Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Shayne!

Well, the boy is 7 years old today, I can hardly believe it! The time really flies. Here are a few baby pictures.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Polar Express

On Thursday night we went north 190 miles to Williams, AZ to ride the Polar Express! The town is 6,000 feet up, so unlike Mesa, it actually feels like winter. The Grand Canyon Railroad has restored, antique train cars that are decorated like the Polar Express. The tickets were a gift from Rick's parents. We got to Williams at about 6:15 on Thursday, then checked into a hotel. After much anticipation, the train left a little after 8:00. On the way to the North Pole (about 45 minutes) they read The Polar Express and served hot chocolate and cookies. Once we arrived at the North Pole, a very authentic-looking Santa boarded the train and walked through each of the cars wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and giving each of the kids a silver jingle bell. Shayne and Maya were both very happy to see Santa. On the way back everyone sang Christmas songs.
The next morning we got to swim in the hotel's indoor pool which was another highlight. We got back home Friday afternoon. It was a great trip!

Dentists: Unsung Heros

Maya and I both had a tooth pulled recently, by excellent dentists. I had my top, right wisdom tooth pulled and Maya had her front baby tooth pulled.

Mine has needed to be pulled for awhile now, but I have been putting it off for a long time because about 12 years ago, I got my bottom wisdom teeth pulled and it was awful. It remains tied with 2 other things for the most painful thing that has ever happened to me (having kids are #s 4 and 5 by the way...) The teeth were impacted and still fully in the jawbone. I didn't have anything but local anaesthetic and the experience came complete with the sound and smell of sawing the teeth in parts, the cracking and prying the teeth out of my skull and my poor reaction to the pain medication afterward. That was the good part. Once the anaesthetic wore off, it literally felt like my mouth was on fire for about 6 hours. Not something I was eager to repeat. Anyway, long story short, it really needed to be done, so I made the appointment.

This time, I arrived at the dentist's office and was immediately called to the back where the dentist and hygienist were very reassuring. They numbed it up really well, then after 2 hard pulls, I was finished. From the time I walked in the door to the time I walked out the door 15minutes had passed. I took Advil the first day and never felt anything that I would describe as more than discomfort. Definitely ten times better than I thought it would be.

Maya knocked one of her front teeth on the tile in our living room about a year and a half ago. It got slightly grey. We took her to the dentist, who didn't get a very good look, but said it looked OK, but to continue to monitor it. He recommended that we go to a dentist that specialized in younger children. We know that to be code for "We don't treat patients like her."

Fast forward to a month ago... She was being really moody (even more so than normal, if you can imagine). One night when I was brushing her teeth, I noticed that above her injured tooth, on the gum line, she had an awful looking abscess. It looked very painful. The next morning at work, I asked around for a good pediatric dentist and got a name of someone a friend of mine had been very happy with. Now, those of you who know Maya can imagine that she is a rather "difficult" patient, to put it mildly. I imagine if the office were to rate all of its patients on a 1-10 scale, 1 being a delight to treat and 10 being very close to impossible to treat, she would score a 10 easily.

First we had to make an appointment for an exam. I was honest, "She may scream if we try to take her back in the room." "That's OK,we let them get comfortable first." "She probably won't sit in the chair". "A lot of them don't want to at first." It went on like that for a few minutes, and they seemed to think it would all be fine, so I made the appointment.

The exam was tough, but they let her and Rick hang out in the exam room until she calmed down a little (I was at work and knew I would have to take the day off for the actual procedure, so Rick braved this part alone). In spite of some resistance, they saw enough to know that the best course of action would be just to pull it, since it is a baby tooth and she is four and a half. We thought they would want to put her under, but the dentist said that it would only take seconds to pull, so they would just give her laughing gas to help her relax, then do it. So he gave us a prescription for antibiotics and we made the appointment for the tooth to be pulled a week later.

On the day of the appointment, she really didn't want to go in, even though we had talked about it a lot and played "dentist" at home. We didn't have to wait at all, and Maya really wasn't too upset until the hygienist showed her the thing that they were going to put on her nose to give her the laughing gas. She was crying and wouldn't get in the chair or even sit on my lap. The hygienist was looking at us as if to say, "I don't know what you expect me to do," which is perfectly understandable. I thought they were not going to be able to do it. A minute later, the dentist came in with two hygienists. He was like a coach during a huddle in a playoff game, "Here's the plan. We're going to lay her back and hold her down and give her a quick shot to numb the area, then we'll let her up again for a few minutes. Once the area is numb, we'll hold her down and take it out. That'll take less than a minute. Then, one of you can take her right to the car and one of you can check out." Before we started all that, he explained all of the post-op care to us. Then it happened just like he explained. It was tough holding her down like that when she was so scared, but it was either that or go through the risk and expense of general anesthesia or have an ongoing dental infection. We had her calmed down and in the car 5 minutes from the time he gave her the first shot.

Later that night, her dentist left a message on my cell phone to check in on us and make sure everything was alright. He gave me his cell phone number and said to call him if we had any questions or concerns. He couldn't have been nicer. I imagine most dentists wouldn't have touched that situation with a ten-foot pole, but it needed to be done desperately. She was in a lot of pain from it. After a few days, when her mouth felt much better, I think Maya understood that the dentist helped her. Now she still likes to play "dentist" and show her missing tooth.

It has been a few weeks and we both feel great. So, I am grateful to have had two potentially horrible dental situations turn out about as well as they could have because of two wonderful dentists.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Website of the Week

Another cool website for kids of all ages is It is a simple paint program that has 3 tools: paintbrush, paint can and text (so you can type a message on your painting). It has many different colors, an "undo" button and a "start over" button. You can also change the size and opacity of your brushstrokes. There is a "save and send" button, which would be fun if you wanted to email your kiddo's artwork to friends and family. One thing to be careful of is if you select "hang in gallery" the back button cannot be used without deleting the painting. I think this website would be fun for anyone who is old enough to control a mouse on up. Of course this is no substitute for the real thing, but it is a lot neater!