Braced for Round Two

Yesterday was a terrible, no-good day.

I took Jazz in to get his braces.

I warned him. I told him he would be uncomfortable, that there would probably be pain. I’ve been through this with Dude, I knew what to expect.

I braced myself.

I picked Jazz up from school at 11:00 yesterday. Everything ran smoothly. I gave him a note, he took it to the attendance office, he got a pass and at 11:00, he left class.

I was sitting outside the school doors when he called me.

“Mom. Where are you?”

“I’m sitting out here waiting for you.”

“I don’t see you.”

“There’s a Pepsi truck in my way, I couldn’t pull all the way up.”

“Well, do I just leave? I feel weird just leaving. What if they think I’m trying to skip or something?”

“You got a pass, right?”


“Then come on out.”

“I feel weird. Can you walk up here and get me?”

So, I did. Even though he’s growing up, it warms my heart that he still needs me on some level. 🙂

We arrived at the orthodontist and they were waiting for him. There was only one other patient/parent in there, so we had the place to ourselves. They took Jazz back to get the process started (he had his iPod with him, I was hoping that would help distract him and make time go by faster for him – yes to both), and I got to sit down and do the really fun stuff.

Work out the payment contract.


After signing my left arm and part of my right leg away, we got our bill settled and I left. Jazz was scheduled to be in the chair for 90 minutes, so I thought I would take advantage of that time to write on my laptop in the car in the parking lot. It was a beautiful day, not too hold, not too cold, it would be quiet, an ideal situation, really.

I have an outlet in my car. (How cool is that?!) Only, you have to have the car battery turned all the way on, as in, the warning lights on the dashboard and lights on sort of on when I thought all it would take was just a click of the key when just the radio comes on.

No. I would either have to run my battery down, or leave the car running and that let’s face it – that’s a stupid alternative.

So, I went home.

Again, I planned on doing a little writing in the hour that I had left before he was scheduled to be done, but I couldn’t concentrate. All I could think about was Jazz, in that chair, having metal railroad tracks put into his mouth.

I was on my way back to the office, when Jazz called. He sounded garbled and really miserable and I nearly started crying.

There’s a part of me that wonders if we made the right decision with him. Jazz’s teeth are … borderline, really. They are crooked. They are crowded. Some are even twisted around, and he has a few that nearly overlap one another, but honestly? They don’t LOOK that bad.

And you know, so what if he has crooked teeth, right?

But here’s the thing. What if it bugs him later on in life? What if he becomes self-conscious about them and then uses the old, “you paid for Dude’s teeth – why didn’t you pay for mine? Do you LOVE Dude more than me?”

Perhaps I’m exaggerating, but I think about these things. I just don’t want to regret NOT doing something when we COULD.

No one really knows this, aside from Kevin, but this decision has PLAGUED me ever since we gave the green light.

Did we do the right thing?

I got to the office in time to hear the proper brushing, don’t eat certain foods, what to do if a bracket comes loose or a wire pokes him speech.

Again, I’ve been through all of this with Dude, so I sort of tuned the assistant out and concentrated on Jazz. In fact, the dentist (who’s really hot, I might add), came over to shake Jazz’s hand and I barely looked at the man – I only had eyes for my son.

He was clearly miserable. And close to tears. And oh my gosh, I’m crying as I type this. I feel like such a BAD MOTHER. Here I am, torturing this poor boy and … for what?! A pretty smile? A confident demeanor?

Dear God, I hope it’s worth it.

He didn’t go back to school after his appointment, obviously. He had thought he would want to, (he’s such an optimist), but I vetoed the idea because I knew what it would be like for him.

Dude had his braces put on during the summer, so we didn’t have the whole school issue to deal with. And then when he did go to school, he had gotten used to his braces by that point and it wasn’t a big deal.

But this is different. Jazz DOES have school to worry about and UGH, I’m second guessing myself.

He couldn’t eat his dinner last night, even though Kevin cooked up some chicken and rice. He ate some rice and some noodles, but very little chicken.

The poor boy can’t chew, it hurts too bad.

I loaded him up on Extra-Strength Tylenol (that stuff works great for him) and he said he actually got some sleep last night. He looked better this morning, but his mouth still looks swollen.

I made him some pancakes and he was able to eat nearly two of them before giving up. He tried to put in some wax before school (they give you wax when you get braces in case it rubs against your gums and makes them sore), but it kept slipping off and he got very frustrated with that.

Jazz is a lot like me, he has zero patience for stuff like that.

I again gave him some Tylenol before we left and he worked on trying to put in some wax on our way to school.

He was finally successful, thank goodness.

And yes, he went to school today.

I nearly kept him home. I thought it over, weighed the pros and cons and I thought it actually might be better for Jazz to go to school and be distracted as opposed to staying home and thinking about how much it hurt all day long.

Again, I hope I made the right decision.

I gave him soft foods in his lunch, but I don’t expect him to eat much.

I do worry about what his friends will say, but he warned them and quite frankly? A LOT of kids have braces nowadays and it’s simply not that big of a deal, not like it was when I was his age.

I just told him to shrug them off and say, “Hey man, you might as well get over it. I’m going to have them for quite a while.”

He was very subdued and quiet last night. It really bothered Kevin – and we talked, again, on whether we made the right decision with him or not.

It’s honestly borderline, folks. We probably could have gotten away with not doing anything with him? But then again … ?

I’m torn. I’m sick. I HATE THIS PART OF PARENTING! Wondering if you did the right thing. Second guessing your decisions. Putting your child through so much discomfort.

Thankfully, the kids are out of school tomorrow. So, he’ll have three whole days to recoup and adjust before heading back to school on Monday. He just has to get through today.

And today will probably be the worst day. The soreness will have settled in on top of the tightness. But as the days go by, that will lessen and pretty soon, they won’t bother him and he’ll have gotten used to them.

Believe it or not, this is NOTHING compared to what we went through with Dude. His teeth were unquestionably bad. He actually had to go through two phases – phase one was stretching his upper palete and phase two was straightening. He wore his braces for a total of four years overall – one year in third grade, and then three years from 8th to 11th.

And yes, I went through this same guilt trip with him, too. Even more so, quite frankly. But now that it’s all over and the braces have come off? Dude is CONFIDENT. I’ve never seen this side of him – ever. He holds his head up higher. He just seems so …. sure of himself now.

Yes, part of it is because he’s older, but I honestly think part of it is because he knows he looks good and he likes what he sees in the mirror every morning.

I want to give that same confidence to Jazz. I know I can’t MAKE the boy have confidence, but if I can provide him the tools, like say, straightening his teeth, to help him reach that confidence level, then I believe it’s my job, as his mother, to see that it happens.

I’ve had to be so strong for him, when all I really want to do is rock him like a little baby and comfort him (which, I sort of did. I’ve hugged and kissed him more in the past 24 hours than I have in probably the last 24 months – mainly because he’s allowed me to), but he feeds off my reaction, so if I’m strong, he’ll be strong. If he sees me break down and cry, then he will cry.

Jazz has always been that. He sometimes needs that emotional crutch in order to handle things. I learned that a long time ago.

So, yeah, it’s been a tough 24 hours. But his mouth will heal, he’ll get used to the new hardware and life will go on – this is what I have my eye on, that point in time.

He doesn’t have to go back for 12 weeks. They said that the type of wire they used will do the job for that long – so that’s a plus. They also had to cap two of his upper molars because of his overbite and that should also speed up his treatment by about a month, they said. So hopefully, Jazz will not have to wear them more than 24 months, if it all works out like it’s supposed to.

Thank God I only have two children, I don’t think my heart could take going through this a third time.

UPDATED: I was relieved to see that Jazz was back to his old self after I picked him up from school; I’m glad we sent him. It served to distract him enough that he was able to get through the day. He was peppy and had a lot of things to tell me about his day.

The Tylenol worked great and he wasn’t that uncomfortable. His friends were just sort of “Meh” on the whole braces thing (which I knew they would be, so many kids have braces nowadays), he was able to put a bigger chunk of wax in his mouth to help with the soreness and all is right with the world once again.

I still have doubts (what mom doesn’t, I suppose), but it was nice to see he was rebounding from the experience. He now has three days to relax and recoup and should be back to a semi-comfortable place by Monday.


NaNoWriMo 2009: Stories Four / Five

NaNoWriMo Update: I actually ended up not writing at all yesterday. Guess what, the burn out has already started.

See? Told you. I’m nothing if not predictable.

However, I feel energized after my day off, and I plan on writing stories six and seven today. Again, I’m trying to stay ahead of the game so that I CAN take a day off.

You can keep track of my overall word count in the sidebar. So far? I’m ahead of the game – let’s see if I can’t keep it that way.

Thanks for reading.