Life

Just One More to Go, I Think

missing-totoh Jazz lost an eye tooth last night.

Yes. The boy is 14 years old.

No. I have no idea if this is normal or not. But it’s OUR sort of normal so …

We were eating Chinese food (a favorite in our house) when Jazz suddenly put a hand to his mouth and pulled out a bloody finger. Only, he didn’t know it was bloody and was getting ready to wipe it on his white t-shirt.

Mom’s excellent observations skills saved the day once again.

“Hey buddy, you’re bleeding.”

Jazz was surprised and went to get a paper towel.

Jazz’s top permanent eye teeth actually grew in above and over his baby eye teeth. As a result, they didn’t push his baby teeth out, and Jazz refused to work on them to get them out (which irritated the stuffing out of me), so they stayed that way for quite some time.

He had two sets of eye teeth. It was quite attractive.

The only reason the first baby eye tooth came out was because he had chewed on it wrong and forced it out.

The same thing happened with this tooth, too. Only, it didn’t come out, it just started bleeding – a lot.

Jazz has never really handled losing his teeth very well. He doesn’t DO pain — he’s a bit of a wimp when it comes to his pain threshold. (I can say that, because my pain threshold is pretty high and I always lose patience with people who can’t handle it on the same level as me. No, it doesn’t make sense. Don’t even try).

He’s the type of kid who tends to make a fuss and go on and on and ON (sometimes for DAYS) about a tiny pin prick on his finger. Drives me nuts.

So the first thing that struck me when I saw that much blood was the fact that he was handling the pain pretty well.

(I remember sitting in front of a mirror when I was little and working, working, working on a tooth to get it to come out … and sort of LIKING the pain that it caused …

Yes. I’m weird).

The second thing that struck me was his determination to get it out. He was sick of putting up with it and he stood in the kitchen (while the rest of us tried to ignore him and his bloody paper towel while we ate our dinner) and worked that tooth until he could finally get a good hold of it and yank it out.

It was another proud momma moment. 🙂

He gave the tooth to me and said, his voice all manly and mature (because Jazz has jumped into puberty with both feet this summer — won’t his classmates be surprised by how much he’s changed this next school year) …

“Let’s save time. Just give me the five dollars now and we’ll skip the whole tooth fairy thing.”

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh, or cry, at his nonchalance over the whole tooth fairy thing.

(And yes. I made a HUGE parenting mistake and gave my kids $5 for every tooth they lost. They’ve made a fortune on us over the years. New parents – don’t do that!)

I’m so relieved that tooth is finally out. I was afraid the permanent tooth would grow so far down over it that he wouldn’t be able to get a good enough grip on it to pull it out and we’d be forced to go to the dentist.

As far as I can tell, Jazz only has ONE more baby tooth to lose – and that’s a bottom molar. Either way, it’s now time to make an appointment with our orthodontist to see what sort of work we’ll need to do to get Jazz’s teeth to straighten out. I don’t predict he’ll need much work done, he has plenty of room for all of his teeth (as opposed to Dude who didn’t and had to have his palate stretched to make room), but his teeth are spaced out and there are those two eye teeth sticking out from all the rest so he’ll probably need braces for a little while, at least.

This is actually perfect timing. Dude is getting ready to have his braces removed July 30th (if all goes according to plan — crossing fingers) and now it will be Jazz’s turn to have some work done.

I am wondering how Jazz will handle the discomfort though. I predict quite a few cranky episodes.

Life

Please Pull Forward, Sir

drive-thru For those that don’t know, Dude is driving now. He got his permit back in March and his driving skills have gone from newbie, to excellent to downright scary in that time span.

He started out pretty nervous, but then worked his way to confident until we were nearly side swiped a few weeks back when Dude failed to yield to an oncoming car. We were turning right and Dude didn’t see there was a car coming. When I cautioned him about the car and told him to stop, he got flustered and hit the accelerator instead of the brake. And when my “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP!” got frantic, he still continued forward.

Luckily, the car had plenty of time to react and easily switched lanes to avoid us. They did give us an angry honk, though.

I’ve since “coached” him on the importance of listening to me when I say STOP — especially in that tone of panicked voice. Defy me all you want to but, bud, when I say STOP, there’s usually a very good reason why I’m yelling it. Stop next time.

He’s been downright scared out of his mind since that incident.

However, we have trudged forward. After all, it would be unrealistic of me to tell the boy that that kind of close call will never happen again — of course it will. We’ve all had close calls in our driving lives, it’s a fact of driving. Sometimes you make a mistake or misjudge, sometimes (okay, MOST times), other people do something stupid. And when these near misses happen, he will just have to trust God to protect him. What else can he do?

We’re back to taking short drives to close places; in essence, we’re back to square one. Part of the reason that whole side-swiping thing happened to begin with was because I was distracting him by talking to him.

I’ve since learned to keep my big trap shut.

I’ve apologized to Dude for my part in the near accident and we have both agreed to just take things a little slower this go-around. I will try not to push, he will try not to kill us. 😀

And part of our going slow process is driving to a nearby fast food restaurant and ordering quickie meals.

The first time I asked Dude to drive to a restaurant (Wendy’s), I thought the boy was going to hyperventilate.

Scratch that — he DID hyperventilate.

His eyes got glassy and he nearly drove past the speaker before realizing that he had to stop.

His problem? He was actually going to have to talk to a real live person.

OH! THE HORRORS!

But seriously. Dude is a quiet, shy, introverted kid and he doesn’t speak much to us, his family, let alone strangers. And let alone, voluntarily. So the thought of having to actually speak to someone really threw him in a panic.

I was amused and just a tad impatient with his reaction. I knew he would react that way, I wasn’t surprised, but I guess a small part of me had been hoping that he wouldn’t. That he would just throw his shoulders back, hold his head up high and exude confidence.

I gently coached him on what to say. And through several gasps for air and broken English, he gave the drive-thru attendant our order.

After we had gotten our order and were pulling away, I said, “See? You talked to someone and you’re still alive. People truly don’t bite.”

He laughed me off and he began to relax. It was as if we had broken through some sort of mental barrier at that point. I then told him (after we got home, not during the drive), that when it was time for him to get a job, he would HAVE to talk to people. Especially if he landed his dream job (at this moment, anyway) — working at Game Stop. He would be required to not only talk to people, but he would be asked lots of questions about the various games and to give them advice.

I told him, that sometimes, you have to force yourself to step outside your self-imposed personality box and BE another person. I remember having to do that a lot when I started working. My problem wasn’t being too shy, my problem was being too short with people. I had to teach myself to be patient with people.

I had no idea if what I preached told him had sunk in or not, but now I’m beginning to think that some of it sunk in.

Yesterday, Dude and I drove to Burger King to grab some lunch. He didn’t want to at first mainly because A. he doesn’t like to drive, it scares him (see above) and B. because he was meeting a friend online so this friend could teach him about PHP (a computer language and *SQUEE* — finally!! A serious interest in something!! *ahem* I have to downplay my enthusiasm though because if Dude knows I’m excited about him taking the initiative on something serious he’ll totally lose interest) and didn’t have that much time until they were scheduled to hook up.

But I sweet talked him into going (okay fine, his stomach won), and he drove us to Burger King.

When it was our turn to order, he did so with a strong, confident voice and he was articulate enough that the guy understood what he said.

When the Burger King employee said, “Please pull forward, sir,” I laughed.

SIR?!

It was a proud momma moment. 🙂

Summer Fun

Summer Fun: July 10th

Are you ready for some fun ideas to keep your kids busy this next week?

Here are five ideas to get the creative juices flowing (and please, take these ideas, build on them, make them your own, use them as a springboard for bigger and better ideas):

Day One – Talk to your child about avoiding strangers. Teach your child what to do in case of an emergency.

Day Two – Hide a treasure with your child and draw a map to find it.

Day Three – Practice printing or handwriting with your child. Make a certificate for job well done.

Day Four – Take a walk or bike ride with your child.

Day Five – Discover when things were invented with your child. Make a timeline.


Crafts for the Kids (by age)

Featured Craft of the Week:
Toddlers
15 Fun Outdoor Toddler Activities

4 to 5 year olds
Good Measure Growth Chart

6 to 8 year olds
Knotted Anklet

9 to 12 year olds
Flower Friends


Here is a fun activity from the book, “A Lithgow Palooza!”:

groovy-face2 Literary Dish

Much of literature is infused with intoxicating references to food, often times so tempting that it’s hard to wait until the end of a chapter to grab a snack. While Hemingway writes of salty oysters and Proust has his buttery madeleines, children’s books are also spiced with fanciful foods. When kids see that it’s possible to make incredible foods — green eggs and ham, anyone? — spring from the page and onto the table, they just might try a new dish or two. Creativity is key here, so don’t be afraid to let the literary dish run away with the spoon!

arrow-right-side What to do:

For the youngest eater-readers, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle inspires a mini-tasting menu. If tots find themselves feeling like the caterpillar with an insatiable appetite, they can follow him on his Saturday food scavenge. Taking small tastes of a smorgasbord of berries, cheese, pickles, salami, muffins, and cherry pie prevents anything akin to the caterpillar’s Sunday-morning stomachache. On a cold, snowy day, everyone can contribute to Little Bear’s big black pot of birthday soup. The chef might replace his hat with the cub’s space helmet (perhaps an old metal strainer), and guests can enjoy a hot meal alongside favorite (stuffed) animal friends.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl is full of sweet ideas for older kids to explore. Recipes for simple fudge or candied fruit are easy to locate, and green oomp-loompa food coloring adds to any dessert. Concoct recipes for Wonka’s wacky inventions, such as “toffee-apple tree” (first cousin of the candy apple), “hot ice cream for cold days” (some hot sauces, perhaps?), and “fizzy lifting drinks” (carbonation is the key). Fans of Shel Silverstein will also find inspiration for new recipes in many of his poems. Read Silverstein’s “Eighteen Flavors” as a starter and choose a mix of flavors to experiment with in creating a new dessert.

In Judi and Ron Barrett’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the town of Chewandswallow experiences deluges of dinner and buttered toast breakfasts. The meals described in this whimsical book aren’t on a plate, rather they swirl around the air like the weather. Cloudy-inspired meals don’t come from recipes, instead ask a child to imagine what his meal might be, meteorologically speaking. Kids can create their own food forecasts out of their ordinary meals. Storm clouds of scrambled eggs, smoothie sleet, and a butter-and-jam tornado. For mashers and stirrers, an ice cream and chocolate sauce cyclone.

EXTRAPALOOZAS:

Cheesed Off
The Stinky Cheese Man, by Jon Scieszka, prompts an easy food-shopping activity: find a local gourmet grocery store and get to know the cheese man. Let him introduce you to a new seriously stinky cheese every week.

Riddles for the Griddles
Dr. Seuss’s books seems to have been written with the kitchen explorer in mind. Flip through any one of the fantastical books for new recipe ideas. Thank red-fish-blue-fish sugar cookies. Or potato-chip pork chops. Seuss’s book of riddles, Oh Say Can You Say, is also a double delight for the tongue.