The very definition of pitiful

By Mir
March 18, 2008

The children are home, yes, and boy are their arms tired. (Ba dum bump!) Between the time change, the vacation, and the hellish trip back, they are exhausted beyond all reason. Waking them up yesterday morning for school made me feel like a card-carrying sadist, and yesterday afternoon as first one and then the other melted down while we were out, they took turns pulling themselves together out in the car while I watched from twenty feet away. Chickadee took that opportunity to read a few pages of a book and then slink back over to me and apologize; Monkey clambered into his seat and promptly FELL ASLEEP in broad daylight.

It is the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.

Of course, poor Monkey got an extra helping of torture, because despite his last tragic trip to the orthodontist he was all excited to go BACK again yesterday!

Oh, Monkey. Don’t EVER be excited to go to the orthodontist, baby.

Yes, yesterday was D-Day. They even CALL it “DELIVERY” there at the ortho, because when you call it “installation of operation lockjaw” it’s harder to fit on one of those cute little labels they stick on the chart.

So I picked him up around lunchtime and let him eat his lunch in the car on the way to the office. He munched happily, failing to realize that it might be the last solid meal he would have for a week. Actually, I might not have realized that, either. But do you know what they did to my baby? They filled his mouth up with metal!

Last night he tried to eat some macaroni and it kept getting stuck between the palate expander and the roof of his mouth, until he finally gave up in tears. He ended up having a bowl of yogurt for dinner.

This morning he tried to chew up his vitamin and declared that chewing anything at all hurt. He ended up having a bowl of yogurt for breakfast.

While he sat slumped at the kitchen table, I packed him some juice, a cup of applesauce, an overripe banana, and a Nutella sandwich for lunch—knowing full well that he’s not going to eat anything but the applesauce.

He was SO pitiful before they left (“Whatsamatter, honey?” “My TEETH HURT and I can’t EAT ANYTHING!!”) that I gave him some Motrin and a promise that we’d have ice cream after school. Poor kid. This is the price of beauty! And, um, not growing up with two rows of teeth crammed into your jaw!

Anyway, what was NOT pitiful was that yesterday (before dinner) he was still sort of excited about the whole thing. I think the fact that he could barely talk was cracking him up. And while he was still kind of amused by the adventure, I decided to take a little video:

Go ahead… tell me YOU wouldn’t feed that kid ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And maybe dunk him in it and lick it off, too.


  1. Stacey

    Good luck…this too shall pass. I remember thinking my DD would never eat a solid meal or talk right again. It passed amazingly quickly though. He is TOO cute. I would definitely feed him ice cream morning, noon and night. :-)

  2. Madame Queen

    Poor Monkey!! I remember how much it hurt when I used to get my braces tightened. It will probably start to feel better today. And he’ll get used to eating “around” the wires.

  3. StephLove

    My deepest sympathies to Monkey. I hated every minute of orthodontia and I only had braces for a year and a half. There was the part where my bottom gums GREW UP OVER THE BRACES, though. That was pretty harrowing, getting them off.

    p.s. The video made my toddler giggle.

  4. dcfullest

    I think I detect a hint of a southern accent developing in all of you.

  5. tori

    My son just got his spacers in last night. I remember when my daughter had her quad helix thing in she lost some weight. She could afford it (NOT saying she NEEDED it, just that she was average weight and wouldn’t die if she lost weight) and when it came off she started eating normally again. My son is very very skinny and if he loses weight with his, I don’t know what will happen. I guess I’ll just have to make him drink ensure or something if he doesn’t eat enough. I hate orthodontia with a passion, but otherwise my kids probably wouldn’t even be able to talk in the future because their teeth would be all over their mouth sort of haphazard.

    It was so nice to hear your voice, and to hear your kids! How cool was that. I loved the video! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Bob

    wah wa wah wah, wa wah wa wah wa.

    so sayeth Ms. Othmar and her son, Monkey.

  7. Jean

    What a lovely voice you have!! No wonder you love to sing!

    Still can’t shake that “read the book first, then saw the movie” sort of feeling…..

    Odd comment, yes, but that’s what struck me.

  8. Jenny

    Oh, man. As one who endured braces for too long to consider (AND I NEED THEM AGAIN — WEAR YOUR RETAINERS, KIDS! WEAR THEM! I KNOW YOU HATE THEM, BUT YOU HAVE TO WEAR THEM!) and suffered the indignity of the wired-shut jaw in her early twenties — I just want to hug Monkey. On the one hand, it’s all “Sweet, I’m a borg!” and on the other hand… ow. And, frequently, ew.

    Also, iMovie ROCKS. The visual commentary is awesome.

  9. Damsel

    I lived on milkshakes and mashed potatoes for a week after each appointment… and I had one a month for tightenings. Bleh.

  10. Kristi

    Ugh. Just ugh.

  11. Sara

    Yep. It’s official. I love your kids. Monkey is spunky and that Chickadee with her questioning–love it. Good luck with the ice cream diet.

  12. Brian

    Cute video. I still remember when I first got my braces on. Somehow, filling my mouth with metal and wires caused me to forget how to feed myself. I don’t know why putting stuff in my mouth shot my coordination, but for a couple fo days, I couldn’t get a fork in my mouth without jamming it into my teeth. Was a very odd sensation.

  13. Randi

    Awww! And first of all, let me say that your voice is NOT like I’d imagined it! But poor Monkey!

    Toad has his first trip to the orthodontist (he’s 7) because – get this – his mouth is too small for his teeth. He obviously didn’t get his mother’s big mouth…

    Best wishes for Monkey!!

  14. Kate

    What a toughie Monkey is! Bluetooth. roflmao!

  15. All Adither

    Well, it’s certainly better than jaw surgery. A little.

    I had major metal mouth from fourth grade to ninth. I can relate.

  16. DBN

    Oh wow, I hated braces. I had some expander deal they always had to crank to move my teeth apart. **Shudder**

  17. Susan

    Thank God I have a few years before we have to go through some of this stuff. I think I’ll cry.

    LOVED the video!!! ivideo, here I come!!!

  18. Flea

    Poor little Monkey. :( My son may need his tonsils out. He’s looking forward to a week of ice cream, pudding and protein shakes. Oo! Protein shakes are yummy, keep them from losing all KINDS of weight, and they can eat them (my daughter with braces has figured this out, along with the Advil the first day or two).

    Our favorite? One scoop protein powder, one tablespoon peanut butter, half cup yogurt, crushed ice, half cup milk, generous squirt of chocolate syrup. Blend. Oo! And a banana. And daughter takes hot soup in a thermos for lunch.

    Sounds like it might be harder on you than on Monkey, but it will be worth it.

  19. Mama Bear

    On behalf of 2 children who have or are enduring braces and one who is on her way: Smoothies! Mmmmmmmmm!
    Miss 14 and Mr 18 had braces because their mouths were too small for their teeth. Miss 9 (same exact parents!) has to get braces soon because her mouth is too big for her teeth. Me? I just need a bigger wallet apparently.

  20. Aimee

    How freaking cute is he?! I’d buy him an ice cream factory!

    BTW, re: the first french kiss? I feel your pain. That first one was bru.tal. And very tongue-y.

  21. Jamie

    I want to fold him up and carry him around in my back pocket. So adorable! Mashed Potatoes were my friend during those terrible orthodontia years. Might explain a little about my diabetes now though..hmm

  22. Ani

    I have just seen my future, and it ain’t pretty. Though he is cute. Hope my little monkey has as good an attitude about his upcoming borg-mouth.

  23. Damsel

    Okay, I couldn’t watch the video the first time I read the post b/c I had a classroom full of students… but I had to come back and tell you that it was ADORABLE. Such a great idea!

  24. Michelle

    Goodness, he’s so young to have a metal mouth! I feel for him. I had braces while I was in band.. playing the saxophone. Talk about torture.

  25. Kimmie

    I had one of those extenders. It was on the top and involved more plastic. It’s was HORRIBLE. And I’d get spaghetti stuck between it and the roof of my mouth. ICK!

    Years later….I had jaw surgery and spent a summer surviving on tomato soup, milk shakes, and REALLY smushy mashed potatoes.

    I’m a dental queen.

  26. saucygrrl

    AHhahahaha! Oh Mir, I think *everybody’s* first french kiss was a lot like that too…

  27. Melisa

    For your amusement: get him to try to say the word “q-tip.” (I found it nearly impossible.) Given time, he will devise his own clearing methods for the upper device. And Mir, it aint pretty…

  28. Anna

    Just adorable.

  29. ChristieNY

    Poor Monkey!

    Mashed potatoes – for when he wants something that tastes like real food but is still chewable, and is pretty easy to make.

    For the entire week or two after I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth out I put everything in the food processor and made my own babyfood-style mush of whatever everyone else was eating for dinner since I was starved & sick of yogurt & popsicles.

    Feel better Monkey (& Mama)!

  30. Vane

    Oh God, he’s cute!! Poor thing, I had braces too when I was 10 and the first couple of days after thightening where always rough.

    BTW, You have a really nice voice! :)

  31. Cele

    French Kiss, too funny, I will chuckle over this all day long. Poor guy, I hated braces…for eight friggin’ years, oh the pain and tmj.

  32. kidzmama

    I don’t remember getting my braces on, but I will never forget getting them OFF. I thought for sure all the work that was done to straighten them was ruined right there and then.

    If you can get through growing out Monkey’s hair, this should be simple!

  33. Deb

    OH! Super big hugs to Monkey. Not sure how I will survive braces for my bubby! :-( And hugs to you too.

    Yes, he deserves ice cream for every meal for many days!! And hugs too.

  34. Tal

    Poor kiddo! I had the same problem with nearly the same apparatus – my mum made me drink meal replacements like Ensure. Blech. (But maybe Monkey likes them? Hopefully?) At least he’s keeping a sense of humour!

  35. Sheila

    With the cute factor involved, you could probably get Monkey to stand on a busy corner and recite stuff while holding out a tin cup. It might help cover the cost of the jello and ice cream he’ll be eating, if not the hardware itself.

  36. Tootsie Farklepants

    Yep. I would. Ice cream, yogurt, jello, pudding, custard…anything sugary and slick. Poor kiddo. What a trooper!

  37. elizabeth

    when his were first installed, my teenager lived on spaghetti-oh’s, probably less nutritional value than ice cream.
    Monkey is a doll.

  38. Tracy

    don’t skimp on the motrin. Give it as often as allowed for at least 2 days, maybe 4 or 5.

    we alternate here – tylenol and motrin when Mac gets new stuff. And arnica if we remember about it. We didn’t have a palate expander thing though – about the only thing he hasn’t had the fun of experiencing. He hurts (a lot) for at least 2 days after each appointment, but the first one was the worst. (he got the special hell called a herbst appliance. We called him “RoboJaws” because that thing had HINGES. to see it, look here –

    Today dh went to school at lunchtime to give Mac motrin. He was really relieved to see him.

    And he’s 14, and a lot older, and presumably more mature and able to handle the pain better than a youngster.

    and he’ll be very frank – it hurts.

    keep up with the pain relief. It is the best thing you can do.

    sorry about the super long comment! cool video, btw!

  39. Deputy's Wife

    That poor kid.

    Um, iMovie. Isn’t that the best thing. Ever? Yes, I watched happy feet and the dog one too…

  40. Heather in NH

    That movie was hysterical!!!!!!!

    I feel for you as the Mom too – remember mine missed a day of school because she couldn’t swallow for 2 days?

    We’re thinking of you guys!

    Tell Chickadee Hi from Kaylee! :)

  41. carson

    I got my braces on the spring of my 8th grade year. They came off the fall of my senior year. (Ironically, the week after my senior portraits were taken.) Karma owes me one for that.

  42. Niz

    Oh man, I HATED orthodontia… and it took up about 8 years of my life (and God only knows how much of my parents’ money). Palate expanders are incredibly painful. Poor Monkey, I feel for him.

  43. Lady M

    Brave child. And brave mom!

    I dread facing orthodontia in the future. Maybe we’ll get lucky and both kids will have straight enough teeth . . . haha.

  44. Shari

    I, too, remember those days. Every time I went to the ortho I knew that it would be apple sauce for days. I remember crying at night because

    It’ll be over before he knows it and he’ll prize his beautiful smile like I did. I was so stinking proud of the fact that I got through years of hell and came out with an award winning set of teeth. Keep up the hard work, Monkey (and mom, too) :)

  45. Fold My Laundry Please

    Take a picture of his face! Quick! Lots of them! When I had my palate expander, the shape of my face changed (it got a bit rounder, I used to have a narrow face).

    Also, tell him spaghetti is out for him if the macaroni noodles bothered him. A strand of spaghetti will wrap itself around and around the expander. Bread will also gather up there. Big gooey clumps of wet bread trying to stick there forever. Eating sandwiches sucked big time. And meat. And french fries. Actually, unless Monkey plans on going on a strictly liquid diet, he better just get used to having food get stuck up there every. single. flippin’. meal!

    At least the pain part is over pretty quickly. If you can call two to three weeks quick. But, boy, did I look forward to the braces after 6 months of having to tongue wrestle every bite of food down.

  46. Fold My Laundry Please

    P.S. My mother spent that whole 6 months I had the expanders telling me to “E-NUN-CI-ATE!!”

  47. Little Bird

    I think I ate jawbreakers as a kid just to annoy my orthodontist. Of course it was a lot like “cutting off your nose to spite your face”. The visits to repair the popped brackets were torture! All I can offer for advice is soup. It’s hot, which soothes, and if you go with something like tomato soup, there’s nothing to chew or to get stuck in the apparatus. My sympathies to Monkey, I remember only too well what orthodontic hell was like.

  48. Shannon

    ACK. Hate. Braces. And all things orthodontia.

    But….LOL…at your french kiss comment in the video.

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