Saturday, December 31, 2011

Three Good Things

String Bean can be a bit of a muller/wallower/worrier. Especially at bedtime when she's reviewing her day and getting herself too worked up to sleep over the stressful/scary/sad stuff that happened. So I started a tradition with both girls, that as I cuddle with them and tuck them in for the night, we each list three good things about our day. In the beginning, it was sometimes hard for String Bean to think of three really good things. Now she rattles off happy moments like she's been storing them up all day, just waiting to share them. Peanut rarely has a list under 10 good things, and usually ends her list with, "I just had the best day!"

It's seemed to help String Bean settle down at night, to make a point of remembering the good stuff from each day, hopefully helping her learn how to let all of the less-than-good stuff go. And there are definitely nights when this helpful reminder comes in handy for me, too.

As the year draws to a close, a year of more strife and hardship than I was expecting, full of more illness and death and divorce than I want to recount, I'd like to apply the same wisdom on a grander scale. So, my three good things for 2011 are:

(1) my beautiful brilliant little girls are thriving, reminding me every day what really matters: love, laughter, and wonder;

(2) my writing is thriving, getting some recognition here and there (a new short story published just this week!), giving me much to feel proud of and more to aspire to every day; and

(3) I have the best extended, complicated, ever-changing, but loving and supportive family and friends around. It's been a turbulent year, but I'm standing on solid ground thanks to the people standing beside me.

Happy new year everyone!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Falling Down

Today was one of those days we all fear as parents. A day when one of our little ones gets hurt. It was a typical morning. We were running late because the girls were tired and dragging and wouldn't get in the car. We made it to school with a couple of minutes to spare, and were heading down with the masses toward String Bean's class, picking up speed, when Peanut fell down.

Peanut falls down a lot. She's a rough and tumble kid, unafraid of spills, and if she's moving, she's usually going full force. Well, she went full-force to the ground, face first. I picked her up, dusted her off, and saw blood. Lots and lots of blood, pouring out of her mouth. And a tooth, her top front tooth, at a very bad angle.

I scooped Peanut up, rushed toward String Bean's class, handed String Bean off to another mother, and raced back to the car with Peanut, shoving wadded towels into her bleeding mouth. We raced straight to the dentist. X-rays showed her tooth had broken off at the root, so it couldn't be saved. Luckily it was a baby tooth, and in being knocked out it hadn't damaged the adult tooth behind it. But Peanut just turned 5, and the adult tooth is nowhere near ready to come in. The dentist said it may take a year, possibly close to 2, before the adult tooth drops down to fill the hole. The teeth on either side were knocked loose, but not beyond hope. We have weeks ahead of a soft food diet and avoiding contact with those teeth, in the hopes that they will strengthen and stop wiggling, and wait firmly in place until the adult teeth behind them are ready to make an appearance.

Peanut was a champ the whole time. She cried pretty good when it first happened, but once we got to the dentist she was completely calm. She followed the dentist's instructions perfectly and even corrected him when he was trying to be silly with her. She was all business. When she was all cleaned up, they offered her a bounty of prizes for being so good. She insisted on taking two of each, so her big sister wouldn't feel left out.

We had a long day of trying to find something, anything, that she could eat without hurting. In the end a few sips of milkshake and some yogurt was all she could manage. She's got a scraped up face, a hugely swollen lip, cuts and bruises all around the inside of her mouth, and a cute gap where her tooth should be. But she's still my smiley girl who thinks it's super cool that she's one of the first kids in her kindergarten class to lose a tooth. And she's very excited about the tooth fairy coming.

In reality, all turned out fine. The scrapes and bruises will heal, the adult teeth will come in, and someday this will just be one of those family lore stories about what a tough kid she was. But for right now, this moment at the end of that long day, it's all I can do not to stand guard next to her bed and protect her from ever being hurt again. We're never ready to see our kids get hurt.