Thoughts on Taking a Toddler to the Dentist.

A couple months ago, I noticed something up with two of Mila’s teeth. I could’ve sworn they were cavities, but it didn’t make sense that she would have them so young. Or the fact I’m sort of crazy about making sure her teeth are brushed and she takes her fluoride supplement each day. I mean, don’t get me wrong… she drinks juice and has sweets every so often, but not enough to damage her teeth, right?

Since this summer, I’ve been keeping a closer eye on them and they haven’t gotten better.  I’ve honestly had sleepless nights researching what to do for her and how I could do better for her dental health. It’s been a sore subject for me and I know how silly that sounds. I do my best for Mila everyday and I’ve felt like I’ve failed her teeth.

So, last week, I decided to finally call and make an appointment with a dentist. FIRST OFF, it is difficult to find an office to take a child under two to get their teeth checked and potentially worked on. With determination, I did find someone. Thankfully, they were able to get Mila in almost immediately.

Then the anxiety hit.

I thought the dentist would think I was a bad parent. I thought Mila would scream the entire time. I thought they would have to pull her teeth as soon as we walked in. I thought the appointment would be anything but good.

Fast forward to the day of the appointment (Monday), I have to wake Mila up from her nap to get her to the appointment on time. Snow is falling and it’s way too cold for anyone to be going to the dentist. My mom, Mila, and I file our way into reception and they are greeted with a very grumpy toddler.

After checking in, Mila goes to explore her surroundings, but finds herself at a loss when she isn’t able to go in the back. For a little while, she just laid on the ground, protesting to cooperate. I can’t say I blame her as the minutes ticked by during our wait. Finally she gets distracted by the snow and eventually mama cuddles.

Once we’re called back, Mila decides to cheer up and let her happy presence be known to everyone she passes. When we get back to our little area, the anxiety for me starts to set in again. While Mila played with the dentist’s ‘toys,’ I just kept picturing having to pin her down while they pulled all her teeth.

Yes, my brain is so amazing at producing vivid images at the worst possible times. Thank you brain for giving me that beautiful gift.

While waiting, again, Mila discovers she can see inside the room beside us. She sees a family getting their teeth cleaned. At first, she thought she was just crashing on their nap, she soon discovered they were doing anything but going ‘night-night.’ The dentist tools whirled and made so many noises in the other person’s mouth. I wish I could have listened to Mila’s thoughts while watching this somewhat horrifying event for her, take place. The good news was, I didn’t need to hear her thoughts, I could just look at the pure confusion (and slight terror?) on her face. Her big, compassionate heart kept prompting to ask my mom and I if they were okay. I don’t think she believed us, at all.

She then made herself comfortable on ‘the chair.’ The dental assistant soon came and tried to brush Mila’s teeth. She was welcomed with a firm no. I was happy my girl could stand her ground, but terrified knowing what came next.

It all led up to this moment. Mila’s dentist came to check her teeth. She was somewhat intimidated by this man, but weirdly laid down to let him see her teeth. He had me lay her down across me and hold her arms. Her head was placed in his lap and as he tried to brush her teeth and put some kind of coating over them, she awkwardly laughed and I could tell how truly uncomfortable she was. Big crocodile tears fell from her eyes as she looked for me to help her. My heart broke, but I knew this was for her benefit.

As he finished cleaning her teeth and checking her our, she really did such an amazing job. Honestly, I was so proud of her. As a parent, it’s so hard to take your child to the doctor or dentist and not be able to explain why they’re getting a shot or why some random stranger is looking in their mouth. She did call him a meany multiple times after, so I guess she got her revenge too.

I know this is a long post, but this was a big day for her and I. Unfortunately, we found out Mila’s two teeth do need further assistance. Quite frankly, I didn’t know if I wanted to share this with all of you. I still feel like it’s somehow my fault, even after the dentist promised me that her teeth are just soft and prone to cavities. He even told me that he thought I was a great parent and to keep brushing her teeth to the best of my ability. But, Mila has to get caps on two of her teeth and will be under anesthesia for it.

I’m terrified.

This isn’t anyone’s ‘business’ besides Mila and I’s, but after making myself believe I’m a bad parent because she has two cavities and needs to get them fixed, I needed to share. If I think this, I know another person has had the same thoughts too. I just want them to know that you’re doing what you can and sometimes stuff just happens. Now I just have to make myself think that too.

The day didn’t end up in a negative place. Right after her appointment, we took her to Build-A-Bear for the first time ever. The pure joy of being able to make her own bear (dog) and pick it out an outfit made Mila’s world just right again.

I’ll never forget her holding her little dog in the middle of the store out from her and just screaming ‘yaaaaaaay!’ Her smile lit up the whole entire place and let me know everything’s going to be just fine.

Everyday motherhood teaches me something new and on this day, I learned that we have to be brave in situations that make us ultra uncomfortable. If this little toddler of mine can take on such a big day, not knowing what was going on, I can take on hard things too.

Mom Tip of the Week: Part 1

Do you have a little artist at home that likes to take their artwork off the paper? If you answered yes, this might just be the post for you.

Definitely said that in a cheesy infomercial voice, but in all reality, I have a tip for you guys. Lately Mila has been a coloring machine. I have notebooks full already and there’s always random papers with scribbles on them. To distract her from using crayons or markers on places I don’t want her to color, I showed her how our front door was a chalkboard. This worked for quite awhile, until she discovered more surfaces in the house.

This past week, my kitchen island has been the victim of Mila’s coloring.

So beautiful right… I mean anywhere besides my white island. At first, I grabbed a wipe and started scrubbing. It didn’t really work. I felt like I was getting a complete arm work out and it was still there.

Realizing I wasn’t getting anywhere with all my scrubbing… I had an idea.

Crayons are made of wax and when heated up, the crayon marks might wipe of a little easier…

AMAZING RIGHT?

I’m sure some of you have known this little trick, but if you don’t, it might help you in the future if your little Picasso takes their skills to walls or anywhere you want untouched.

It took less than five minutes to get everything wiped off after doing the little heat trick!

Hopefully it doesn’t turn into washable or even *gasp* permanent markers next. If it does and I figure a quick solution, I’ll keep you all updated. If you have one, comment below so I can prepare! I’m sure I’ll need it!

A Letter to the Man Who Helped Save Me.

Dear you, whose name I do not know:

Thank you is all I could say back to you, but I know you didn’t know the depth of those two words.

You helped save me from a twenty-four hours I don’t know how I survived. From a night filled with panic attacks to a little girl who wasn’t feeling her best, I was burnt out. Motherhood, although amazing and all these other great adjectives, can be draining. Days like yesterday was one of them.

So when you saw Mila walk in the store with her princess cup and train themed bear that she just had to take in, you saw it as me being a good mom. I saw it as just giving into a headstrong toddler, maybe a smidge of defeat. When you patiently waited for me to put her in the cart as she pointed to what seemed like every toy in the aisle (love the store in town, but why is the toy aisle the first one you see when you walk in?), I tried to calm down enough to slip her feet through the holes so you could put your cart back in. When I got her in you said it. The sentence that helped turn my entire day around…

You and all mothers just amaze me. 

I sighed in relief first because my anxiety told me it was taking forever to get Mila situated while you waited for me. My head had been playing games with me all day, but you kept going.

I don’t know how you mothers do it, but I’m glad you’re in the world. She looks like a happy girl, so you’re doing a good job. 

Thank you is all I could say. In reality, I could have cried because that’s all I needed to hear. Your kind words saved me. They helped me realize I’m doing the best I can do.

I hope one day I can run into you again and let you know how much your kind words meant to me.

Sincerely,

A mama who’s doing her best.

Mom Fail: Christmas Edition

Lately I’ve seen this image going around…

Not only do I appreciate everything my mom did for my brother and I growing up around this time and everyday, trying to make that magic happen for Mila has been exhausting but so worth it.

To keep the Christmas magic rolling, Mila, my mom, and I all made cookies. Every time we make cookies I have it in my head that they’ll be beautiful, Pinterest-worthy creations. We’re not the best at cookies, but I was feeling confident. Mostly because we bought pre-made cookie dough!

Mila was so into looking at the different shaped cookie cutters and even snuck a bite of cookie dough. She seemed pretty proud of that. We only cut a dozen or so cookies, which was plenty because she was ready to watch movies instead.

While they baked, I made hot chocolate and Mila ran my mom and dad around my house. Laughter and smiles filled the house. It started to smell like fresh baked cookies too. My confidence was skyrocketing.

When mom pulled the cookies out of the oven though, all I could do was laugh.

Our nicely cut out shapes, turned into blobs you could hardly make out what they were intended to be. One pan of cookies wasn’t even baked all the way. More laughter. I definitely wasn’t going to have the Pinterest worthy plate of cookies for Santa.

The thickest candy cane I’ve ever seen.

We totally failed at making beautiful cookies, but we didn’t on the memory front. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

Anyways, I don’t think Santa will mind our Thiccmas cookies one bit.

Weird Things My Toddler Does: Part Two

Let’s admit it, toddlers a weird. Mine is no exception.

Like all kids, Mila goes through food stages. The flavor of this month: sliced salami. She eats it for lunch everyday with a slice of cheese and maybe some grapes. Sort of an odd choice of fav food, but that’s not the weird part about her latest obsession… she has to put it on her foot before she eats it.

Yeah, weird and gross. I literally watched her eat for twenty minutes today, while Frozen was playing for the thousandth time (another obsession lately). Every piece she laid on her toes and played with it before she got a nice, footy bite.

Notice how her other toes are glistening. I don’t know about you, but not a lot of people can say their feet smell like salami. At least she’s eating something, right?

I guess I’ll pick my battles with Mila, like her favorite girl Elsa says, I’ll let it go. But not before I share it with the internet.

What weird thing will Mila do next?

Christmas Bucket List 2019

Let’s just take a moment to celebrate the fact I’m finally done with this semester of school! The last few weeks to two months, I’ve been writing nonstop trying to get everything done. It’s been one of the hardest semesters, but I made it! If I’ve learned anything throughout my life, it’s been that I can get through anything.

Usually, I have all my Christmas stuff up Thanksgiving weekend. Even with all my pain the year Jensen was born, I still decorated my house before December started.

This year, well… it eventually got done.

Since I’ve loved doing bucket lists for Mila and I the last two seasons, I thought it’d be a lot of fun to make a Christmas-specific one. There’s a ton I want to share on here of what’s been happening, but I thought it’d be nice to share our Christmas season goals with you all. In case you’d like to do some of them too.

We have a busy few weeks ahead of us, but I can’t wait to make this Christmas special for our family.

And yes, we’re going to Aruba! If you’ve been there, I’m all for tips and tricks for taking Mila on a plane, out of the country, and to a resort!

This week, I’d love to make a post about how I include Jensen in our holiday traditions. Almost all of these items on the bucket list, he’s present and since it’s the fourth without him here, I’ve found ways to help have him close.

As always, please feel free to share any traditions you do with your family that might be fun for others.

One of our family Christmas pictures by Stein Creative Co.

Dear Jensen,

I’ve really slacked this year.

There was a time I wrote a letter to you every night. They were what I depended on – for so long. It felt like my one connection to you. Sometimes I felt like I didn’t write my day or thoughts down, then you wouldn’t know what was happening. When Mila came and I didn’t have a moment to write to you everyday, I felt broken. Like such a failure, but I started to realize… you were with us, always.

My ‘slacking’ hasn’t just been with your letters, it’s been with writing in general. ESPECIALLY for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I used to post and write every.single.day but this year has been so different with what life has in store. Maybe next year will be another story.

As the days, weeks, months, years have passed, there have been constants. I miss you every single day. Sometimes I just find myself wondering what color your eyes were and how you would be with Mila. When I get overwhelmed with her antics, I think of how much I wanted them with you to settle myself. That’s another constant, picturing you. Always. The longing and wondering can hurt, but they bring me comfort too. Most of all, my biggest constant is loving you.

I’ll never be able to accurately describe my love for you. It’s different form loving Mila or family or anyone really. There’s so many levels. The memories. The loss. The remembering. The surviving. The… you. Through it all, you affect every aspect of me and how I handle situations I find myself in. It’s sort of insane how one baby, one son, the one you have changed my life, forever. And all of it’s centered from the love I have for you.

Thank you for choosing me to be your mom. I couldn’t imagine my life without the time I spent with you. Thank you for making me a better person. Thank you for showing me how deeply I can love. Thank you for helping teach me how to hold on to the good moment and breathe through the bad.

I promise to keep doing the best I can do, while holding you in my heart everyday. I wish I could’ve had more time with you. I wish I could see your eyes looking into mine and feel your hand holding mine.

You are one of my favorite parts of myself and I’m so proud to call you my son.

I love you so much.

Your mama.

Family Portrait – Capture Your Grief

This is my family: Mila, Jensen, and I.

Our family portraits will never look ‘normal,’ but they’re perfect to me. They’re still full of love and an actual representation of who we are as a family.

Story time.

I was being brave today. This whole month I’ve felt exhausted. In the middle of potty training Max AND Mila (yes, I will post those adventures soon), doing school work, and trying to get back in the swing of subbing, plus everything else, I found myself neglecting what actually means a lot to me… Capture Your Grief. Every October I’ve done my best with it and this one, I just have been doing what I can do.

When I saw today’s prompt, I told myself I was 100% participating and going to get a picture of us. I picked out Mila and I’s outfit and Jensen’s bow. We grabbed our fall stuff and a big blanket to take outside. For like 15 minutes, I was in the backyard finding the perfect spot while rigging a stand up for my phone to sit…

I wanted it to be perfect with a fall background and all of us looking in the camera. Let’s just say… that didn’t happen.

Toddler’s aren’t the best at taking direction and Max wouldn’t sit still and Mila kept taking Jensen’s bow off and it seemed impossible to run back and get us all set up in time in a matter of ten seconds.

Did I feel a little defeated? Yes. But, I looked at Mila and held Jensen bear close to me and realized the most important people in my life didn’t care about a picture. They cared about me and know I’m doing my best. I let grief and stress and feeling like a bad mom get the best of me. It happens to all of us and that’s okay.

After my moment, I squeezed Jensen bear again and got Mila to come sit with us. I was going to get this picture no matter what and what’s wrong with a selfie?

This is our life. It’s three and a half years of grieving and a year and a half of parenting after loss. It’s one full of love and craziness. One that the only thing I’d change is having Jensen physically here with us.

I love our little family portrait today. My littles are in my arms and close to my heart. I’m smiling and everything is going to be just okay.

Kisses for Jensen.

Mom Fail: Escape Edition.

This is Mila and Max.

Separated, they’re both so adorable. Together, even cuter, but mischievous. Fortunately they get along GREAT, which leads them to having a lot of adventures together. Some not completely okay’d with me.

As with many of Mila’s adventures, I wanted to share her latest way she almost gave me a heart attack. After breakfast a few mornings ago, Mila and Max were playing inside of his kennel, so I decided to go do some laundry. Mila was in just a diaper and I was still in my pajamas. It was a quiet morning and while I was throwing clothes in the dryer, I sort of realized how eerily silent it was. Usually when they play, they’re making some sort of sound or Mila is giggling so loud.

I finished up what I was doing and took my time getting back to check on them. It was sort of weird when they didn’t run back to see what I was doing, but I didn’t think anything of it. When I walked back to the living room and didn’t hear them, I started to worry a little. Then I walked to where Max’s kennel is… they weren’t in there. Even worse, the baby gate AND the back door was open.

Insert panic here.

Everything inside of me was hoping they were outback playing. We’re outside a lot so it would make since they were just there, but the backyard was empty. I took off to the front of the house and looked down the alley.

There they were.

Mila was running down the street in just her diaper after Max. They were about halfway up the road. I yelled for them which only just caused Mila to laugh and run faster. Thankfully we live in a small town and on a quiet street. Still, I took off running, barefoot with my back foot still wide open after them.

I caught up to Mila who looked happy as could be. She informed me she was going to ‘Gigi,’ which is what she calls my mom. My parents live around the block and we walk there almost everyday. They know their way and she pointed to the house.

Max kept running. I guess he knows where to go too. We had to look so silly. A toddler and puppy running down the street with the crazy mom catching them minutes later. Mila and I finally caught up to Max when we got to my parents house…

He looked mighty proud of himself for getting where he needed to be and waiting on us too.

Life with Mila (and Max) is always an adventure, supervised or not. The next adventure I’ll be taking on is making sure the back door is always locked.

Caught in the act… when they try to ‘escape’ the neighbors backyard is where they usually end up.

Our Family is Growing…

On Friday I turned twenty-six and the weekend has been action packed. Before sharing all of that, I have something especially important to tell you guys. On top of getting another year older, my family has expanded by four paws.

Everyone, meet Max! He’s an Old English Yellow Lab. He’s super good with Mila and follows her around. Comes and gives me kisses when I pat on the ground. Last night he did amazing in his crate, but was super happy when it was time to start the day. Potty training a puppy and starting to notice Mila being ready to start is going to be a challenge, but I’m happy with our little family.

Max and Mila already love playing together. I can’t wait to see how they grow up and become closer. For now, I’m soaking up every moment… even through all the madness.

And hey, it’s National Dog Day to boot. A perfect way to celebrate the second day with our new pup.