Hello, I must be going

By Mir
August 29, 2008

Hey, I have a handy tip I’d like to share with y’all. Because I’m helpful, that way. And I know that you will thank me, because this one is a real gem.

Here it is: Do not let an orthodontist put the first set of braces on your child the day before a four-day weekend. YOU’RE WELCOME!

I know, it seems like a silly thing, but OH MY GOD, just trust me on this one. Because you’ll be all “Ho hum, braces today, make sure we’re having soft food for dinner, no problem,” and then you’ll leave early to get into the carpool line so as to pick the child up immediately after school so as to make it to the orthodontist’s office (which is, of course, located across town, as far away as humanly possible from where you live but still within the same city), and then he’ll get the braces on and everyone will smile and praise him for being such a good boy, and then you’ll drive BACK across town and get inside the house and have just about set down your purse and taken off your shoes and checked your email when that same child will say, “Mama? Don’t be mad. I think I broke them.”

And you will say “OH DON’T BE SILLY, YOU CAN’T BREAK YOUR BRACES! HAHA!” and then you will look in his mouth and GOOD LORD, HIS BRACES ARE BROKEN. There’s a wire! Sticking out of his mouth!

You will call the orthodontist back, and then drive back across town to get them fixed, and they will insist that they didn’t do anything wrong, the wire can just slip out if you mess with it too much, hahaha, funny thing, and then you will congratulate yourself for not punching everyone in the office in the face and demanding that they give you gas money. Instead, you will thank them for putting a couple of globs of glue on the wire as “stops” to keep Mr. Sensory Processing Disorder from tonguing the wire out of his mouth again.

You will then drive back home, serve soft food for dinner, and run out to a two-hour-long meeting, because you didn’t lose enough of your work time yet that day. Then you will go home and work into the wee hours and fall into bed, exhausted.

The next morning, you will tell your darling son to please please PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY, STOP MESSING WITH YOUR BRACES, and you will pack lunches and send the children off to school and get back to all of the work you didn’t finish the day before. And then just as you’re getting ready to start preparing for the trip you’re about to take, the school will call.

“Hello, Mrs. Otto? This is Monkey’s teacher. I don’t know exactly what’s happening, but he seems to have… broken his braces? There’s a wire all sticking out.”

And then you will die of anger and frustration.

You will come back to life, drive over to school while calling the orthodontist, realize the orthodontist is now closed until Tuesday, hang up and call your husband, instead, and leave him a hysterical message, then you will go into your son’s third grade classroom, tap him on the head while he’s buried in a book and all his classmates shout “Hey MONKEY! It’s your MOM!” and then take him out into the hallway and FIX. HIS. DAMN. BRACES. (“Hey, good as new!” he will say, utterly unbothered. “See you later, Mama!”)

On the up side, he is still extremely adorable, even with the extra metal.

* * * * *

Needless to say, this was exactly what I wanted to be doing on the day before the Decatur Book Festival. GAH. Go ahead, ask me what I’m wearing tomorrow. Or what I’ll be reading. I HAVE NO CLUE. Hopefully I’ll figure it out. Anyway, come say hi to me and Kristen if you’re going to be there.

And here’s some more good news about Sleep Is for the Weak: we’ve teamed up with Eco-Libris to offset book sales with planted trees. I believe the Eco-Libris stickers will be available at some other events as a $1 add-on to your book purchase, but tomorrow in Decatur if you bring a book to us to sign, I have Eco-Libris stickers to give away to the first 100 books that cross my path. I don’t know if that makes me a tree-hugger or just a tree-planter, but there you have it.

* * * * *

I promise that I’m going to stop talking about Kitchen Table Reviews very soon, really, but very pretty reader Jill was kind enough to create an RSS feed for it, so that those of us who use feed readers don’t have to wait for Scholastic to get around to it. Thank you, Jill! Just as a reminder, there will be new posts every Friday. Today we’re talking about pee.

You’re welcome, again.


  1. Leandra

    I love sentences that start with “Momma don’t be mad.” Those are always the good ones.

  2. Heather Salas

    Sometimes I don’t know how us Mom’s aren’t just bald from the day to day things that make you wanna go crazy. I love reading your blog and my husband who reads over my shoulder when he hears me chuckling says you are a riot!

  3. Megan

    Wow! A braces fixing momma who also does home made pizza AND knows the Ways Of Bacon Salt. Raising the bar woman, raising the bar.

  4. StephLove

    I appreciate you mentioning appropriate ages in your reviews.

    I just made the mistake of starting to read the Dragons of Deltora series to my seven year old, who is going through a dragons phase. Mistake #1, even though it says #1 on the spine it’s really book 12 in a 15 book series, or three interconnected series, but it’s pretty confusing to start where we did. Mistake #2, Scholastic recommends it for ages 9-12 and he often reads books in that range, but the violence! It was really intense. I agreed to finish the book but we aren’t reading any more in the series for now, and of course, he really wants to know what happens next. I need to be more careful with fantasy, I think, and not read over his age, ’cause he’s not nine emotionally.

  5. Nelson's Mama

    I got braces at 42.

    My husband got very handy with a pair of needle nose pliers and some wire cutters for those little problems that popped up after hours!

  6. el-e-e

    I don’t even know you and yet I can see your smile in Monkey’s smile. :) Even behind the braces.

    God Bless Jill for that feed! Yay!

  7. Karen

    My kids’ wires came out ALL THE TIME at first. The intial wire is very thin and pops a lot. As the wires get thicker it will not happen. You just have to teach HIM how to get it back in the little hole!

  8. Mike Golch

    Mir, Just thought that I’d stop by to say Hi. Hugs and Blessing to you and the family.

  9. Sheila

    I’d have let him live, too.

    But WHAT is up with orthodontics these days? FIRST set of braces? What about the days when you got just ONE set of braces and wore them all through high school (and if you’re lucky like me, you get them on the day BEFORE Picture Day your freshman year and get them off the week AFTER your Senior Portrait Sitting)? This idea of multiple sets of braces in stages, starting when they haven’t even lost all their baby teeth yet is MADNESS, I tell you!


  10. Jill W.

    I am loving the Kitchen Table Reviews. Very well done.

  11. Beth

    Thank you thank you Jill! We love our RSS feeds, yes we do!

    And braces? Suck. My worst broken wire ever? Eating macaroni and cheese. The wire actually snapped and poked me in the cheek. On a Saturday, of course. So we just pulled the smaller piece out and arrived on my dentist’s doorstep 20 minutes before they opened on Monday morning.

  12. Jill

    I feel so shiny. And special.

    I wish I could say that it was hard to make the RSS feed, but it wasn’t. Feedity makes it very easy. Let’s all cross our fingers that it continues to work for everyone.

    And I’m ever hopeful that neither of my children will ever need braces, please gods and goddesses, spare me that! My daughter, the little drama queen, would be a nightmare.

    Hope your weekend improves, Mir!

  13. Karen

    He does have a very charming smile. yeah, i would have let him live, too.

  14. becky

    I can’t tell you how much I love the new column, Mir. It’s awesome. Is there a way we can give that feedback to Scholastic?

    Once, on a fishing trip with about 20 other people, my girlfriend’s brace wire popped out. We were out for 3 days, so there was no access to an orthodontist. Trusting soul, she had me pop the wire back in place with needlenose pliers. We still laugh about that. Good times.

  15. Flea

    I’m sure you already know, but our orthodontist told us we could use nail clippers to snip the wire till we could get back in. And I’m assuming you have wax for the snipped ends?

  16. Damsel

    If Monkey ever runs out of wax, Sea-Bond denture adhesive works GREAT! :-)

  17. Jenn

    Hey Mir-
    I just had to let you know that I chose Sleep is for the Weak for our book club read for October. I live in AL, and was so excited about the Decatur Book thing until I realized, duh- there’s a Decatur in GA, too! Shucks! Good Luck this weekend- I’m sure you’ll find something perfect to wear!

  18. All Adither

    Wow, they start ’em early on the braces. My fourth grade neighbor just got them too.

  19. Maki

    Awww… “Mama, Don’t be mad?” is just what my daughters would say… So cute although it wasn’t cute situation for you maybe. By the way, I need braces and I’m 34! I’m going for invisalign. Thank you for your tip!!

  20. Angela

    Maybe I’m crazy but we never had wires come out (me and my sibs). My problem was playing “wet noodle” (popping each other with towel) and having the towel get caught on my braces and having a bracket flipping around and around all weekend. Seriously.

  21. Mirinda

    This is my first time to read your blog and what a great post to start with! I love when my children preface things with “don’t be mad”. I dread the whole braces debacle with my three kiddos. Thanks for the tips!

  22. Astrogirl426

    The only thing better than the “Momma don’t be mad” sentences are the “What are you doing?” questions that get answered, “Nothing.”

    Or better yet, “Something.” Yeh, Forget I asked, kid, and go back to building your nuclear device.

  23. Lady M

    I wish I could be at your book signing!

    Only one of my children has teeth yet, so I have some years before the dread of braces.

  24. Brigitte

    I don’t know how many years, Lady M, if they’re sticking braces on kids who don’t even have all their adult teeth yet! I gotta tell my baby to go into orthodontics as a career, seems to be a real moneymaker. ;-)

  25. Katie in MA

    Just wanted to send “Good Luck!” vibes your way. Wish I lived closer so I could stop by!

  26. Laura

    I think proof of good parenting, sometimes, is just letting your children live long enough to have their own offspring.

    As I type this, my 3 year-old is under the table, butting her head into the pedestal, on purpose, then crying, “Ouch! I bonked my head. Again!”

    When I reply that perhaps she should stop bonking her head, she asks, “Mama, why are you so mad?”

    Sigh. Children. You love them, but they drive you slowly out of your skull some days.

  27. Georgie

    I have had many a braces emergencies here Thank goodness oldest bean gets her braces off on Tuesday…first thing she said she is going to eat is a PAYDAY-her fav candy bar and also the culprit to a fewbroken brackets because she thought “thingslike that happen to other people not her” pffft I say

    I just stumbled upon your blog and am glad I did

  28. Kylie

    It’s not so great about wires popping out of brackets already – mine used to do that when I was a kid as well. I am taking from that the fabulous news that Monkey is coping well with his metal. Way to go Monkey! I am terrified that my son with ASD will need braces, as the sensory overload must be awful. Three cheers for Monkey!

  29. Asianmommy

    You’re an amazing mom to be able to go to school and fix braces on the spot! Good job!

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