We have officially moved past the age of little baby hangers. All of Little Miss Sunshine’s clothes were falling off the smaller size, and I had to go out and buy a couple dozen regular sized hangers to put in her closet.

I’ve been ferreting out the little hangers ever since, bundling them up into sets of 10 to sell at the local baby-stuff consignment shop. They keep turning up, just when I think I’ve got them all, and I’m sure one day I’ll come across one in the back of some closet when they’ve all moved out and I’ll burst into tears. But for now I’m pretty happy to say good riddance to something else that’s cluttering up my over-burdened household.

In other news, our oldest two children have landed their first jobs! They are working as Teaching Assistants at the ski hill we go to. It’s a paid position – they are making something like $30 per Saturday, plus they ski for free. It’s a long, hard day – they are on the hill from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., sometimes getting an hour for lunch but sometimes only getting a few 15 minute breaks. And it’s only for eight Saturdays during the season. But it’s a job, and I’m so pleased with them for actually getting out there and doing it (with some prodding, of course).

The jobs meant we had to open bank accounts for them. We’d opened one for our oldest when he was born, and then found out years later that most of the “welcome baby!” money we’d deposited there was gone, because the account had gone dormant and the bank had been taking out $30 a month for dormancy fees, and I’m sure it is no surprise to you that we are NO LONGER WITH THAT BANK. So up until now the kids had just been keeping their birthday/Christmas money in a drawer at home, but now they are all legit with the bank cards and all.

The best part was the signatures. All three of them (we got an account for the Little Miss, too) can barely write in cursive and laboured over writing their name like they were in kindergarten. Now that cursive is no longer taught in school, are we looking at a bad signature epidemic? I suppose it’s only a year or two before we’re all identifying ourselves with microchips embedded in our fingers anyway, so whatever.

Anyway, so far the jobs are going well – they are exhausted at the end of the day, but I am surprised at how much they both seem to actually enjoy working with and chatting with the little kids, especially compared to how short-tempered and mocking they are with their own younger sister. And we are worried that this will kill their love of skiing, because they are basically spending this whole season skiing backwards down the bunny hill, instead of fun stuff.

But they both do seem to appreciate money flowing in to their bank accounts, so that’s good.

Lastly, we have entered the realm of braces. Our middle child, Gal Smiley, got braces back in December and it’s been a very new thing for us.

I hope the braces result in a happy ending, but right now I am constantly questioning whether or not we have done the right thing. I know she thinks I kind of forced her into it. The thing is, I have some serious hang-ups about teeth and I know my own issues pushed her to get the braces.

My own teeth are crooked and large, and I always wanted braces as a kid. I even begged my mom to take me for a consultation. But she just did not have the money to pay for it – she was a single mom with four kids, and there were higher priorities. My bite is passable, and there weren’t any health reasons to require braces, it would have been a cosmetic thing. So the answer was no.

I think everyone has one thing about their physical appearance that they just don’t like. Maybe it’s knock knees or the way your hair frizzes out and cannot be tamed or the way your nose is a little bit off centre. It’s the kind of thing that your friends rush to tell you “oh, it’s nothing! I don’t even notice it!” but YOU do, and it bothers YOU, so it’s a thing. For me, it’s always been my teeth.

So I marched my two oldest kids in to the orthodontist as soon as they (finally) lost all their baby teeth, and while the Captain was given a pass (his teeth are not bad, and he REALLY did not want braces), the orthodontist and I agreed that Gal Smiley would benefit from having some crooked teeth fixed, and her bite adjusted.

She wasn’t sure, but I pushed, and now here we are. She is having some pain, and is sometimes unable to eat, and doesn’t like to smile with them, and I really, really hope I have done the right thing. I’m super nervous about the permanent retainer that this will result in – how will she floss? – and if we have damaged her, socially, in some way.

She’ll have to have them on for another two years. I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, braces advice welcome!

8 thoughts on “Milestones

  1. I remember your previous post about orthodontics. We got a recommendation for our oldest to go see them too but his teeth are very straight and they said ‘just go see what they say’. Two years ago the ortho said there was no need for braces, and from what I can see nothing’s changed. I don’t see any reason why I should go and ask to spend money… 🙂

    And that’s great about the job! The tweens/teens are gonna love to have some income!

  2. So far four of our five kids have needed braces, and I don’t see any reason the fifth is going to get away without them. They haven’t protested, but I think it’s partly because we haven’t treated it as optional: they have to go to the dentist, they have to get cavities filled, they have to get troublesome wisdom teeth removed, they have to get braces. I’m not sure they realize we could have chosen not to get them.

    But braces suck. Most kids do a terrible job keeping them clean. Their gums get swollen, they don’t wear the rubber bands like they’re supposed to, I get SO SICK OF NAGGING ABOUT THE BRACES AND BRACES-RELATED THINGS.

    I recommend the little “Christmas-tree brush” flossers, if you can find them (here we get the Plackers Angle Brush). We also get the Plackers Orthopick flossers for braces. The orthodontist should be able to recommend something available in your area. If she/he recommends the thing that’s like threading a needle and then pulling it through, and then rethreading it for every single gap, I recommend despair: I drew the line at that thing. No way.

    I also recommend a GIANT TREAT when the braces are off. My firstborn wanted gum, so I got him a giant tube of gumballs (hundreds of gumballs) at 70% off on an after-Christmas clearance. My secondborn likes gummy candy, so I got him a giant gummy bear (one pound? two pounds? I forget, but it was really gross). The twins have braces now and are already thinking about the special braces-off treat.

  3. Jonathan

    We just got bank cards for our kids – they are SO funny when they go out now – waving their wallet around like it’s some kind of golden ticket 🙂

  4. Since my kids are 6’3 and 6’2 does that mean I have to get rid of the IKEA baby hangers now? One more thing on the “to-do” list.

    And, separately, I’m in complete awe that neither of my kids has a full mouth of braces yet, as I had them growing up. We are having a very good experience with an orthodontist – our dentist recommended my younger son go see her as he had a tooth that hadn’t come in for a very long time. During our first appointment we got a tour of the facility, tonnes of the orthodontist’s time, and an incredible glossy folder of x-rays and photos. The whole thing only cost $85 and, since then we’ve been for two absolutely free follow-up appointments where she’s said “I think the tooth is going to come in fine, and I don’t think he needs braces, but just come back in six months for us to double-check.” It looks like we’re going to walk away from the orthodontist experience having spent only $85 … which totally astounds me.

  5. Shannon

    The braces are definitely not a mistake if you can swing them. Abby just got hers off after two years and a bit and her smile is amazing. Total confidence changer for sure. It certainly was no cake walk, she was uncomfortable at times, but she would tell you it was all worth it.

    Our orthodontist supplied all things flossing related 100%. The Christmas tree ones, the needle threading ones, whatever is available they sent her home with scads of it every appointment and instructions to call for more if she ran out.

    On the taking care of her teeth part of things. Her orthodontist told her from the get go, if she wasn’t willing to put in the work required then Abby was wasting both her time and the doctor’s as well as our money. From our end of things, Grandma very generously contributed some of an unexpected inheritance towards the cost, plus Mike’s benefits are decent-ish in that arena, we picked up the rest. With all of that in mind we sat Abby down and told her if she went to one single appointment where they told her, you know what, you could be doing (insert anything braces related here…. elastics, flossing etc) better she would pay us and her Grandmother back every single penny. It was our job to pay for it and her job to take care of them. If she didn’t think it was important to do her job, then we were off the hook for ours. Hard nosed, for sure, but she also knows that this point I do not mess around and I like to be up front about my expectations.

    She aced the two+ years of appointments and told everyone she was not going to be on the hook for that bill. Smart cookie! She must have picked up good habits because she faithfully wears her retainer every night and flosses around her permanent retainer as well.

    She also went out for an after braces treat, which was something sticky, but can’t remember what it was. She also had me make her favourite meal that was the most annoying to eat when she had braces. Tacos. Go figure.

  6. nicoleboyhouse

    Braces! M got them two years ago, for “18-20 months” – we are in month 24 and no end in sight. Anyway! His bottoms are off now and he has that permanent retainer, and what we did, because flossing is a goddamn nightmare, is buy a water pik. It works well to get in between the teeth. He had wide gaps in his teeth and an overbite so it was pretty necessary. The pain goes away in a few days and although there is always discomfort when they change the wires, he seems able to manage. J will be getting braces but it’s more cosmetic; his teeth are a bit crooked but his bite is okay. So hopefully it will be less of a haul for him. Oh! We also have electric toothbrushes, which really helps keep things clean.

  7. Hey, man. Sorry I took all of your braces money. 😦 I’m not sure the orthodontist would have given you braces anyway though since your teeth aren’t as bad as YOU think they are.

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