Can’t Talk. Tooth Hurts.

So, I have bad teeth.

I’m not sure which parent is to blame for my bad dental inheritance, or maybe it’s the combination of the two that lead to the disaster in my mouth. Either way, I was born missing several permanent teeth causing my mouth to shift all other teeth when baby teeth were lost. Except, of course, for the one miracle baby tooth with the root from hell which I still have. And which always inspires dentists and hygienists to guffaw over how I still have it and that, by the looks of the root, I may have it forever. Which is good, because there is no permanent tooth anywhere to replace it.

These teeth spurred several years of braces and the need to wear a headgear…all day. Not just as night like some of my friends. No, that would have been too simple. I had to wear it all day. I actually had two. One for day, one for night. They were both equally sexy.

The childhood dental tragedies let to an irrational dental phobia for my adulthood. I also had a dreadful procedure a few years ago where they placed “permanent” caps on a few teeth to add a few more fake teeth between them. It was painful, embarrassing (don’t ask) and I have hated my smile ever since. Hence skipping the dentist for the next several years.

Recently I braved it up and went to the dentist where the insisted I have my upper wisdom teeth cut out and sent me two different oral surgeons to schedule consults with. I haven’t done this yet as I’m SCARED AS SHIT.

Well, you know what motivates you? When the wisdom teeth start hurting. Hurting so bad you can’t concentrate on anything but the pain.

That’s what started yesterday. I’ll be scheduling my consult today. If I can talk. As it is right now, my wisdom tooth is causing me so much pain I’ve lost all patience with my kids, motivation for domestic chores, and tolerance for anything edible. Let’s hope that the consultation requires pain medication. That would be nice.

This Story Starts Out About My Kids And Painting…

It’s really hard taking pictures of small children. I prefer the shotgun approach in that I take so many photos, periodically I’ll end up with good ones. With AndyZ, I can barely ever even get him to look at me, let alone smile. I have an arsenal of questions I ask or things I say to try to get his attention…

Where’s Momma?
Do you see a bird?
Where’s E-Ya-Ya?
and then…of course…
Where’s your nose? Not the best one to use when we’re fingerpainting.

AndyZ is already showing the mad art skillz that most daycare kids learn. Because these teachers force projects on them earlier than I would ever dream, they start understanding concepts like painting and coloring very early. I’ve caught AndyZ playing with my paintbrushes a few times, (I say my paintbrushes like I’m some sort of cool artist and not just someone who just happens to have paintbrushes.) and when he does, he seems to hold them correctly and tries to paint with them. Sans paint. When he sits at the desk with me (because he’s like his sister and wants to be held if there’s an open lap available) he grabs pens and writes on paper. His sister did the same things…and I feel like that is all the gift of daycare. There is no way in hell I’d be brave enough to let my kids paint or color before they were old enough to understand that we don’t color or paint on the dogs or the humans. Or the walls. Or our mouths.

But we have an easel outside that is just for Painting Sans Stress. I throw the kids in clothes that can be easily cleaned, I bring a pack of wipes out for a quick wipedown pre-bath, and I let them have at it. I looked at the first photos of NikkiZ painting on the easel and realized it was about time to introduce AndyZ. This weekend was his first session in the Studio ‘o Zoot. Here is a picture of his first session as compared with his sister’s.

She is a month or two older than he is in the first session, and he is already looking to be a more conservative artist. NikkiZ never had a problem with getting her hands covered and tried to cover every piece of paper. AndyZ kept trying to get the paint off his hands and kept his creation contained to very small piece of real estate. He also got very mad at me when I added a swipe or two with the paintbrush. I tried to explain it was merely for instructional purposes, but I think he thought I was trying to bogart his masterpiece.

Do you have a way to Paint Sans Stress in your home? Do you have any tips or techniques to share? Or more importantly…any products you recommend? NikkiZ is using those paint/brush combos in her painting and those are great…but sometimes a little tricky on an easel. They require some effort to get the paint flowing if the surface is remotely upright. More importantly…what’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in the Kids Paint department. Mine is, “Never put a kid in the bathtub covered in paint. The water turns scary colors and my possibly freak the kid out.” Hence the pre-bath wipedown with wipes. Nobody wants to bath in brown water.

OMG. I am such an idiot. They are no where NEAR the same age in these photos. MATH IS NOT MY FRIEND. NikkiZ is a whole year older in her photo. Which, honestly? Makes me feel much better because I kinda felt like AndyZ was a little behind. OBVIOUSLY…he’s just fine. It’s his MOTHER who is the moron.

We Survived!

Dear Dad,

Another weekend came and went and I didn’t call you to tell you about my week. It still feels weird, not calling you on the weekends. It still pops into my head on drives to run errands or when the kids are napping. I should call Dad… I think it’s because there are so many things I feel like I need to tell you about. So, here it is. You know…because I need more evidence to support me being The Krazee. Like talking to the dead.

LilZ loved his first week of High School. He’s still incredibly lost and jokes that if his friend who is in a bunch of his classes gets sick? He’s screwed. She evidently knows where she is going. He just follows her around. He swears the staircases are all identical and that when he goes down a set of stairs he is never where he thinks he should be when he gets to the bottom.

Yes, I said STAIRCASES. My high school didn’t have a staircase until after I started there. And it only led to, maybe, three extra classrooms? I have no advice to assist him…is what I’m saying.

He’s enjoying his drama class and he’s thinking about joining the newspaper. I’m encouraging him to do all of these things because I just want to know how it works! My high school was so different…no drama department, no newspaper. This is a learning experience for me, too. He also took my camera out this weekend and took some amazing snaps at a local art market. Here is one of my faves –

MrZ was floored I gave him my cameras to use…thinking I’d be too protective of them. I assured him that I was still very protective and that I actually told LilZ, “I’m more stressed about you in the care of my cameras then when you are caring for your siblings.” Because, you know, the siblings won’t let him forget them somewhere. I hope.

Either way – he had a great time and came home with some amazing photographs. I’m very proud. It’s nice to see your child share your interests…I’m guessing you felt the same way when I starting studying Geography. You always loved me talking about coursework…no matter how boring it may have appeared on the surface to the average person.

So…we survived the first week of High School…and we’re very optimistic about the rest of the year. I’ve only been saddened by one observation, and that’s the group of smokers I see standing across the street from the school in the afternoons. First of all, they are much braver than I was. I hated smoking in public anywhere in Knoxville for fear that someone I knew would see me. But seriously, I hate that kids are falling for the same view of smoking as I did. Still. Even when they cost three times as much. Still trying to gain cool points or rebel points by lighting up. I did the same thing, had the same mentality. And then struggled for years before successfully quitting. I know you and I often talked about why we both smoked, but we never smoked at the same time. So we never smoked together. Is it weird that I wish we had?

I wish you could see you grandson go through high school. I know you would be just as proud as I am.

A few pictures from the park this weekend…a park that still reminds me of you since I have so many pictures of you with NikkiZ there.

I miss you. I know that even taking the time to write this goes against everything you wanted for us, when you chose not to drag out your death. You wanted us to be able to quickly move on instead of caring for you indefinitely. I’m trying, I really am. It’s just hard. Especially this time of year, the start of school. We loved this time of year in our home because it meant School Supplies! It may even be tougher now than Father’s Day was. Every time I see a wall of calculators I think of you.

I think that fact, however, would not bother you at all. It would probably make you quite proud. You always did have a thing for calculators.

I love you.



If you’re in, or have been in, a long-term relationship…you’ve probably had those cyclical arguments where you are trying to make the other person see a situation from your point of view, while they are trying to make you see it from their point of view. And since, as adults we tend to be set in our ways, you both find ways to just give up and maybe accept the difference. Maybe find a compromise. In the end, however, the views are not changed.

Do you find this weird? I mean…it’s the exact same situation. Why do we see it in two different ways? What is up with how much perception can change something?

You see this a lot if you find yourself discussing politics or religion with someone who sees things the opposite. You see protecting some concept of marriage, I see discrimination. You see me as pro-abortion, I see myself as pro-choice. You see God…I see, nothing.

It’s something that has been on my mind a lot lately…how strange perception is. How something happens but two people can see it two entirely different ways. I always think, their way is wrong…mine is right. But aren’t they thinking the same thing? That my way is wrong? Their way is right?

It’s just a strange concept to wrap one’s head around. I’m grateful I’m married to someone who generally, ends up with the same view of the world as I do. So, the conundrum is only encountered outside my home. But this had me thinking…what if I was married to a conservative? Or even better…a fundamentalist christian conservative? How would that work? Do you just find mature ways to discuss things? I’m not very mature…I tend to be too emotional. It’s hard to have a rational conversation when you’re crying. But I know couples who differ in opinion and they seem to do it maturely. HOW?

So…I’m curious. Are you in a relationship with someone of some sort of opposing belief? Are they religious and you’re not? Are they conservative and you’re liberal? How do you resolve things? Do you just never discuss the core of the differing views? Or have you mastered the art of the mature, emotionless discussion?

If so…can you share tips with me?