What message am I sending?

I feel confused lately.  I try to teach my daughter that she’s perfect and beautiful just as she is.  Every day of her life, she has heard “You are a beautiful, amazing, creative girl, and your mommy loves you very much” (followed by three kisses and a huge hug and a sniff of her glorious scent and there you have B’s bedtime ritual-in a nutshell).  Yet, I took this beautiful child:

(at three years old)

(taking a photo of herself last Saturday-this is what happens when you let her take photos at a family event such as my Dad’s birthday)

About half an hour before going to the orthodontist on Monday.  Age 8.

And outside the orthodontists office, with palate expander and braces…headgear only for night.

My point is, every night, I have to turn the key on this thing:

(not hers, just a sample photo of the one similar to what she has)

…and I feel that I’m putting her through this pain and drama all so she can have “perfect” teeth.  Am I sending the girl mixed messages or what?  The orthodontist had me convinced that it was legitimate and would be better than doing it later in life.  And B actually wanted braces, so that was ok.  She likes the actual braces (and since the most common question is “what color did she get?”, I will answer that one now, she got pink, orange, dark purple and light purple).  The headgear is a pain at night, but she sleeps fine with it, so maybe it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.  And supposedly the headgear is only for about 6 months with the palate expander.  Braces are about a year for this first phase.  Later on she could need another phase, but it will be shorter than the traditional teenage years.  

I adore this child.  I wish I didn’t have to sit here at work and worry so much that she might be in pain.  But hey, last night she ate mac and cheese and a few small bites of pizza and a yogurt!!!  And not all that much got stuck in the expander!

She’s going on vacation with her Dad and family this weekend for a week about eleven hours away and I’m so sad.  I’ll miss my girl.  Every other weekend, both kids are at their other parents and we plan all the stuff we need to get out of the way for those times.  Her Dad told her last night that he could “let her stay with Mommy” on Friday night since she’d be gone.  Um, sure wish he’d asked me.  We had made appointments and plans for the whole weekend and how can I possibly say that to B?  She’ll always choose to be with me. The funny part is, he’s home that night.  And live in girlfriend will already be headed to the vacation house.  Hmmm, wonder why he wants to be “free” that night?  Could it be he’s still the same guy he was when  our marriage fell apart?  The zebra can’t change his stripes and all that. The sad part?  B was so excited to possibly get to spend the night alone with him.  She wanted him to lay with her while she fell asleep and talk.  😦  Jerk.  My husband said, “she can come with us.  We’ll drop her off at the marina before we head to VT.”  And he’s right.  And I’m grateful he loves being around her as much as I do.  But it still makes me sad.  For my girl especially…we’ll see how it plays out.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. littlemansmom
    Jun 04, 2008 @ 16:46:42

    No mixed messages…..perfect teeth means that she’ll have less chances of crowding, cavities, tartar build-up, discolouration etc when she gets older which means her dental costs will be less which means $ spent of something preferable rather than necessary! You are teaching her about taking care of herself and the importance of good hygine…it’s not a bad message at all!

    Besides…she looks adorable! 🙂


  2. Leslie
    Jun 05, 2008 @ 09:39:03

    I still can remember my mom making rice the day I got my expander and the mess that was to eat haha I got to a point years into the orthodontic process that I didn’t want anymore & my parents were more than happy to cut up the payment book. I had the top teeth done but just didn’t care about the bottom teeth and the overbite. I’ve never been sorry. You’re doing a great thing for her but definitely evaluate as you go along.

    Her dad definitely sounds shady 😦 Good thing she’s got such great stability in your home, the new hubby sounds like a good guy!


  3. Shannon
    Jun 05, 2008 @ 09:44:37

    Littlemansmom-thanks for the great pep talk. I first received it on my blackberry and all I could think was-hmmm, maybe she’s an orthodontist! 😉 But you are right and I’m trying to tell myself all that when I have to turn the expander each night.

    Leslie-Yes, that is a good point. I will continue to evaluate it as we progress. At this point she says she doesn’t want it all out. She knows she will have amazing teeth. And with a face as cute as that it’s a killer combination! I am definitely biased. 🙂 And her Dad is shady alright. He knows I’m onto him-now he wants to take her tomorrow night. I said he’ll have to ask HER. I’m not cool with this whole week long vacation without me there-him driving her scares me enough.


  4. Kelly
    Jun 11, 2008 @ 21:03:45

    hmmm……. playing catch-up here.

    So B’s dad was driving separately from his girlfriend? Was she flying or something? Eleven hours is a long way to drive separate.

    Without knowing his laziness guage, he may not have wanted B staying with him that night if his girlfriend wasn’t there to “do the work”. I know this sounds sexist…. but I know a lot of lazy men who don’t want to lift one extra finger for the kids. (And I know many men who would move the world for their kids) It just depends on the guy. Or yes, there is always the possibility that he wanted to be “free” to do his own things while the girlfriend was gone.

    Hope all has gone well. I’m sure she’s missing you!


  5. Shannon
    Jun 13, 2008 @ 12:50:38

    B’s Dad was driving separately from the girlfriend-he had to play a wedding and she wanted to go down earlier. I agree-I would have waited.
    I know with most men you might have been correct, but I think that he’s pretty ok having B by himself. He originally didn’t have a girlfriend and used to keep her all weekend alone with him. She loved that!
    I miss her horribly and can’t wait! Glad you are still here Kelly, I wondered where you went!


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