Eleven years ago he popped out two cute little front teeth. Then he popped out another two. Oh, he was the cutest little thing on the planet! At least, this mother can say that and be completely telling the truth, according to a mother’s prerogative. Back in the naïve days of parenting a first-born, we didn’t think about those two little teeth turning into a whole mouth that needed some serious adjustments. We just adored our little guy with cutesy-wootsy, itsy-bitsy teefers.
I had seen my friends’ and relatives’ kids all lose their cute little baby teeth and enter the “awkward” stage. Not saying they weren’t just the cutest little awkward kids ever, but still, the stage where the teeth are bigger than their faces, awaiting the adult head was an obvious stage to look forward to. Ahem. J-man hit that stage early because his big ol’ teeth came in earlier than his peers. He lost his first teeth just after he turned five.
Fast forward a few years and those teeth and his upper jaw moved forward noticeably and we knew we were in for a dental bill that we couldn’t afford to ignore. We started saving early. Now we are paying those dues and will be doing so for a spell.
Today was the day. It was the day he had looked forward to, in a dread sort of way, for a long time. We had prepped him with pictures, videos, a prep appointment…you name it. We were being proactive, but not in a crazy, in-his-face sort of way. We were very balanced about it, knowing his proclivity towards anxiety.
He has matured and grown so much emotionally that I didn’t really see the semi-trailer full of Anxious before it hit. We were having a normal day yesterday when we mentioned that tomorrow would be braces day. Enter tears of frightful proportions that we have not seen in a good long while. Whoa! This did not bode well. He asked his 1000 questions, I answered as best I could. I prayed, asked my Mom and Dad to pray and asked them to ask their prayer chain to pray. Can’t have too much prayer, I say.
This morning we get up to the usual 1000 more questions and my 873 answers. I secretly place an Ativan in my purse…for him, not me, though I eyeballed the dosage to see if it would be strong enough for an anxious mother. Just kidding…I also placed a stress ball and some natural homeopathic stress meds. I was so ready. Bring. IT. ON!
The Orthodontist office is the cleanest I’ve ever been in. Of course, it’s the only Ortho office I’ve been in. They make you take off your shoes outside the door and give you “sterilized DAWGS” to wear. I like it.
We entered and waited. J-man was noticeably amped up but doing really well. He hadn’t cried for at least an hour! A lady that we had not yet met called us in. J-man thrives when life is predictable so throwing in a new (but not new to the office) gal into his life messed with him right from the get-go. She was nice but definitely had the air of “don’t mess with me”. Right away he got super nervous, shaking and defiant looking. I know he’s not really defiant but really over-the-top freaked out, but she interpreted his mood as defiance and tried to lay down the law. It spooked him even more.
Eventually, we got him convinced to lay down, but he was still super freaked. He was shaking all over. After a very noisy half of an hour, the Ortho Dr. came in and said we should probably shut it down for today but that we’d have to wait for another 2 months and then try again. I really didn’t want to do this again. Not the anxiety, not the panic…none of it. I got down in front of J-man and had the best pep talk in a long while. I talked to him of how I didn’t care what he looked like. I knew he was an amazing kid whether he had the same teeth or whether they were fixed. I told him that God shone in his life no matter what too. I reminded him that HE had wanted his teeth changed. I told him that he would be healthier for it too. I let him think that he had some control over whether he got braces or not. I’d like to think I wasn’t fibbing…Little by little he calmed. I remembered to pray. As he lay back down, I laid my hand on his ankle and started praying for him. I wondered why in the world it had taken me so long! Immediately, he started to calm. The rest of it was done in less time than all the talking took. He was almost relaxed as they finished up. It only took over three times as long, as it usually takes, but we got ‘er done!
I was so proud of how he worked through the incredible amounts of internal distress to get through a very undesirable circumstance. The sensory aspects of getting braces is unbelievable when you are a person with an extra sensitive system. His head area is his most crazy-making part of him. I am bursting with mama pride!
I realize that God is the real reason that we got through this seemingly innocuous procedure. I raise my hands in praise to the King of Creation. He made our child who he is. I am excited to see him progress and become the man he was created to be. Even these “simple” circumstances, that are monumental tasks for our boy, are ones that shape who he is becoming. God is doing a good work in our son.
Braces + Aspie = One proud and thankful Mom. There were moments we could have left the office minus the braces, but we left with braces and boy intact.
Now to figure out the high-tech tooth-brush. Why can’t they make that simple?