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Brace Yourself

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When I was a little kid, my siblings and I used to pretend that we had braces. OK, maybe it was just me that pretended but I remember showing off my “braces” to my brother and sisters. They consisted of the foil wrappers from my pack of Wrigley’s gum that I folded into thin strips and pressed onto my teeth. I would wear them for hours. (Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.) In a large family, my peppermint scented braces were the closest I was ever going to get to the real thing. Alex, being my only begotten son and having inherited the wrong size mouth for his teeth, is much luckier. Though he may argue with the "lucky" part. About five years ago his dentist sent us to an orthodontist. The road to beautiful teeth has been paved with broken brackets, painful tightenings, extractions, missed mornings of school and work for appointments, nagging about brushing, and a lot of dollars dropped along the way. But he’s now on the downhill slide towards getting his teeth freed from years of entrapment behind bars. He’s so close . . . and his moment of freedom is completely in his hands. That’s the frustrating part. He is supposed to be wearing these little rubber bands 24/7 and IF he does that, he could be all done by this summer. So I do not understand why he is only wearing them like 7/3. I mean come on dude! Do you like this torture? Do you really want to be like your mother with the gum wrappers? Every trip to the orthodontist is the same. They tighten. They admonish. I frown. He scoffs. I lecture. He ignores. What the heck? This is one area where parental discipline seems to be failing me. I can’t tie him down and stick my fingers in his mouth and glue them on! Logic and reasoning have no impact. I told him this week that he better find a way to wear them like he’s supposed to or I’ll find a way for him. Yeah, that worked. So what do I do? Take the money I paid Dr. Happyteeth out of Alex’s allowance? Forbid him to leave the house unless he’s banded-up? Cry and stamp my feet? I need some help here people. Any advice?