Someone didn’t think this through

By Mir
August 15, 2008

Just a quickie, today, as I am having some difficulty extracting this gigantic stick that seems to be lodged up my… oh, nevermind. I’m really not fit for public consumption, is my point, but I did want to tell you about something that happened yesterday.

The genetics that combined to form my children gave them many fabulous things—such as large brains and long eyelashes—but it also saddled them with a few things they probably could’ve done without, such as really crooked teeth.

We’ve been doing the mouth modification thing for quite a while, already. Why, I went back and checked, and it was nearly two years ago when Chickadee took her first trip to the orthodontist, and I was quite bowled over at the time by all of the STUFF modern orthos seem to have on tap to hold the kids’ attention. Video games. Prizes. Heroin. You know.

Well, Chickadee paid her dues—twice. First she had teeth extracted and then later had a gum graft. (Beauty is pain, Princess! But all for the good of having a pretty smile and also the ability to chew!) Really, she’s had more than her share of dental anguish since all of this began, and so I think we were ALL relieved when we moved here and it was suddenly Monkey’s turn to undergo treatment while Chickadee went into the “observation” track with the new orthodontist.

Monkey, meanwhile, stopped eating for a week after getting a mouthful of metal, and slowly—oh so very slowly—has adjusted to the new state of affairs and is doing fine.

Right. That brings us up to recently. A few weeks ago, Monkey went to the orthodontist and they said CONGRATULATIONS, YOU WIN MORE METAL! and that means that he has been such a STELLAR patient what with his NEWLY-EXPANDED PALATE that they are actually going to put the first few sets of brackets for his braces on in another couple of weeks. If we are SUPER LUCKY (and I think we will be, because that’s how we roll), this will ONCE AGAIN trigger all of his sensory issues and cause him to stop eating and turn into the Incredible Hulk for a week. I CAN’T WAIT!

Meanwhile, yesterday Chickadee went in for her 6-month observation, and they did exactly the same thing they did the last time (six months ago), which is to peek inside her mouth and say “Looks good! Come back in six months!” Except that THIS time the hygienist asked if she’d been “inducted into the club” last time, and we said no, and that’s when she went away and came back with a big pile of swag.

Apparently, while you’re just being observed at this practice, you’re in the Kids’ Club! This is where they butter you up by giving you all manner of prizes and crap every time you come in, so that by the time they fill your jaw up with pokey metal bits you’ll just be all “Yay! I got sparkly pencils! When can I come back again?” And that’s… fine… I guess… except for doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING my daughter walked out of there with a t-shirt and a lanyard and a special badge and a pencil case and some stickers. She was—of course—delighted.

We picked up Monkey in the waiting room and he surveyed her haul.

“Did you get all of that in there?” He asked. She nodded, and explained to him how she’ll get prizes EVERY TIME SHE COMES. “Will I get that stuff the next time I come?” he asked me, hopefully.

“Ummmm… no, baby. I’m sorry. The next time you come, you’re getting braces.”

Yeah. THAT’s fair. If you get wired up and tormented on your visits, your reward is an extended lecture about how to properly brush your teeth. If you just bop in and look pretty, you get prizes.

What genius came up with THAT scheme??


  1. k k

    ha. the irony of life. and am i really the first comment? :D

  2. Jenn C.

    Whoa. That seems entirely and perfectly backwards!

  3. Megan

    Shouldn’t there be some sort of law against heaping unwanted, unnecessary junk on kids who will immediately decide that THIS! This eraser shaped like a camel! This pink pencil sharpener that will never, ever work! This tiny game full of ball bearings that only serves to make a truly horrendous, endless rattling noise! This is MY TREASURE and I have ALWAYS WANTED IT and it must never, never ever be thrown away. ‘Cause I think there should. Of course I also think there should be some slightly humiliating punishment for school officials who contribute to deforestation and land fill nightmares by sending home thirty or forty pieces of paper a week (half of them about this month’s fundraiser…). It’s possible I’m not entirely unbiased.

  4. bob

    poor guy. I expect you’re coming up with a special treat for him?

    Sorry to hear you’re out of sorts today.

  5. suburbancorrespondent

    But, why isn’t he in the Kids’ Club, too? Isn’t he at least getting equivalent swag? (Not fair, still, I know; as he is suffering more – but at least it’s something.)

    I’m not looking forward to the orthodontic years. We ducked it with our first two, but I can’t imagine we would be that lucky with all 6.

  6. Mom24

    I think I would call, put it to them just like that, and see what they had to say. You have to wonder sometimes who’s (not) thinking these things through. Crazy.

  7. Karen

    Wow! Where is your prize? No free pedicure…. No suprise gift cerificate to a day spa, just for keeping them in business? Hmph!

    Monkey- I know, that is a raw deal!

  8. jennielynn

    So not fair!!!! That boy needs him a t-shirt and a lanyard!

  9. Teresa

    THAT’s CRAP!

  10. Katie in MA

    Wow. Yeah, I’m pretty sure if I couldn’t force my teeth to look pretty through sheer FORCE OF WILL to avoid the metal and the PAIN, there’s no way I can do it just to get some swag that I’ll just leave lying around the house later. And then trip on. Because that’s how *I* roll, yo.

  11. Beachgal

    Ugh, I never got swag at MY orthodontist, and they ‘observed
    me for plenty of times. Very interesting. I’m praying my son’s teeth come in straight and unneeding of wire and metal. Please!!!

    Hang in there Monkey!

  12. Mamacita

    Our orthodontist won’t remove the braces until that last payment has been made. Then and only then did my daughter get to walk out that door one last time, with her new and beautiful smile. There was offered swag, but she rooted through it and said “No, thank you.”

  13. Burgh Baby

    *knocks on wood**please let my kid have straight teeth please let my kid have straight teeth please let my kid have straight teeth**knocks on wood*

    Oh, and that totally sucks that Monkey didn’t get 10 times as much stuff as Chickadee, considering he is costing you 10 times as much in dental fees these days.

  14. Astrogirl426

    Oy, just like life, huh?

    I say the kid earned himself a trip to his very favorite quasi-fast food restaurant (I’d suggest Friendly’s, but I’m not sure y’all actually have Friendly’s down there – maybe Bob Evans? Cracker Barrel?). Poor guy. Well, anyway, in ten years he’ll have people commenting on his beautifully straight teeth. So there’s that.

    Yeh, I know, it sucks.

  15. Aimee

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy that Chickie got swag. But that said… WTF? Hell, I’ll chip in for some swag for Monkey. That system is bass-ackwards.

  16. Walking In My Sleep

    Remember the days of going to the doctor/dentist and they have you candy??? Now, my kiddo gets his choice of one small trinket each time he stops in. The selection is all the fun, and within a few hours he’s lost the bauble. These folks need to reward EVERY kid alolng the way – it’s such an achy-long process!

  17. threeundertwo

    Dang! Please get him something cool when he gets the braces.

  18. Casey-Diane

    We have the whole orthodontia thing going on too (as of January of this year) and about a month or so ago my daughter was wearing a t-hhirt with her orthodontists name on it and I said “where did you get that?” and she responded “oh he gave it to me at my last visit” I was thinking to myself well at least she is getting the braces she needs and she gets happy going there…it is worth it rather than having her miserable and complaining that she hates it there!

    (thinking to myself…so am I paying more than I need to so he can supply that crap?)

  19. Daisy

    I never got swag from my orthodontist. Maybe that’s because I threw up on him when he stuck something too far back in my throat.

  20. tori

    Our ortho does it right. He gave my SON the prizes when he filled his mouth with metal, and my daughter who got a retainer got nothing. That went over well (not!). I think our boys are on the same schedule with their teeth because I remember when you wrote about the metal thing and then I wrote you about my son not eating because of his, and my son just got braces Wednesday. My son got his metal thing out though because they said his teeth moved faster than they expected. I have never seen him happier!

  21. Katherine

    My son only ever got one goody from the orthodontist – a t-shirt advertising them. After about a year, he decided it would make a good sleep shirt.

    I bribed, errr rewarded good visits with a trip for ice cream – if nothing else to numb the teeth after pain. My son was generally NOT a good patient. He had the same treatment Monkey is going through now (I think). Top and bottom palate expanders, then braces. We’re now in the wait til all the adult teeth come in and then see if we need more braces. In the meantime, he has a permanent retainer (hallelujah for permanent – no digging through nasty trash cans here!). Reminds me I need to take him in for his 6 month check-up (thats probably only 3 months overdue…)

  22. jmcupcakes

    Mir –
    Your kids aren’t even 10 yet!! Isn’t this WAY too early for orthodontia??!! My Staten Island dentist, who has seen my kids teeth in all their glorious crookedness, has said that braces before the age of 10 are NOT GOOD because their mouth is still growing…I am really surprised at this early southern orthodontia!!

  23. Brigitte

    At my baby’s 1st dental appt., when she just turned 3, the guy ALREADY said she’s going to need braces. Her baby teeth are straight, but “crowded”. Jeez, give a mom a few years to fantasize her kid will be braces-free, why dontcha?

  24. Randi

    Oh I definitely think Monkey should’ve gotten the presents! Absolutely!!!

    Question: I vaguely (everything is vague in my memory) remember you talking about a different type of braces that they used for Monkey’s mouth – something newer? Toad is looking like he’s going to have to have braces this fall, and I want to go in armed with all the knowledge I can have. Small town docs? Not always the most forthcoming with new dental practices…

  25. SoMo

    The one who decided that all the pretty girls never have to do anything and get everything they ever wanted.

    I know, I know…Bitter, party of one.

  26. Mom on the Run

    The orthodontist is an interesting experience. We don’t have the prizes, but the kids get an Oral-B electric toothbursh, the waiting room has a playstation/gamecube stand, and there are drawings for prizes every month.

    P.S. I sent a request to follow you on twitter…I am “musingsfromme”.

  27. Cele

    some people just don’t think. I’m with you, it needs to be done in all fairness.

  28. Lindy

    All this sounds so familiar. Flashbacks to third grade. Ehh….

    Good luck with monkey braces. I don’t know if he likes pudding (what kid doesn’t?) but I’ve found that the SnackPack chocolate FatFree pudding is less gooey and tastes much more like homemade fresh-out-of-the-fridge chocolate pudding than the regular SnackPack chocolate. Great for lunchboxes when you can’t eat anything solid.

  29. annie

    I’m with Karen – where’s YOUR prize?! But seriously, is this possible?! How can they do that to Monkey?! Maybe he should do what Daisy did. If Monkey’s too shy, maybe you could do it for him? Generally, I am opposed to prize incentives. By the time my daughter was 8 she was consistetly asking “What do I get?” at each and every request I made. At 9 she told me “Your job is to make me happy.” !!!! I made her happy all right: SHE ended up being braces for 6 years.

  30. Catherine

    I think that if your child is wearing the Ortho’s t-shirt and advertising, the Ortho should offer up some discounts on the teeth fixing…Cause honestly..your advertising for FREE!! :)

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