Monday, August 31, 2015

To My Daughter's Teacher On the First Day Of School

Thank you.

I just dropped my daughter off for her first day of Kindergarten, and you couldn't have been more wonderful.  You caught her eye from across the playground and immediately waved.  You greeted her by name, and with a warm smile, and you were totally okay (encouraging, even) with me hanging around for awhile before actually leaving her.  You looked me in the eye, smiled and greeted me happily, and pretended not to notice when I started tearing up while introducing myself.  {Thank you for that}.  Bailey was the first of your students to arrive, and you chatted with her for a little while before the other kids began showing up, asking her about her missing tooth, and telling her how much you liked her dress.  As other kids began to arrive, I watched you smile and greet them, and comfort the few who were a little hesitant and crying.  Bailey was so excited for her first day of school and so ready to get started.  I felt good about leaving her with you.  I'm confident that you know what you're doing.  I'm confident that my daughter is going to have a wonderful time in your class this year.  I can't wait for you to get to know her (and your other students) better as the year progresses.

But there are things that I won't tell you.

I won't tell you that I cried as soon as I was out of sight of Bailey this morning.  And while packing her lunch and laying out her clothes last night.  I won't tell you that, while I have every confidence in you and your abilities, I'm terrified to be leaving my baby with you {a virtual stranger right now} for 7 hours each day.  You see, from the day she was born, Bailey has been home with me.  I quit my job to be with her, and she's been my number one focus for the last 5 years.  I mean, she was only born just yesterday {or so it feels}.

I won't tell you how empty the house feels without her here right now.  She's my little buddy, and she's always right here with me, asking to help with the daycare kids or trying to finagle her way out of a nap.  I won't tell you that twice now I've turned to tell her something, only to feel a bit of crushing sadness when I remembered that she was at school.  I won't tell you that her brother is missing her something fierce right now.

I won't tell you that I'm jealous of you for getting to spend the day with her.  I'm jealous that you'll get to watch her make and interact with new friends, play on the playground, see her eyes light up when she creates something in art class that she thinks is just awesome {by the way, she's discovered clouds and adds them into every single drawing she does these days}.  I'm jealous that she'll be seeking you out for comfort, for help, for praise instead of me.  I'm jealous that she'll be coming home with stories about all the fun things she did during the day, and I'll have to smile and tell her how happy I am for her, while secretly being miserable that I couldn't be there to witness it, too.

I will tell you that you're so lucky to have her in your class.  To get to know her as she grows this year.  She's such an amazing kid, and I'm so proud of her.  I hope you will be, too.  I can't wait for you to get to know her little personality and her goofy sense of humor.  I hope you see her for the incredible little person that she is, and I hope you continue to foster and encourage her love of learning.  I hope that you'll be patient with her as she learns, and I hope that you'll be stern but loving when she needs a little discipline.

I've prepared her as best I can for school, and Bailey is so proud to be a Kindergartener.  Please love her, care for her, be there for her when I can't.  This first day of school is a huge step, for both her and for me.  When I hand her off to you in the morning, I'm placing all of my hope and all of my confidence in you.  I'm leaving you my most precious possession and, in return, I'm getting a "break" that I don't necessarily want.  It took everything in me to actually walk away and leave her {albeit smiling and happy} this morning.  Please understand what a big deal that was.

I'm passing the torch along to you now, so to speak.  Please keep the flame burning.  

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Diagnosis FSHD

It's been a busy couple of weeks.  Right after vacation, I took of 2.5 days of work to go down to Johns Hopkins with my mom as part of a clinical research study.  After years and years of mis-diagnoses and incorrect diagnoses, she finally got a definitive diagnosis of Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy {FSHD).  So, she and I went to Maryland as the "affected" and "non-affected" family members, and gave them blood samples and had a muscle biopsy done.  All in all, we were gone for 3 days...the longest I've ever been away from either of the kids.  And, as nice as it was to have the break, I missed the hell out of them.

Night one, Bailey called me in tears.  She missed me, she couldn't sleep, she wanted to know when I would be home.  It was rough.  Before I left, she gave me her t-ball trophy from this past season and told me to take it with me "to remember her".  So, as soon as I got to my hotel room the first thing I did was unpack that trophy and put it on the shelf across from my bed.

Our first day was a breeze.  We had to be at the hospital around 9ish, so we met for breakfast early, I filled up on coffee, and we headed the few blocks over.  After a physical, I gave 12 tubes of blood, and then my job for the day was done.  Easy peasy.  My mom took a little longer because she had more tests to do, but we were out of there around lunch time...just in time to walk around Baltimore a bit, grab some lunch, and stock up on little trinkets for the kids.

This bad boy was 45oz. of margarita deliciousness...and I downed the entire thing.  For lunch.

Day 2 was a little bit harder.  Mom and I were due at Johns Hopkins at 12:30 to check in for our biopsies.  We checked in, they gowned us up,...and then we waited.  For hours.  

I was awake during the procedure, and it was both fascinating and excruciating.  I had to lie down on a table in the OR and my legs, torso, chest, and arms were all strapped to the table so I didn't "try to help with the procedure".  My bicep was prepped and then a sheet was propped up on my chest so that I couldn't see what was happening (smart thinking, doc.  VERY smart thinking).  The surgeon injected a decent amount of lidocaine and got to work.

The procedure itself wasn't awful.  The sounds of the metal surgical instruments clanking together, the snipping of the "scissors" as my muscle was cut and removed, the feeling of blood trickling down the part of my arm that wasn't numb from local anesthetic, the thought of what was actually going on behind that blue sheet...those things messed with my mind in a way that was both cool and overwhelming.  I had fabulous doctors and nurses in the room with me, and they did their best to talk to me and distract me from what was going on but it was hard not to focus on the procedure.  I could feel my arm being tugged and kept picturing the muscles in my body the way they'd been shown to us in high school science text books.  At one point, my muscle tensed (I'd been warned the day before that this might happen)...while my arm was cut open and the muscle was being cut.  The pain lasted for about 5 seconds but it was the longest 5 seconds of my life.  It was so surprising and painful that my entire body responded, jerking once quickly and breaking into a cold sweat.  Once the muscle relaxed, it was smooth sailing again, aside from the tugging and cutting.  The procedure took a little less than an hour, and left a scar that's a little longer than an inch long on the inside of my arm.

My arm was pretty sore for the next few days, but it's getting better and we're coming up on the end of the 14 day waiting period (I can finally keep the bandage off and the stitches should dissolve quickly).  Plus, we treated ourselves to some of this amazing-ness:

Overall, it was a good experience.  I missed the hell out of Scott and the kids {and I'll admit I'm a little nervous to get the results from my genetic test back} but I feel good that I "helped" in some small way.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Vacation 2015

Another vacation has come and gone (and things have been so busy that I'm only just now sitting down to write a post about a trip that happened two weeks ago).

As always, we spent a week in Ocean City, NJ and it was nice to get away for a few days.  Since having kids, vacations aren't as relaxing as they used to be, but it's still nice to wake up next to the ocean and not have to go to work, you know?  The sleeping arrangement definitely wasn't ideal-- the 4 of us in a room with only one queen-sized bed made for some interesting and uncomfortable nights, but who am I to complain?

We had a beautiful week and the kids had a blast.  Ice cream every night, rides on the boardwalk most evenings, staying up WAY past their bedtime...what more could a kid want?

This is how he went on every ride...even the slow ones

Even daddy got in on the fun

Bailey was a total beach babe this year.  She loved the water, loved the sand, loved building castles and finding sea shells.

Gerry was decidedly not a fan of the beach.  He was cool with the sand and he seemed to enjoy being in the water, but he did not like the sand touching him after he'd gotten wet.

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Friday, July 10, 2015

I Refuse To Stress About Kindergarten Assessments

Bailey starts Kindergarten in just a couple of weeks and, up until a few days ago, I was seriously stressing about it.  Completely ignoring the fact that come September I'll be sending my firstborn off to school when I've never sent her anywhere away from family before and I don't know what I'm going to do with myself because I won't be spending my entire day with her I like have since the day she was born and I'm almost positive that I'm way more deeply affected and saddened by this than she will ever be, I've been stressing.  Reading our district web page and trying to absorb any and all information that they have available for parents of Kindergarteners, I came across the phrase "kindergarten assessment".  So I dug out the Getting Ready For School Handbook that they gave us when we registered her a few months ago (the handbook that I, in my infinite state of denial, have refused to read up until now) and I searched Kindergarten readiness online.  In our school district, kids entering Kindergarten are tested in August using these assessments.  Based on their scores, each child is placed into either half-day or full-day Kindergarten.  Wait.

These kids are being tested before they even start school? 

So I started doing more research on these "Readiness Assessments".  Basically, I fell down a rabbit hole and, 2 hours later, I had myself worked up into a tizzy and convinced that my kid is in no way ready for Kindergarten and will therefore struggle all of her life and that it's 100% all my fault.  I went to bed that night downright distraught and feeling guilty that we hadn't put her in a formal preschool and had instead chosen to keep her at home with me teaching her the basics of preschool.

I woke up the next morning still feeling stressed about it.  Determined to start drilling more educational info into Bailey's head in an effort to ensure she wasn't behind the other kids her age.  I busted out old textbooks and lesson plan books from when I used to teach preschool, and I was so ready to sit her down at the kitchen table and have her get to work.  And then I overheard this simple, sweet exchange between her and her brother:

Gerry: (teasing) "Bailey, I got you juice...I got you juice!"
Bailey:  "That's okay, Gerry, you can have it.  Are you thirsty, buddy?"
G:  "Yeah."
B:  "Then drink some of my juice, it's okay.  Go on.  You can have it."

She watched him drink her juice, completely oblivious to the fact that he had his very own, very full cup sitting just a few inches away at the table.  When he finished her cup and dribbled a bit of juice down his chin, she laughed.

B: "You're so silly, Gerry.  I love you."
G:  "I love you, too, Bailey."

And, just like that, I wasn't stressed about how she would do in Kindergarten anymore.  Because, with all my worrying, I had completely forgotten to take a step back and look at the big picture.  Sure, there are things she'll need to know before she goes to school.  Things like writing her name {which I'm proud to say she can do on her own}, being able to state her address and phone number {she can tell you what street we live on and in what town, but the phone number is a total mystery to her}, her full name {she used to insist that people called her by her full name, so she's got that one down}, how to spell her name {she somehow always forgets to say the E in there}, being able to dress herself without assistance {got that one down, too}, and recognizing the letters of the alphabet {she can recognize the letters in her name--that's about it}.

There's a whole checklist of things that our kids are expected to be able to do before going into Kindergarten and if you're not careful you could end up getting sucked into the whole "OMG, look at all these things my kid is supposed to do, he/she will never be ready for school and will end up on the streets..." like I did.

Don't stress.

Don't stress yourself out.  Don't stress your kid out.  There will be years and years to come where you can both {or maybe just you} stress and worry about your kids' academic life.  Don't do it now when they're still so sweet and innocent and little.  Let them be little.  Because there are so many amazing qualities in your kids that aren't going to show up on any readiness assessment.  And those are the things that you should be focusing on and fostering in your kids when they're this age.  Not the rigorous, crazy academics of whether they can write their full name in cursive and count to 100 before entering Kindergarten (yes, I'm slightly exaggerating).  Because these assessments that I got myself so worked up over won't tell me anything about who my kid is.

They don't measure how incredibly kind she can be.  I'll never forget the story my mom told me about the day she and my dad took the grandkids to Chuck E. Cheese.  At certain points throughout the day, Chuck E. comes out and leads the kids in a dance at the front of the play area and, afterward, an employee tosses a bunch of tickets out for the kids.  It's basically a free-for-all with all of the kids scrambling to grab up as many tickets as they can.  On this particular day, Bailey had grabbed a bunch of tickets for herself.  She noticed that there was a little girl who hadn't gotten any tickets and was just standing there in the crowd of kids, presumably overwhelmed.  Tickets = prizes, and any kid her age (she was 4 at the time) would have grabbed those tickets and run with them.  But Bailey saw that this little girl didn't have any and, without any prompting, she walked over and gave her tickets to that little girl.  Without a second thought and without expecting anything in return.  To her, every experience is a chance to make new friends and I often watch her walk over to another child and say, "Hi, I'm Bailey.  Want to play?"

They don't measure how much she cares about the people around her.  It doesn't always seem like it, but Bailey is pretty empathetic when it comes to others, especially if she feels like she hurt someone or made someone feel bad.  If she and Gerry are goofing around and he ends up getting hurt and crying, 9 times out of 10 she will cry, too, simply because she was playing with him when he got hurt and is afraid that she is the reason why he's hurt and crying.  She'll be in tears long after he's gotten over it and run off to get into more trouble on his own.  She asks me if something she said to someone made her "a bully" and if I tell her that what she said wasn't very nice she apologizes immediately and without prompting.  She's quick to comfort someone when they're sad, and she's affected on an emotional level that {I think} is above that of a newly-turned 5 year old.

They don't measure her sense of humor.  This girl cracks herself up regularly.  She finds the goofiest things hilarious, and she's working on perfecting the art of the knock-knock joke these days.  She's quick to smile and she loves to laugh.  She'll sings along to every song on the radio and at any given moment you can find her dancing around to some tune playing in her head.

They don't measure her ability to play.  In the grand scheme of things, "play" might be at the bottom of the list as far as academics go.  But as a mother, play is pretty much number one on my list.  Because there are so many things we can learn from our kids just by playing with them and watching them play on their own or with friends.  For instance, Bailey is pretty good at throwing and catching a (large) ball.  She's imaginative, and she creates these worlds and scenarios with her baby dolls and her Barbie dolls, and some of the things she comes up with in her play just astound me.  She's busted out the dress-up clothes and been a doctor, a baker, a dancer, a teenager, a princess.  She takes out her dolls and a pack of wipes and a diaper, and she's the most caring mother I've ever seen.  Yesterday, her Barbie and Ken dolls went swimming with their friends (in a giant bowl filled with water in our kitchen) and then all of their kids got together and had a sleep-over at Barbie's house.  Ten minutes later, the Barbies had been put away and her baby doll, whom she's named Sparkles, was heading to the doctor's office for an appointment.  While her baby got shots, Bailey held her close and softly crooned in her ear "It's okay, baby.  Mommy's here.  It will all be done in a minute."

They don't measure her level of creativity.  Coloring is one of Bailey's favorite things to do.  Give her paper and crayons, and she'll be occupied and happy for quite awhile.  Her favorite thing to draw these days is people, and she pays close attention to detail.  Mommy gets long hair.  Daddy and Gerry both get short hair.  Pop Pop gets no hair on the top of his head and just a little bit on the sides.  She's into painting and writing/drawing on our whiteboard-chalkboard, and she writes her name on each of her creations so we know who made them.  Her creativity doesn't stop there.  She's downright obsessed with nail polish and makeup, and one of her favorite things to do is to try new looks {something we'll probably need to tamp down a bit when she goes off to school}.  She's come up with some serious makeup combos and she has a blast with it.

Look at her, already perfecting the art of coloring in her brows.  ;-)

They don't measure her decisiveness.  From the day she was born, Bailey has always easily made up her mind.  She doesn't waffle, she doesn't struggle with internal debates, she doesn't make decisions based on what other people will think.  She knows what she wants and she's not afraid to go for it.  It's one of the things I admire most about her.

They don't measure her negotiation skills.  And this girl has got some serious skill in this department.  Bailey sees just about every situation as an opportunity to turn things the way she wants them to be.  Mom says I can only have 2 scoops of ice cream before bed?  I'll shoot for 5 and settle for 3.  Dad says no McDonald's for dinner?  I'll talk him into Chick-fil-A instead.  It's bedtime, but my favorite show is about to come on?  Let's start the negotiations for a later bedtime tonight!  I love that Bailey questions authority and I love that she attempts to make certain situations go her way, even if she knows that ultimately they're not going to.  I hope that's a quality that she never loses.

They don't measure her bravery.  My girl is afraid of a lot of things.  Bugs...sleeping alone...sleeping at other people's houses...swimming...certain social situations that involve her talking to groups of people.  All these fears, and yet she's so damn brave.  She's started sleeping over at my parents' house again every other Thursday night, and she has a blast when she's there.  Just this summer, she's started to venture further into the pool instead of clinging to the wall and/or stairs.  She's starting to do things that she used to be too afraid to try, and I'm so proud of her for it.  She takes a deep breath and gives herself a pep talk {which is hilarious to actually hear} "Whew, okay, Bailey.  You can do this.  It's gonna be okay.  Just calm down.  You can do it."  And then she does.

They don't measure her desire to learn.  Bailey loves learning new things.  She wants to learn new things, and she's so proud of herself when she does.  She likes to be independent and to "do it myself", and I so admire that about her.  She started drawing actual people with facial features and hair instead of just blobs all on her own more than a year ago.  She loves to play "I Spy" and "What Letter Makes the Sound __?" in the car.  She asks me to write down certain words so she can copy them.  It took her a little over a week to learn how to write her name without help, and the day she finally did was one of her proudest.  She's constantly asking questions about how things work and why certain things happen the way they do.  Her curiosity and her desire to learn new things are only going to grow bigger and brighter as she gets older.

I can't believe I let myself get so worked up over these stupid assessments.  They mean nothing.  And if Bailey does "poorly" on them {which I don't think she will at all} that doesn't mean anything to me either.  Because I know she's smart and she's good and she's kind and sweet and she cares about other people, and that's so much more important to me than her scoring well on an exam or assessment, especially one given before any learning even starts.  She's an incredible kid, my Bailey, and she's only go to keep getting more incredible.  So, bring it, Kindergarten.

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Happy Birthday, Bailey!

Bailey is five years old today.

How did 5 years go by so quickly?  I say this all the time, but I can still so vividly remember the day she was born...the excitement, the anticipation, the fear.  I remember her first night home.  How exhausted we all were and how I went to sleep still in awe of the fact that, not only did I have a baby, but that by some miracle I was actually allowed to keep her.  Her whole life flashes by on a constant reel in my head.  Her first steps.  First word.  Temper tantrums.  Boo boos.  Smiles.  Breathing in her sweet little girl smell when she hugs me.  Hearing her say "I love you".  I blinked, and she grew from my teeny little baby to a beautiful, sweet big girl.  Just like that.

Bailey, a few hours old

She starts Kindergarten in 2 months.  I can't even think about that right now.  

Her favorite color is still pink.  

She's obsessed with babies and is constantly asking Scott and me when she's going to have a baby sister.

She loves to wear dresses and makeup, and her current favorite toy is anything Monster High.  

She has a wicked sweet tooth, and Sour Patch Kids are her go-to candy these days.  

She has a crush on her friend Max, and she talks about marrying him way too often.  

She hates to wear pajamas and will happily sleep in the same days' clothes over and over again if we let her. 

She's too smart for her own good.  She loves to play in the pool, but prefers to stay close to the wall/stairs in the shallow end.

Singing and dancing are two of her most favorite things.

Her cousins are her best friends.

She has an innate sweetness in her that I am so incredibly proud of.

She has a hard time falling asleep if I'm not right there next to her.

Mint chocolate chip is her favorite flavor of ice cream.

She loves just about all vegetables, and especially carrots and lima beans.

She can work a cell phone or a DVD player than most adults I know.

She's been testing her limits with attitude lately and she often forgets that she's not a teenager.  "Whatevs" is one of her new favorite phrases.  As is "holla!"

She has an incredible imagination, and she's so very accepting of people. 

She's super dramatic. 

She loves to help.  Even when her "help" makes the task take ten times longer than normal.

Her reasoning and negotiation skills rival that of any lawyer you'll meet.

She sees every day and every outing as another opportunity to make friends.

She is the best thing I've ever been a part of, and I'm proud of her every day.

She's entering her fifth year and I can't wait to see what this year has in store for her and for us.  I hope that she continues to grow into the sweet and accepting person that she's already becoming.  I hope that her days are filled with more happiness and laughter than sadness and tears.  I hope that she never stops seeing each day as a new opportunity.  I hope she still finds wonder and accomplishment in the things she does.  I hope that she never loses her empathetic nature and that she continues to build on it.  I hope she's a leader.  I hope she's confident.  I hope she's loving and loved.

I'm so in awe of my girl and of the person she's growing into, and she's brought me so much happiness these past 5 years.

Happy birthday, Bailey!

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Review: Carefree VoxBox

I was lucky enough to receive another **VoxBox from Influenster {thank you, Influenster!} and I'm ready to review it!  This VoxBox was all about Carefree Panty Liners, so if you're a guy {or a girl who isn't comfortable reading about "parts"} you've been warned...

I took the #FreshIsFierce 30 day challenge and wore a liner every day for 30 days.  Normally, I'm not a liner kinda girl, but see?  I sacrifice in the name of a good and honest review.  You're welcome.  Moving on...

I actually liked these liners.  So much that I went out and bought a second pack after I'd used the 20 that came in my free VoxBox pack.  I really liked that it felt like I was wearing pretty much nothing.  Back when I had first gotten my period, I was a staunch pad-wearer, and I hated them with a fiery passion.  They were uncomfortable, they shifted, they felt like I was wearing an oversized mattress, and I just felt gross for the 5-7 days of the month that I had to wear them.  And, honestly, ladies.  Who likes feeling gross and "not fresh", especially when it's "that time of the month"?  I was expecting a similar feeling from the Carefree Liners, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn't mind wearing them.

I love how small they are.   The easily fit into every bag I used and, on the few occasions when I actually went somewhere without a diaper bag or purse, the liners fit easily into my pocket.  So, for those of you who aren't 100% comfortable walking around with feminine products, these are discreet and awesome in that regard.  

Not my photo

I also liked their ease of use.  It really was as simple as opening the packet and slapping the liner muss, no fuss, no slipping and sliding.  The motto of this campaign was Fresh Is Fierce, and I have to say that these liners lived up to that.  They got the job done, they're inexpensive, and you can find them just about anywhere.  Like I said, I'm not a liner-wearer, but I'll definitely be using these in the future.  So, for those of you who like to stay fresh on any given day, head out and get yourself a pack today!

**I received these products free from Influenster for testing purposes.  This review is my own honest opinion.**

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Friday, April 3, 2015

The Tooth Fairy Visited Bailey

Poor Bailey has not won the dental genetics lottery.  She brushes her teeth without a fight every day.  She did great when we took her to the dentist and sat up in that chair like she owned the place.  But, still, she had a bunch of cavities.  So many, in fact, that we took our dentist's advice and opted to have her put under general anesthesia to have all the work done, rather than forcing her to endure several separate procedures in the dentist's office {side note: did you know they fill kids' cavities just like adults'?!  Like, with needles and everything?  Can you imagine how terrifying that must be to a little kid?}

So we set up an appointment for her at St. Christopher's Hospital to get (a ridiculous amount of) cavities filled and a few caps placed.  We had to be at the hospital at 8:30am on March 20th and of course it was snowing because why not, right?  Bailey wasn't allowed anything to eat after midnight the night before and nothing to drink after 6am, so it makes total sense that when I woke her up and hustled her out the door at 7:15 the first thing she asked was "What are we having for breakfast?"  The whole ride to the hospital, she kept telling me she was nervous and I kept trying to reassure her, "You'll do great.  Remember?  They're just going to give you some juice to help you go to sleep and when you wake up your teeth will be all fixed and beautiful!"

We made it to the Short Procedure Unit 5 minutes ahead of schedule (whaaat?  I'm never early!) so Bailey had a few minutes to play with toys while I checked her in and we waited to be called back.

She was cool until they opened the door and called her name.  Then she got all clingy and nervous again.  The nurses and staff that we met with were all wonderful, though, and put her as much at ease as possible.  We got her into hospital "jammies", took out her earrings, and they gave her a coloring book and crayons to keep her occupied while we waited for the anesthesiologist to come by with her "sleep juice".  Seeing her in those little green hospital-issued clothes did me in.  She was angry because they were green and not pink, and I was {internally} freaking out and second-guessing sending my baby to be "put under" in a hospital.

The anesthesiologist came in a few minutes later and gave her the "juice" that would help her relax and fall asleep.  She snuggled up in my lap with one of her favorite blankets from home, drank the juice, and we waited.  And waited...and waited.  It was supposed to kick in within minutes and make her super sleepy and calm.  20 minutes later, she was still wide awake and watching tv in the hospital bed.  She had sort of calmed down a bit, to the point where I could actually lay her in the bed and hold her hand rather than having her sitting in my lap, but she definitely wasn't sleepy.  The docs came back eventually, told me to give her one more kiss and say goodbye, and then they wheeled her to the OR.  She was scared.  I could tell by the look in her eyes and by how tightly she squeezed my hand before they wheeled her back, but she was so brave.  I told her I loved her and to dream about princesses and ice cream and she said, "I will.  I love you, mommy", and then she was gone.  And I had much more time to kill than I'd expected.  I hit up a coffee kiosk and the gift shop, and then waited almost 4 hours for her procedure to be over and for me to be able to see her in Recovery.  I don't know why, but I kept thinking of this as just another "no big deal" thing.  Oh, she'll go to sleep, get some cavities filled and caps placed, she'll wake up all happy, and we'll be home in time to watch her favorite afternoon tv shows.  Sooooo not the case.

I heard her name announced over the walkie talkie, and a security guard walked me back to the Recovery Room to see her.  Before the double doors had even opened, I could hear her crying.  I'd expected to go back and find her sleeping or quietly coming out of anesthesia.  Instead, she was crying and trying to climb out of the bed.  The nurse apologized and said that Bailey had started freaking out as soon as the anesthesia began to wear off and that they didn't want to risk her hurting herself by falling over the bedrail that she was so hell bent on climbing over, so they helped me untangle her IV and other wires and let me hold her in my lap while the drugs wore off.  She was a wreck.  Her face was all puffy and there was blood dripping from her nose and her mouth.  She was white as a sheet and kept coming in and out of consciousness, crying and flailing around a bit and then going limp in my arms with her head falling back.  It was scary.

A few minutes later, the dentist came out to talk about how the procedure went.  Up until that point, my sole focus had been on snuggling Bailey up and keeping her calm while the anesthesia wore off.  I rocked her and whispered in her ear the few times she "came to" and was scared.  I rubbed her arm and brushed the hair off her face, and blotted the blood that kept dribbling from her nose and the sides of her mouth.  I didn't look at her teeth then, and I'm glad.  He started off with her cavities.  All filled and looking good.  Her caps went on great and he liked the way they were looking at the moment.  He reminded me that her face and jaw might be puffy for the rest of the day and then casually (to me) mentioned that "the extraction went really well".  What?  The extraction?  What extraction?

The damage to the nerve was bad enough that they couldn't save this particular tooth, so they pulled it.  The doctor gently pulled back Bailey's upper lip and there was a lovely hole right in front where her tooth used to be.  "So, when should I make the appointment to have a replacement tooth placed?" I asked.  Turns out there's no such thing, and she'll just have a hole there until her adult tooth grows in.  The "good" news, he told me, was that her x-rays showed more movement than typical for her age, so we should expect her adult teeth to start coming in fairly quickly.

We talked for a few more minutes and I thanked him, and then looked down at Bailey, still out cold in my lap, head thrown back, mouth wide open now.  She was scary pale and there was dried blood pooled in the corner of her mouth and she was just limp and not coming to the way the other kids in the room were.  I kept picturing her sweet little smile and thinking about how this milestone in her development (her first lost tooth!) had been forced on her and how we had missed out on the excitement of the loose tooth phase, it finally falling out, and her tucking it under her pillow that night for the Tooth Fairy.  There was no build up, no time to get used to the idea of a new big girl smile.  She went to sleep with a mouth full of tiny little teeth and woke up with a big hole front and center.  I felt sad for her and guilty, and I sat there and cried right in the middle of the Recovery Room.

A few minutes later, she started waking up and they wheeled us back to a different room where we could have a little more privacy.  She was still so sleepy and out of it that they decided to keep her for a little while to make sure she wasn't going to be sick and was going to continue waking up normally.  So it was more sit and wait.  She would wake up for tiny stretches of time and cry or ask for her IV to be removed.  I got her changed out of the hospital clothes that she hated so much and put her back in the comfy pants and top that she wore in to the hospital that morning, and then we let her sleep some more.

When she woke up for good, they offered her a popsicle (which she refused), then discharged her and wheeled her out to the car.  I strapped her in and we headed back out into the snow.  We got home a little after 4pm and she was still sleepy, so we snuggled up in bed until her aunt and uncle came to visit with balloons and soft treats. She was loopy, and went to sleep pretty early that night.  She woke up the next morning feeling totally fine (SUCH a relief!) and found a note and some cash from the Tooth Fairy under her pillow.  

And she's been fine ever since.  I worried that she'd be angry (at the very least, sad and upset) that she woke up with her tooth missing, but she's proud.  She kept showing people all weekend and, two weeks later, I'm finally getting used to her new smile.  Her post-op checkup went well, and everything is looking good.  

And, I guys.  The Tooth Fairy visited her.  How many 4-year-olds can say that?


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