On a Learning Curve

Life may not be easy, but it's always an adventure.


Leave a comment

Today’s Lesson

Today I buried a gerbil.

That definitely wasn’t on my to-do list this morning. Carpool drop off, school work, physical therapy, and a load of laundry were what I had meant to accomplish this morning. After carpool drop off, the schedule derailed.

S: “Mom, I think Latte is dead.”

And he was.

Me: “I’m sorry. Do you want to put him in a box or just straight into the ground?”

S: “A box please. I’ll pick him up if you find a box.”

If you know our family or have read some of my blog posts, you already know that my girls have an affinity for rodents; you also know that we’ve already buried five hamsters. Latte, however, is the first gerbil to expire in our house. Strangely enough, he lasted exactly as long as a typical hamster lives: two years.

dscn1029

S and Pepper the hamster

So we buried Latte–his full name was actually Chai Latte–under a rose bush this morning. Thanks to our quirky Virginia winter weather, the ground wasn’t frozen, and it didn’t take me long to dig a hole large enough for the Dexcom G4 CGM box that served as his casket.

20170131_173936

 

Once school was under way, S’s performance was decidedly less than stellar. That’s when I said something stupid: “Well, at least he wasn’t your favorite.” While my words were true, my daughter’s heart was wounded, and I quickly tried to backtrack and apologize.

We eventually finished our school day. H and I played a rousing (?) game of Win the Peloponnesian War, and S dutifully filled out 3×5 cards on the life of Marie Antoinette. But S is quieter than usual, and Mocha–the lone gerbil–has gotten more attention in the last eight hours than he has in many months.

I love that my girls have tender hearts towards their animals, even if I’m not wild about their choice of pets. I think it’s a valuable thing for them to learn to be responsible for the well being of tiny living creatures. But I hate the part when their beloved companions die.

We certainly don’t shield our children from death. All three of the girls know the life stories of their brothers Seth and Owen and sister Lucy, and we certainly don’t equate animal lives with human ones. However, there’s a part of me that mourns when they mourn. It’s not that I don’t want them to experience grief. It’s just that I’m not sure that I’m ready for them to grow up yet.

 


Leave a comment

A Tiny Little Tooth

Sometimes it’s the little things that cause the biggest problems. Take, for example, H’s baby tooth. It’s technically a lateral incisor (see chart below), and it’s been loose for more than two years–no kidding. Unfortunately, H decided she needed to keep it and the permanent version. When our dentist gave her 10 days to wiggle it out or come back for an extraction, H chose to call her bluff.

That was last Wednesday. That was the day that I spent 10 minutes listening to H asking a million questions in an attempt to stall Dr. Todd. “Will it hurt? Are you going to use your fingers? Can I see what you’re going to use? If I let you touch, do you promise not to wiggle it? If I let you wiggle it, do you promise not to pull it?” You get the idea.

62732-004-b9454af1

Then I spent 10 more minutes trying to find a comfortable way to lie down next to H. That didn’t work. Both of us are officially too big to fit in one chair together. Finally I sat near her feet and waited for her to exhaust her supply of stalling tactics. I held her hands, and Dr. Todd assured her that the tooth was so dead that it would simply pop out.

20170112_204128

The infamous tiny tooth

Of course that’s not how it actually happened, but eventually her tiny little tooth was dislodged from its too comfortable home.

The whole visit was ridiculous. After H had her extraction, S needed one of her front teeth fixed again. That repair work prompted a stern lecture about gingivitis, flossing, and diabetes. When our well-meaning dentist asked me if I had thought about withholding privileges until the flossing improved, I bluntly stated that I was not interested in withholding any more privileges, Kindles, cell phones, or makeup than I already do.

Only G escaped with a glowing report. Which makes complete sense since she is my child who routinely loses her toothbrush and simply doesn’t brush her teeth, much less floss, until I notice and magically produce a new brush.

Last Wednesday I remembered why I had stopped taking all three girls to the dentist at the same time. And all of this is why Thursday caught me completely off-guard.

“Hey, Mom, want to see the tooth that I just lost?” H asked me as we were reading something for school the next day.

“You have another loose tooth?!” I replied.

“Yeah, I told the hygienist last month, but it just fell out.”

And I just stared stupidly at her. After 14 years of parenting, I still haven’t quite gotten the knack of this job.

20170112_204142

A fancy green tooth holder for all of H’s old teeth