eat turkey sandwiches for lunch; the knights make the sandwiches.) I am seriously considering finding an All You Can Eat buffet restaurant and taking him to it. I always thought those places were a bad deal for people like me who, most of the time, don't eat enough to make up for the cost. But for my child? I think it might work out just fine. The restaurant will lose money, but I won't.

Too bad he won't fit in the highchairs there, either.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The beach convention

You guessed it...we've been at the beach again.

As my longtime readers will recall...every summer, the Wyckoffs join two other families, the Bryans and the McDonoughs in Holden Beach. They've been doing this for more than 20 years now. This year, we managed to get every single member of all three families, plus spouses of the kids and their children, together. It was more like a convention with that many people! We should have made t-shirts and totebags.

Anyway, we had a good time. Last year, David and I discovered that we got a little lonely on our little trip to the beach without any of the other families. This year, that was NOT a problem.

But you know, considering how many people were living together under one roof, I'd say things went remarkably smoothly. William and Alethea and Glenn's son Graham shared a room with twin beds, and to our shock and amazement, they did really well. The first night, Alethea had the nursery monitor downstairs so we could listen to them chatter to each other. We heard them talking about William's flashlight and goodness knows what else. But after they got used to sharing a room, they actually...went to sleep. Amazing. I mean, seriously, that is amazing.

Almost as delightful was the fact that William thoroughly enjoyed not only playing on the sand this year but also playing in the water. That was BIG. Last year, he wailed bloody murder if David and I got within a dozen feet of the tide, but this year, he was begging for Diane or David to carry him out into the water so he could "jump" the waves. (I think Diane got a picture of us doing that, so I'll wait to see if she can pass one along to me to post.) I think my favorite part of the entire week, in fact, was when David held one of W's hands and I held the other, and we stood knee-deep in the surf and hopped the waves.

And of course, William enjoyed looking for the best shells to bring home for souvenirs.

Another reason this year's trip was so good? The food. Other people's cooking, yum yum yum. Hal's homemade cinnamon ice cream, Ashley's shrimp scampi....mmmmm.

I'll try to post some more pictures later.