I have a confession to make - sometimes we're not very good parents. And
then sometimes, we have a chance to redeem ourselves. And today we did. We took
the kids to the dentist.
Josh and I have never been big on going to the dentist - it's not that we
don't believe in clean teeth and flossing and free toothbrushes, because we do.
It's just that dental insurance is a thing of the past and man alive, have you
seen the price menu at a dentist's office lately? Me neither. And that's because
doctors in general will not tell you how much anything will cost until after
they have seen you, at which time it's a little too late to change your mind and
But the confession doesn't stop there. Not only are we not good at taking
the kids - or ourselves - to the dentist, we actually have another option - a very
good childhood friend of Josh's is a dentist, a wonderful, giving, kind guy who
enjoys seeing us (we hope!) and generously sees us for free. Yeah, you heard me
right. He won't take any money from us. And so you must be asking, what, in
the name of gingivitis, is wrong with you people? And you would be right to
ask. So I'll tell you. Our dentist friend, Dr. Eddie, lives and works very far
away from our general locale - which is generally our living room. He's a good
hour and a half away, turning a visit to the dentist into an all day event.
If you have been following along, you will know that our oldest recently lost a tooth,
so we kind of figured it was time to go to the dentist for real. As in to pack up the car, the kids and the cooler and go. So we did. And shockingly, we survived. Not only did Josh and I have our teeth x-rayed and cleaned (don't you love that clean teeth feeling? Kind of makes you not want to eat anything. Ha, are you laughing? Cause I am. I always
want to eat something) but the boys had their teeth cleaned and counted too. And
we learned the cutest thing today - when counting teeth, baby teeth are counted
using the ABC and grownup teeth and counted with numbers. Who knew? Not me.
Anyway, unless you are very new around here, by now you will know that we
pack the cooler with snacks when we drive 15 minutes to my parents house, so can
you even imagine what happened when we packed to drive 90 minutes to the
dentist? Wait, I'll show you, you don't have to imagine. And when I took this
picture, I wasn't done packing. I know.
Once at the dentist, the boys actually climbed into the chair - willingly -
and that, my friends, is a sure sign of maturity, because if you have ever been
to the pediatrician with us, you will be familiar with the sounds of children
wailing and the screech of waiting room chairs being slid across the floor as children cling to them for dear life. One of my kids, at the age of 18 months, once grabbed the
car keys and ran out of the doctor's office, naked, in a bid to get away. So
when the boys hopped into the dentist's chair, I knew that the tooth fairy must
be smiling on us.
Dr. Eddie was awesome. He let the boys wear sunglasses, a brilliant
diversionary tactic and they opened their mouths. I consider that a mission
accomplished. We only used the bathroom in the office fifteen times. We only
left four different kinds of crumbs on the waiting room floor and we only asked
for three extra dentist party bags - my kids have birthday on the brain. They
weren't actually party bags, just those super awesome bags with free
toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss in neon colors! Yahoo!
And because there was no way we could make a three hour round trip without
stopping at a playground, we did - and had a picnic. I love picnics in the
summer. In the shade. With straws. We had all of those things today. Yum.
If you promise not to look at my dirty windows, I'll show you something
really cute. Promise? Yeah? Good. So it's been raining for days and we've been
stuck in the house. We're also been trying to get ready for my almost
five-year-old's birthday party* coming up, and one of the things we were doing
involved some craft foam. Not the foamie stickers you can get in AC Moore but
sheets of foam that haven't been cut yet. We were sitting in the porch, cutting
donut shapes out of the foam, when we heard and felt some water dripping. Yup,
we have a leak, its running down the inside of one of the new windows we have.
Josh will be having to make a phone call about that later, but first we needed
Anyway, once the water was nicely dripping into the buckets and not onto
the couch, we continued with the cutting. And then one of the kids went to check
the buckets and while standing on the couch realized that the foamie cut-outs
were sticking to the window where it was wet!
So much fun! It's like Colorforms, but not. Remember Colorforms? Those were awesome - but the pieces were always so small and lose-able. With the foam, you can cut out as many as you like, in any shape you like and most importantly, as large as you like. So that's what we did. We stuck with the basics this time, squares, rectangles, triangles, hearts and circles. The kids built houses and balloons and trees on the windows - we moved them to dry windows and handed out paint brushes** and small cups of water - and fun was had by all.
And then, to add to the fun, at least for me, I was looking through some emails later in the day and there was one with a link to this exact craft! Nicole, at The Activity Mom, has a super-fun blog and great ideas. But still, so weird that I saw her link the same day we realized this worked. But so fun that someone else figured out the same great rainy day activity. And she had the best idea too - why spend time cutting out shapes when you can buy a whole bucket of non-sticky foam shapes for like seven bucks and the kids can go to town with letters, numbers and animal or flower or whatever cutouts. So smart.
*It's a Dunkin Donuts Carnival. Yup, that's what I said. But more about
that another day.
** Learn from me, please. Don't hand out sponge brushes. They soak up way too much water and make your carpet wet when they're left on the floor. Use regular old, small thin bristled brushes, kind of like the ones you'd use to do a paint-with-water-coloring-book. Remember those too? Those were so great. I miss being a little kid.
Something totally new happened in our house - and with four kids, we don't
get a lot of firsts anymore. Or rather, firsts that we haven't seen before. Of course, each child learning to walk and talk and potty train is awesome and precious and new to them, but there's nothing like a first of something that happens to your oldest, because you, as a parent, have never experienced this first, in the role of parent. Does that make any sense?
And so the other day, we lost a tooth! One little lone tooth, that had been shaky for weeks, finally fell out - and all that's left of it is an adorable little tooth-shaped hole in my oldest's mouth.
No really, the hole is all that's left. No tooth, no nothing.
You see, the tooth, which had been playing games with us for a number of
weeks, decided to fall out when my boys were spending the night at my parents' house.
Now my mom, she's a sucker for these things like I am, so she wrapped up the tooth,
put it into a small sandwich bag, decorated the bag with stickers, placed it into an envelope, decorated that envelope too, sealed it and placed the envelope inside a mini shopping bag. I know the shopping bag left my parents' house when we picked up the boys, but alas, it did not make it home. Well, not true - the shopping bag made it home, but the tooth inside the plastic bag inside the sealed envelope did not. Crazy,
I know. We got into the car, we got out of the car. And it's not anywhere in
I'm so disappointed. Not so much for sentimental reasons, heck, I never
even filled out any of my kid's baby books. (I know, isn't that just awful?!)
It's more because I was kind of looking forward to playing tooth fairy. I like
the whole idea of putting things under pillows and getting treats in exchange. I
wish I could put things under my pillow and get say, a chocolate, to wake up to.
But alas, it was not meant to be with this first tooth. Not that any of my kids
have any idea that there is a tooth fairy or what she does, but I was excited to
introduce the whole concept to them.
But not to worry, my father hooked my oldest up with plenty of money when
that tooth fell out. From I was able to tell, my son has been busy clutching a
$5 bill, three $1 bills, some quarters and a bunch of pennies. I'm guessing my
dad emptied his pockets, possibly not realizing there was a $5 bill in there.
And so my oldest counted his money repeatedly between lost-tooth-day when this all went down and this morning, when he went to camp. A logical question would be
why? Or rather, what? What would he need the money for at camp?
I'll tell you. My son has been making eyes with the candy machine in day
camp all summer. And he never has any money because I - obviously, totally
unreasonably, says my son - see no reason why a newly minted six year old
needs money in a camp that serves lunch and snacks and drinks all day long. And
also, I don't want him buying cans of soda. And fruit roll ups and potato chips and
chocolate bars. All the things he had planned to buy today. And not share.
So we compromised, and he went to camp with a dollar in change and
instructions to ask his counselor to help him buy something from the machine.
And why would a kid who has been stalking the candy machine all summer need help? Because of this:
Mommy: What are you going to buy?
Him: I don't know, I have to look when I get there.
Mommy: How will you know how much something costs?
Him: I'll look and see. If it says a seven and a five, I know I need 75cents.
Mommy: That's great, which of the coins that you have makes 75cents?
Him: These do, these three make 75cents, they're nickels, so these are
what I need (pointing at a bunch of dimes).
Hence the need to ask a counselor for some help.
I've been excited and nervous about this whole candy machine thing all day. Call me a
nut, but I feel like this is huge. It's his first real foray into a world with
myriad choices, any one of them which can be an excellent choice. Sometimes, the
choice between several good things can be harder than the choice between wrong
and right, because deep down you know the correct choice between good and evil -
it's the choice between good and good that has the ability to trip us up.
I can't wait until he comes home so I can find out what he picked. It won't
be the first monumental choice he makes in his life, but it's the first he's
making without mommy standing there, holding his choices out to him.
I know it's just a lost tooth and some loose change. But it's beginning of
everything - of first grade, of math tests, of training-wheel-less bikes, of not
wanting to watch only PBS anymore - even of learning how to text.
It's not easy to be six, but sometimes I think it's even harder to be the
mommy. But it's also cool to be six, and it's for sure totally cool to be the mommy.
We went to the beach the other morning - it was finally not boiling hot, so
I figured a little sitting on the sand would be good for everyone. And because I
am a huge (huge) geek, I brought paper, scissors and glue with us so that we
could do a project. (I know, go ahead, roll your eyes.)
But you can stop laughing now because it actually turned into a cute project and the kids, especially the three-year-old who wouldn't take off her sandals and walk in the
sand for all the money in the world, loved it.
We drew with glue (regular white glue, not a glue stick) on a paper.
Then we dumped a ton of sand on top. I had actually told them to sprinkle sand
on top, but sprinkle, dump, to each his own.
Shake the paper off and woweee! Sand art! And sand art where it's okay to make a
huge mess cause it's already a huge sandy mess at the beach. It doesn't get
better than that.
Oh yeah, wait, it does get better. We brought Dunkin Donut munchkins with us. A little sand on a glazed donut never hurt anyone.
Build your own Beit Hamikdash. Or, you know, just take out all the
blocks and lego and huge cardboard blocks that bring back memories of hours
spent folding those cardboards into block shapes years ago, and build with the
Start with Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) and add the walls around the
city next. Throw in some lego people and weeble-wobble people to keep things
interesting. Keep building until the kids get bored or the baby becomes
godzilla-like and knocks it all down. Hurry the kids into the kitchen to bake
chocolate chip cookies with Abba before they have a chance to get mad at their
little sister for destroying their city.
And peace reigns in the house. At least for another few minutes, anyway.
Today is Tisha B'Av, the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av. Tisha B'Av,
the day that the holy temple or Beit Hamikdash in Jerusalem was
destroyed thousands of years ago, has always been a day of sorrow and mourning
for the Jewish nation day marked by a day of fasting.
Fasting on its own is not an easy thing to do, but fasting with a bunch of
little kids is much much harder. So what are mommies to do today? My first
inclination was to sit them all down in front of the tv, and while that always
seems like a good idea to generate quiet, I find that the kids are much
kvetchier and antsy-er after watching tv.
So on to some projects. It's not even 9:30am and I've already served two
breakfasts and a snack. And we've done a project - and I promise, this one is
totally for a lazy mommy on a fast day. All you need is paper and glue. Maybe a
marker if you're feeling adventurous.
We're going to make a mosaic of the Kotel, or Western Wall in
Jerusalem, the last wall standing from the Beit Hamikdash. It's easier
than it sounds - in this case, mosaic is just a fancy word for gluing paper on
paper. Gather together some large white paper, we had some that was pretty big,
larger than legal size paper, but whatever you have is fine. I drew a bunch of
squares or stones of the Western Wall on a paper for each child. Then I cut up a
bunch of brown and orange construction papers into squares, handed out glue
sticks and off they went, gluing and talking for twenty whole minutes. And I got
to lay on the floor next to them. Even the baby held a glue stick and waved it
And because it makes the kids so happy, we hung their creations on the
mantle and we're done. Except we're not because it's not even 10am and they're
bored again. Hmmm. It's going to be a looong day.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)