Monday, January 31, 2011

Married to the Mean Mom Has a Birthday

Yay for today being my husband's birthday! Ideally, I would have loved to have been the kind of wonderful wife who plans an entire weekend of festivities based on birthday based fun fun fun, but since we live in reality and have these things called 'kids', not only did that not happen, but it's not going to happen today, either.

Good news: He had a lot of time to himself over the weekend to sleep in, read, play Xbox, workout and watch the Australian Open.
Bad news: He had a lot of time to himself because the kids and I were at a tennis tournament, which means that he had to play with the 24-hour play machine, also known as the puppy. Also, all time spent reading or playing a game was constantly interrupted by texts from me saying things like "Up 3-2, playing great, missing some forehands" or "please bail me out of jail after I kill a few of these moms." In addition, the kids and I knew the results of the men's and women's Australian Open finals, but because he managed to resist the urge to check the results, we couldn't even talk about the match while he watched it by himself. And sleeping in didn't really happen either because even though I tried to be quiet at 6:45 in the morning, I'm sure he heard me whispering "We are leaving in five minutes! Get your teeth brushed and your tennis bag packed NOW!"

Good news: He had Zoe home on Sunday to play with the dog and keep him company while I took the boys to their matches.
Bad news: Zoe woke up with a cough and a low fever, which meant that she spent the day on the couch, coughing and moaning about her low fever, but not really playing with the dog very much.

Good news: Zoe was feeling better last night so we went out to dinner to celebrate.
Bad news: Zoe felt better for the length of the car ride, after which she promptly declared herself as 'freezing to death' before her fever instantly spiked to 102. Mozzarella sticks eaten = one, which coincidentally is also the number of beers that each of us had.
Worse news: Like I said before, we each only had one beer! And he had to drive home so that I could hold fever girl in the car.

Good news: He had the whole bed to himself last night, with the door completely shut, and was able to get an uninterrupted night of sleep.
Bad news: He had the whole bed to himself last night because I was sleeping in Zoe's room, waking up every half-hour or so to hear her either cough coughity cough or talk in her sleep saying "sorry I'm really sorry oops did I do that I didn't mean to sorry." And it wasn't the fact that she was talking in her sleep that was freaking me out, it was that I didn't really know she was capable of saying the word 'sorry'. Anyway, since I managed to get about 2.6 hours of sleep last night, Doug may want to think twice before he opens that bedroom door and tries to communicate with me.

Good news: He took today off so that we could sleep in a little and we could see a Coen brothers movie.
Bad news: Zach managed to suffer from alarm clock user error AGAIN so I was whispering AGAIN, something like "oh my god I'm going to put that phone somewhere that you will never be able to not notice that alarm going off." Also, the boys don't have the motor skills necessary to shut the bathroom door without anything less than a sharp thunking sound. And even though Zoe took a break from the fever for a few hours last night, it has returned just in time for Monday morning. Which means that a bloody, obscenity-filled movie and fatty popcorn has now morphed into girl on couch, Buzz & Woody and Orville Redenbacher.

Good news: I'm going to make him something great for dinner today.
Bad news: I have no idea what that great thing is because since I was home for exactly 10 hours this weekend, we have nothing in the house that screams "the preparation and sauteeing of me will result in a delectable birthday dinner." We do, however, have something that says "Look at me, I'm a frozen pizza."
Worse news: Whatever I do end up whipping together will have to be eaten early, because the boys have a piano lesson tonight.

Good news: Like I said before, he took the day off from work and coincidentally, it snowed last night. Yay for not having to celebrate a birthday by sitting in two hours of morning traffic on a Monday morning!
Better news: I shoveled the driveway this morning.
Bad news: I now smell like I shoveled the driveway this morning, and for all of you that live in a cold, snowy climate and have spent any amount of time outdoors doing something besides standing still, you know what smell I'm talking about. And since Zoe is sick and will be expecting me to be her beck-and-call girl, who knows when I'll be able to find time for a shower.

Good news: I wrote a birthday blog for Doug last year, and hopefully if he reads it again, it'll make him feel happy enough to be able to forget about how potentially crappy this year's birthday could turn out to be.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In So Many Words

Much to the dismay and occasional embarrassment of my boys, I enjoy spending time with, and talking to, the teenage girls that they play tennis with. It's interesting to hear what they're up to, find out what they've been shopping for and also be accessible to them in case they want to spill something to me that they don't necessarily want to discuss with their own mom. In addition, these ultra-competitive and athletic girls have been nothing but a great influence on Zoe and they're always excited to see her. So when I see them, we end up talking. And laughing. And talking some more. And all the while we try to ignore the groans and eye rolls that are always shot in our direction from the boys sitting nearby.

My boys cannot even begin to understand how I can tolerate the incessant yackity-yack-yack that comes out of these girls' mouths and I say hey, it's easy. After all, I once was -- and kind of still am -- one of those girls that goes on and on and on, explaining things in way too much detail than is necessary, driving Doug to insanity and making him wish that there was a different model number of me. One that came with a mute button. And skinnier calves. And better baking skills.

One of these chatter sessions occurred about a week ago and after this girl and I said our goodbye's and see-ya-later's and gave each other a goodbye hug, I got in the car to drive my boys home. This is when my oldest kid said something like "God, I didn't think you guys would ever stop talking! By the way, did ya know that someone proved that girls talk way more than boys but don't say anything interesting? Boys can say the same thing, using only a tenth of the words that a girl does!" I said yes, I know, and that's because boys talk like cavemen and girls know how to use adjectives. He just rolled his eyes at me, looked out the window and grunted something that sounded like "uuurrrggha."

Since then, I've tried to pay a little more attention to the differences between boy and girl conversations and the more I listened, the more I realized that my kid is right: boys are cavemen. For example:

Boy: (While pointing at friend) T-shirt.
Girl: Ooooh, I love that shirt! The fabric is sooo soft and I love the color! I love that there is a flower on the front and that there are sequins on the flower, too! Where did you get it? Do you think there are any left? I love shopping there they have, like, the cutest clothes! Cool t-shirt!

Boy: Hungry.
Girl: I'm, like, starving to death but I don't want to eat anything sticky or loaded with grease. I wish there was a Panera nearby so I could get a bagel. Oh, they have the best bagels ever. To die for, really. And the veggie cream cheese is my fave. What? You've never had it? You really need to go. So I don't know what I should eat right now. Maybe a piece of pizza would be okay.

Boy: Lotsa homework.
Girl: I cannot believe how much homework I have. Like, don't these teachers know that I have a life?! And that I don't want to spend, like, eight gazillion hours studying the countries of Africa!? Seriously, what do they think Google is for! At least I got these new pencils. Aren't they like the cutest thing ever? I just love them. Oh, and you won't believe what happened in Algebra today, it was the funniest thing ever!

Boy: Ugggh, brrrr.
Girl: It's soooo cold outside! And my lips are so chapped they're about to fall off of my face! And could my hair be more staticy? Seriously, oh my god! I don't think my fingers are ever going to be warm again! But look at these Ugg boots I just bought at Nordstrom! Aren't they, like, the cutest thing you've ever seen? And they were only, like, $200. I know, right? I should tell my mom I need them in another color, too, because they're just soooo cute!

Boy: Hey, I think I'm sick. My throat hurts when I swallow like this, and I feel cold, and my knees hurt but it's mostly my right knee, and sometimes my neck hurts when I turn my head like this, and my nose feels like it's getting stuffy but it's mostly my left nostril, and my head hurts right where my eyeballs are, and I'm hungry but I don't know what I should eat because chewing might hurt, and it hurts to swallow like this, and I'm pretty sure I'm getting a fever because my armpits feel warmer than usual, and (cough, cough) did you just hear that cough? Holy phlegmy! Oh god, I don't feel good.
Girl: Hi, I have a little bit of a cold, but I'll be okay. So do you want to go shopping?

Okay, so they're not always cavemen. Sometimes, like when they're sick, they're wusses too.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Musical Memories

At one of the boys' recent piano recitals, we had to listen to another student play "The Entertainer." And unfortunately we weren't subjected to just the first and second sections, but it went back to the first, then the third, then the interlude, and then the fourth section, with repeats, and it just wouldn't end. And although we've had to sit through more than our fair share of excessively long recital pieces played by complete strangers, I'm pretty sure that sitting through "The Entertainer" can be found within the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.

The first time Zach ever said "Uuuugh, great, The Entertainer. Because, ya know, no one's ever heard that song before" I was kind of annoyed since, after all, that's my line. It seems like every kid (including me) at some point during their piano education is forced to learn this Joplin ragtime classic. All kids except mine, that is, because after I was asked to play this song no fewer than 2,783,824 times as a child, I'm pretty sure I would bolt out the front door and scream while running down the street if I heard that opening sequence of D-E-C A-B-G.

Seriously, every time I hear that song, I have flashbacks of hearing the dreaded "Hey Jody, head on down to the basement and play 'The Entertainer'." I would have gladly played something else, but my parents' friends always wanted to hear "The Entertainer," I suppose because it was familiar.

And while hearing "The Entertainer" happens to trigger the Pavlovian effect of sweaty palms, instant deafness and feelings of dread (I know this for a fact because yesterday while I was at Target, I heard the all too familiar first six notes being played on one of the demo keyboards and my palms started to sweat -- from four aisles away), there are several other songs that also trigger memories from my past:

"King of the Road" ... Roger Miller I was about six years old and had figured out how to use a turntable, but unfortunately didn't own any albums of my own. After finding this fine song buried in my parents' albums I listened to it over and over, and over again until I had the entire thing memorized. Unfortunately for everyone, there was no lip syncing and instead I sang at the top of my lungs while throwing in a finger snap here and there. What's amazing to me is that I distinctly remember singing this song and dancing around, but I've managed to forget about the part where my brothers are laughing at me, and most likely calling me a moron.

"Daddy Sang Bass" ... Oak Ridge Boys I don't think there was ever a time that I didn't hear this song while riding in the back of my dad's car. And every time it was on, one of my parents would say "Wow, would you listen to that bass! He can sing so low! That's really something." and I would think well, yeah, it's a song about a guy singing bass, and I think I've heard this song before. Like, yesterday.

"Another One Bites the Dust" ... Queen Ah, the days of roller skating. The carpeted walls, the bruised knees, the fact that I completely sucked so I never had skates of my own and always wore rentals. Shoot the duck!

"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" ... Tears for Fears Remember when cable TV came to your town and you were finally able to see what MTV was all about? And MTV, at that point, actually aired music videos but they only had, like, 36 minutes of programming that they'd air over and over again? Well, this song/video was in that 36 minutes and every time I hear it I think back to sitting in basement rec rooms.

"Xanadu"... Olivia Newton John One of the funniest karaoke duets I've ever seen, which made it totally worth lying about my birthdate to get into that bar.

"Sharp Dressed Man" ... ZZ Top I was lucky enough to have older brothers that didn't mind driving me around. They would bring me to gymnastics, let me hang out with their friends and even hauled me to a few parties. And they played their music LOUD while I sat in the seatbelt-less backseat, sliding back and forth on the red vinyl with every erratically taken left and right turn, singing "Every girl's crazy 'bout her sharp. Dressed. Man." Loud.

"Life's Been Good" ... Joe Walsh Lazy summer days during high school in Mark's backyard, playing volleyball, swimming in the pool, sitting in the hot tub, riding Waverunners, drinking umm...stuff.

"Careless Whispers" ... Wham! Easily the most awkward junior high dance to ever take place in the history of junior high dances.

"Rock and a Hard Place" ... Rolling Stones A guy asked me to go to this concert when I was a junior in high school and thinking that she'd for sure say no, I asked my mom if I could go. When she said yes, fine, go and have fun, she instantly became one of the coolest moms ever.

"Pour Some Sugar on Me" ... Def Leppard High school sports, specifically softball.

"Pictures of You" ... The Cure When Doug and I were first dating, it was an inevitability that at some point during the evening, we would hear this song.

"Dancing With Myself" ... Billy Idol And then there were the dates with Doug that we would drink a little, eat an entire bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, play a little Nerf basketball, and then dance around like idiots to Billy Idol.

"Kickstart My Heart" ... Motley Crue The concert in which my brother's (now ex-) girlfriend discovered that it's very risky to drink a wine cooler in the front seat of a car, especially when the driver decides to slam on the brakes, causing said wine cooler to spray all over the inside of the windshield and rendering it undrinkable. She also discovered that after heat is applied to the windshield, that shit isn't ever coming off, not even by licking it.

"Janie's Got a Gun" ... Aerosmith When you ask someone at a party if they want some Chex Mix and you are the one holding the ginormous bowl of Chex Mix, make sure that when they say "yes, I do" that they actually take a handful rather than what Steve did which was hit the bottom of the bowl as hard as he could, which caused the Chex Mix to rain down over a one-block area.

"You Shook Me All Night Long" ... AC/DC Two words: dancing baby. And in this case, the baby was Zach.

"Angel" ... Aerosmith Driving home after euthanizing our beagle, Baxter.

"You Are My Sunshine" ... various artists, but my favorite is Norman Blake This is the first song that Charlie learned how to sing. He used to sing it to Zoe when she was a baby.

"Ring of Fire" ... Johnny Cash Never again will I ever be able to hear this song without thinking about science projects. And what sucks the most is that my kid will always associate Johnny Cash with a school year that I'm pretty sure he's still recovering from. Seriously, this song came on while we were at a Twins game and he had to get up and leave our seats.

"Just the Way You Are" ... Bruno Mars So, Doug and I are driving somewhere together and this song comes on. I say wow, these lyrics are so familiar because you say the same things to me all the time. He's like what the hell are you talking about woman? This song sucks. I say no, no, just listen. You'll know what I mean.
  • "Her hair, her hair falls perfectly without her trying." Of course he laughs because at the moment, my hair is in a ponytail.
  • "When I see your face there's not a thing that I would change" which just induces more laughter, because unless he's blind, he can see that there's a giant zit trying to burst forth on my chin.
  • "Her nails, her nails I could kiss them all day if she'd let me." I'm sure he would kiss them, if he wanted to risk cutting his lip on one of my super hot hangnails, jagged edges and overgrown cuticles.
  • "Her laugh, her laugh she hates but I think it's so sexy." Ah yes, the laugh. The donkey meets hyperventilating clown meets megaphone meets occasional snorter meets rabid hyena meets girl. Sooo sexy.
At least the song finally came to an end so that he could stop laughing, catch his breath and focus on his driving. But from now on, every time I hear the delusional and cheesy lyrics of that stupid song, I'll have to pull over because it's hard to drive when you laugh like a donkey/clown/ megaphone/snorting/hyena-girl.

I Kind of Suck At This

After reading some blog posts from the past, I realize that over the last year I've bitched and moaned on a pretty consistent basis about my kids' helplessness. I dream about the day that they are able to recognize a full garbage can, follow six-step directions without forgetting steps 2 - 5 and be able to keep track of when bedtime is approaching. The moment that they realize I can't be at home making something for dinner while simultaneously driving them around will certainly be a day for the record books. And what if -- seriously stretch the imagination here -- they were to ever figure out that they should get their shoes and coats on, without being told, five minutes before the time that we're supposed to leave!

Seriously, if I were ever to discover all three kids standing by the door with their shit ready to go at 11:28 after telling them that we're leaving at 11:30, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to drive to wherever it is that we were going because I'd be hyperventilating and suffering from shock. There are times that after seeing lifeless lumps on the couch or listening to a soon-to-turn-violent game of tabletop ping pong, I think hell no, man! Today is the day that I am NOT going to remind them to start getting ready! I am going to just put my coat on and walk out the door, and if they aren't ready, well then SCREW THEM! I'm leaving them behind! That'll teach them! And then, sure enough, as the time approaches, I cave in and shout a couple reminders, wait for them to get shoes on and then head out the door on time. Why do I do this? Well, because the piano lessons are kind of expensive so it would be pretty pointless to show up without the kids, and because I'm pathetic. And lately, I've taken advantage of the opportunity to be pathetic a lot.

Kid #1: I swear this kid's brain shuts off the moment he climbs out of bed in the morning. I say things like "Hey, do you want me to get some of those cookies you really like with the macadamia nuts in them" and all I get is a vacant stare and an "ummm, I've no idea what you're talkin' about. What cookeeeezzzz?" Every response and demand has a little extra uuuuhhhhhzzzzzz to it, with a sigh or four thrown in for good measure. One morning, I made the fatal elementary error of saying something so stupid as "Make sure everything is in your backpack and you're not forgetting anything." You're-a-stupid-mom lasers shot from his eyes as he said "Of courssseeee everything's there. Duuuuuhhhhhh." So I, logically, assumed he had it covered.

As soon as all the kids were out the door, I sat down at the computer to return some emails, drink coffee and do a little Facebook creeping. As soon as I sat down I noticed a very familiar green binder sitting by the keyboard. A binder that had the words "Science" and my kid's name on it. Well, that can't be right because I was assuuuurrrreeeddd that everything was taken care of and dddduuuuuhhh! My initial ha-ha-this-will-teach-my-kid-a-lesson instincts said that I should keep my ass in the spinny chair, my non-travel coffee mug in my hand and not only not take the binder to school, but maybe even hide the binder. And then the stupid invasive bitch that lives inside my brain piped up and reminded me that this kid has yet to miss even one point in science this trimester, and boy oh boy wouldn't it be a bummer for him to miss a few points just because he couldn't turn in the homework that he had completed over the weekend. After all, this was the first time he'd forgotten to take something to school all year!

So what did I do? Of course I grabbed the binder, put on my coat and then walked out the door, without my coffee and without even brushing my teeth. And then after I delivered the binder to the junior high, I figured I'd continue my I'm-a-loser-mom morning by running into Costco to get some of those macadamia nut cookies that he doesn't really remember if he likes or not, but I know are his favorites.

Kids #1 and #2: Most days, my boys are pretty good about making sure their clothes end up in a laundry basket. Lately, I've noticed that they seem to derive enjoyment out of leaving one sweatshirt or pair of pants in the middle of their floor -- sort of an "I'm not as anal as my mom" statement -- but otherwise things are pretty predictable. Until, that is, dress clothes get thrown into the rotation. For some reason, a pants hanger confuses the hell out of them and they're never quite sure if the dress shirt should go in the laundry or not, even though they just got done playing in a piano recital held in a room "hotter than the surface of the sun," as my husband so eloquently put it.

Last Sunday, Zoe and I missed the boys' piano recital and instead drove (well, technically I drove while Zoe watched Toy Story 3 and laughed her ass off) a little over two hours in each direction to spend a whopping 40 minutes at a wake for my great-aunt. By the time I got home, I was mentally shot and hopeful that I wouldn't have to do anything besides wash my face, put on the most hideous flannel pajamas I could find and drink a beer. What I was definitely NOT in the mood for was finding two sets of dress clothes piled in the middle of two different bedroom floors, showing zero evidence of a boy trying to be helpful or self-sufficient. What I instead saw was two boys who figured they could just drop the clothes wherever they wanted to and mom would take care of it because, as we all know, mom always takes care of it. And after all, that Xbox wasn't going to play itself!

Now, I could have dug deep and found the energy to walk from our upper level to the lower level, found more energy to wave my arms around while I yelled at the lazy boys and then stomped back to the upper level to show them for the 38th time how to operate a pant's hanger. But then I probably would have just ended up being even madder because I would have had to stand there and watch them fumble with the complicated contraption because even though they could easily operate a controller for every game console ever made, the mechanics of this particular hanger were just. Too. Darn. Hard.

And then the dog chewed on one of the collar stays, which made me start thinking: if piano teachers and the organizations that support music education for teenagers really want to encourage kids -- boys, in particular -- to continue taking piano lessons, perform in recitals and not drop out, maybe they should stop requiring them to dress up in things that require funky hangers, collar stays and ironing skills. Because if they wouldn't have had to dress up for this particular recital, then I'm sure the clothes would have ended up in the laundry basket instead of the floor, which would mean that I wouldn't have had to pick everything up for them.

Kid #3: Since I've obviously failed miserably in teaching the first two kids how to use common sense and be responsible, I decided at the beginning of this school year that I would leave the packing of Zoe's backpack each morning up to her, and her alone. I envisioned her spending several days walking the school hallways in snowboots because tennis shoes were left in the closet, a few days of recess spent indoors because snowpants were hanging on a hook at home and more than a bookshelf full of overdue library books. So, where exactly am I on this well-intentioned project? Here is how most mornings go:
  • You need to put a snack in your backpack.
  • Today you're eating home lunch. Get it out of the fridge.
  • Where are your shoes?
  • No, don't put them there, stick them in like this.
  • What about your snowpants?
  • No, they don't fit that way. Here let me do it.
  • Just, give them to me! Now get your lunch.
  • Wait, where is your water bottle?
  • You still need a snack.
  • It's library day. Go get your book off of the table.
  • It's 10 degrees outside. Please put your coat on.
  • Yes you need mittens and a hat.
  • Put your boots on, too.
  • Get away from the dog's butt and put your boots on!
  • Go get in the car. Wait, where are your mittens?
So, yeah, things are going pretty much how I predicted they would and I won't be surprised when the UPS man delivers my Pathetic Mom of the Year Award sometime around spring break. After all, that's when the boys' high school tennis season starts which means I'll get to do more driving, more laundry, prepare more meals on-the-go and best of all, have even more opportunities to be pathetic.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dental Genetics

When I look at my daughter's life, it's hard not to notice the similarities between her childhood and my own. She's growing up with two older brothers, is an animal lover, has been known to be outspoken, is occasionally mildly competitive, is sort of stubborn, is a little bit picky, and has horrible, defective, crappy enamel on her teeth.

I used to think that my frequent visits to the dentist were my parents' fault. It seemed like a reasonable explanation since I grew up with well water that didn't contain any fluoride, used whatever toothpaste was on sale, and was even forced to occasionally brush my teeth with a horrid concoction of baking soda mixed with lemon juice to get that "sparkling white shine." As a kid, I endured having acres of fillings, several teeth pulled, almost a decade of painful orthodontia and, more recently, have been subjected to a root canal and crown. But then, after reflecting back on my younger years, I realized that my brothers only visited the dentist for check-ups and to receive an occasional filling, were blessed with perfectly straight teeth and now, even though they rarely make dentist appointments as adults, don't get cavities. So maybe it wasn't my parents' fault after all. Maybe it's the fact that my dental genetics were scraped together out of a garbage dumpster and everything seemed A-okay except that important things like enamel that wasn't made out of tracing paper, alignment and being given teeth sized for a normal-sized girl instead of a 7'-tall lumberjack were left out of the mix. Yeah, that could be it.

Sadly, Zoe inherited my teeth or, more appropriately, lack of good teeth. After not eating too much candy or seasoning her food with Fun Dip, she brushes, flosses and rinses, and then ends up with cavities. And I'm not just talking cavities. I'm talking cavities. These suckers are on steroids and seem to appear in a matter of seconds. Meanwhile, her brothers chew on chocolate, occasionally remember to rinse the food out of their braces after they eat and often end up doing a half-ass job brushing their teeth because they're too busy using their brains to think about playing Halo. And then they sail through dental exams, only having to appear in the reclining chair every six months, and not once have had to recover from the numbing effects of novocaine.

At the kids' last cleaning, I was informed that Charlie has to do a better job of brushing because he has what appears to be his own personal compost bin growing amidst his braces, Zach is being lazy brushing his bottom teeth, and Zoe has two abscess teeth on the bottom that would need to be pulled. Okay, so, Charlie please brush better unless you want me to throw your entire head into the actual compost bin by my garden, Zach stop being a lazy ass, and...WHAT? WHO NEEDS TO HAVE TEETH PULLED?

Long story short, bionic cavities had managed to grow under fillings that had already been put in, so two teeth had to come out, spacers needed to go in, which meant a total of four appointments, each scheduled a week apart. They were going to be pulled with novocaine, so no general anesthesia would be necessary. Nitrous could be used (yay!), but then I found out the nitrous was for her, not me, and while that made Zoe excited, it left me pretty disappointed. I scheduled everything for after Christmas, tried to sound all nonchalant about it so as to not freak out my daughter, and then proceeded to quietly freak out.

Before Christmas, the kids played in a holiday piano recital. And even though there were still faint traces of those goddamn red dots on Zoe's face from Clifford Day, the kids all cleaned up pretty well. I'm more than a little obsessed with Zoe's red shoes and the way her tights are all baggy around her ankles, I love that the boys' shirts are untucked and I am impressed that they voluntarily wore something besides tennis clothes (except Zach forgot to switch his socks):

A couple weeks after this picture was taken, it was time for dentist appointment #1. She remembered to bring a stuffed animal to hug, sunglasses to avoid being blinded by the overhead light, she never winced during the novocaine shots and seemed pretty relaxed about the whole ordeal. Meanwhile, I sat in the corner with my foot nervously tap-tappity-tapping and attempted to ignore the smell of the office and the sound of the metal instruments while reading an issue of Men's Journal (I now know how to get a dent out of a ping pong ball.) And then they started pulling.

Seriously people, I thought I was going to faint. I felt like a live-action example of contradiction, trying to convince my little girl that it really doesn't hurt that bad while also fighting the urge to scream "Get the fuck away from my kid because I hate the dentist! You're a bad man! A very bad, bad man!" I knew the tooth had to come out - infection, horrid odor, damage to the adult tooth, blah blah blah - but did it have to come out so, you know, ickily? At one point when Zoe raised her hand trying to claim that the dentist was hurting her, I noticed the dude wasn't even touching her tooth. That's when I decided that I would act like an adult, tell my kid to suck it up, watch her yell in fear as the tears rolled down the sides of her face, and shout out various bribes in order to get her to cooperate. Do you want a toy at Target? Done. Two toys. Done. A prize from the dentist in addition to the two toys? You betcha.

After her appointment, we went shopping for her rewards. Since she was drooling a little bit (novocaine, you know) I decided to just plop her in the cart so that I could periodically wipe the spit and blood off of her lip. And since the hole where her tooth used to be was still bleeding a little bit, she was supposed to keep a wad of cotton in her mouth for about half-an-hour. In addition, all the crying and freaking out had made her Clifford spots flare up again into an angry red. So here I was, pushing around my drooling, bleeding, polk-a-dotted daughter who couldn't form an intelligible word due to the numbness/cotton in her mouth combo, which meant all she could do is sit there and gesture which direction she wanted me to go while moaning things like "AAAARRRGHHIIIGHT" and "UH UH DAAATTTTUUUPP." I was tempted to take a picture of her in this miserable state because it was so completely opposite of how she looked before her piano recital just a couple weeks ago, but then remembered: I had already taken one while she was in the dentist's chair:

And while I still hate the dentist and probably always will, Zoe still likes the guy and is even looking forward to appointment #2, which may or may be due to the fact that I've already bribed her with another toy. And who knows, I might even agree to drive her there -- after someone bribes me with a bottle of vodka and a couple valium.