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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wigging Out...

Thursday, 9/30/10 was a day for wigging out here at the lion's den. Niki had a follow-up appointment for her mouther-effing problems, and we forced Kevin to overcome his Target.

My day of wigging out started when I got off from work. Niki had an appointment at UCSF's Dental Center at 4pm because her lovely little fangs needed a check-up. John was supposed to accompany me to the appointment, but he had an emergency at work. So, I had take Niki on my own...well, sort of. My 10-year-old SIL "A" came with me to the appointment. In case you missed it, I'm pregnant. And UCSF has crappy parking. And the garage is far from the Dental Center! I needed all the help I could get.

I got off from work a hour early, and I barely made it to the appointment on time. "A" may be 10-years-old, but she was a huge help. She helped me entertain Niki, and carry her heavy-ass baby bag. Aside from extra clothes, diapers, wipes, toys, drinks, and snacks, Niki's baby bag is also a mobile "hemophilia treatment center!"  We carry all sorts of medical supplies in that thing so it's heavier than Niki!

 Niki's torture chamber exam room...

The appointment itself was going fine and dandy until it was time for the actual exam started. Niki's dentist was very sweet, and she tried her hardest to make the whole experience pleasant for my little lioness. Alas, Niki-Boom wasn't having it and cried the minute the dentist started probing her teeth. Babygirl was WIGGING OUT!!! The exam was performed "knee-to-knee" so Niki was straddling my huge belly. I had to hold her hands down as she was kicking, screaming, twisting her head out of the dentist's grasp, and crying! "A" tried to help hold Niki's arm down whenever I had to move Niki's feet away from my belly. The whole experience was a nightmare.

Boy, was I sweating! That was definitely a time that I could have used John's help. Needless to say, my annoyance with John's absence skyrocketed during Niki's 20-30 minute cry session. She's a strong little girl!

The good news is Niki's very first "semi-cavity" has resolved. The minerals in the fluoride treatment they gave her in March halted the decay. Actually, her tooth enamel is stronger in the area now. The bad news is Niki has the start of a new semi-cavity on one of her upper-back molars. She doesn't sleep with a bottle or eat sweets very often --and we brush her teeth religiously-- so it looks like Niki has definitely been cursed with her father's weak tooth enamel. Her dentist gave her another fluoride treatment and asked that we bring her back every 3 months for a check up. If the fluoride doesn't work she may need to get admitted in the hospital for dental work shortly after she turns two years old!!

In case you didn't know, dental health is HUGE in the bleeding disorders community.

If and when Niki needs to have dental work, it would be a huge deal! She would need to be put to sleep (general anesthesia), have her factor titrated up and then down, AND also have prophylactic antibiotics administered prior to her procedure because of her port. Ugh. And don't even get me started on all the mounds of paperwork and insurance approvals I'll have to get in order for the procedure to be done! Basically it would be a pain in the ass (not to mention somewhat risky) so our best defense is to PREVENT any mouther-effing problems from occuring.

It was right then and there that I decided to eliminate all sippy cups and bottles from existence in our household. Her doctor agreed it would be a good idea since prolonged drinking from sippy cups (no matter what the fluid is) can also contribute to enamel softening and weakness. With that being said, I am happy to report that Niki has been officially weaned of sippy cubs and bottles as of yesterday.

Actually, it took less time than a week!  Her last bottle & sippy cup usage was on Wednesday, October 6th!!

Niki only drinks from cups now. (BTW - straws are no good either according to her dentist.) Niki's gross-motor coordination isn't 100% up to par -- which means more laundry and t-shirt changes now -- but I'm glad that she's done with this portion of her babyhood. Now, all I have to do is hope that her follow-up appointment in December will show that this round of fluoride helped halt any further damage to her back molar. I even got Niki a pretty new Hello Kitty electronic toothbrush to celebrate. She's an independent little thing and likes to try and brush her own teeth. :)

Niki picking out a toy with her dentist...
Random note: I think it's interesting that ALL of Niki's doctors have been beautiful, intelligent, minority women. Her last two dentists, Dr. Sweetheart, and Dr. Awesome are all strong female role models. Hoping this means I'm raising my very own strong, beautiful, future health professional. :)
Niki is a sweaty little girl when she cries. Her hair was soaked after the visit. She thoroughly enjoyed the cool breeze blowing threw her hair when we got outside.

Later on that night, John and I took the kids to dinner at our favorite Japanese restaurant, Akagi. The boys LOVE their "pop stickers" and teriyaki chicken. I'm not kidding -- they ask to eat at that place. Anyway, after dinner we decided to head over the Target to see what Halloween costumes they had. Now, Kevin normally loves taking trips to Target, but he kept trying to convince us to go home. 

This is the second Halloween season that this has happened. Something clicked inside of him and he's been afraid of Halloween displays since last year! He freaked out off of a Pepsi display at Lucky's last year. I shit you not.

I forgot to write about it, but a few weeks ago Kevin completely wigged out at Michael's. I forgot that the Halloween section was up, and he had an all-out Mad TV "Stuart" moment right there in the middle of the aisle. 

Skip to 2:43 & 4:44 if you want to see what I'm talking about...

Keep in mind that we had to pass through that way in order to get to the section I was trying to get to. And also keep in mind that I was alone, carrying Niki (John took the car that had her stroller in it), and Boo was there too! Boo and Niki were completely unfazed by the Halloween section, but Kevin refused to walk that way. There was no way in HELL I was going to walk alllllll the way around the store with Niki, her baby bag, and Boo hanging onto my pocket just so Kevin could avoid a completely harmless Halloween display.

Now remember, we weren't at the Spirit Halloween Store, we were at Michaels! The display wasn't moving and it wasn't even that scary! So what did I do? Despite his protests, I firmly held onto Kevin's forearm and quickly dragged him past the Halloween display. With Niki, the baby bag/mobile hematology unit, and Boo still hanging onto my pocket!

And, I'm sure we were quite the sight to see for all the old grannies shopping for supplies!

Kevin was dragging his feet and pulling his entire body weight back in a Stuart-esque "I don't wanna!" fashion, and I wanted to shoot myself in the head. I. Was. Sweating! After we passed the "sheer horror" of the Michael's Halloween display, Kevin quickly recuperated and asked me to buy him a foam airplane toy. After that display of behavior?! I think not. I scolded Kevin for being so unreasonable, promptly grabbed my items, paid, and left the store.

Flash forward to our Target trip planning at Akagi...

I reminded John about Kevin's behavior at Michael's a few weeks earlier, and we knew that Kevin  needed to address his fears head on. So, John and I sternly advised Kevin that he was going to Target whether he wanted to or not. Sometimes, you gotta resort to tough love to teach a KID a lesson!

We're not entirely mean parents. Kevin is a very intelligent and reasonable child. He's a very mature seven-year-old so we have the ability to have two-way discussions with that KID. On the car ride there, we kept reassuring Kevin that we were going to Target -- not a haunted house, not a Halloween store -- to Target! And, there is nothing to fear at Target. We also reminded him that the "real dead people" are at the cemetery. Kev agreed that he wasn't afraid of the cemetery so we told him that he shouldn't be afraid of fake tombstones (or anything else for that matter) at Target!

I also told him a story about how my brother D used to scare all-holy-hell out of me when I was his age. (I'll write about that some other time.) No one has ever scared Kevin  so I don't know why he suddenly developed such irrational fears! I asked him what he planned on doing when it was time to trick-or-treat? Was he going to be scared or "be a lion?" I reminded also reminded my son that I was the "scardiest person" in the entire world, and I would never take him anywhere that I was afraid of. Aside from that, John and I reassured Kevin that as his parents, we would NEVER do anything to hurt/scare him.

We made it to Target and Kevin didn't protest when it was time to get out of the car.

Kevin nervously shifted his eyes side-to-side as we navigated our way through Target. They're expanding the Target near our house so everything has changed. It's not as familiar as it once was. When finally came upon the Halloween section at Target, Kevin stood dead in his tracks. Boo happily chimed in, "C'mon, that's not scary!" and boldly walked up to the closest skull he could find.

(Boo is hardcore like that.)

Kevin slowly started to evoke his "inner Stuart", and John wasn't having it. Neither was I. I hit the scariest fake zombie I could find and announced to Kevin that a "real zombie" wouldn't let me hit him in the face. "He would be eating me right now if he were real!" John started squeezing the mummy closest to him and repeated, "It's not real, Kev. Stop trippin." Even Boo joined in. He picked up a skull, knocked it on the side of its head and said, "Kev, why you scared? It's just plastic!"

Clearly my poor boy was outnumbered as he stood there trembling outside the parameter of the Halloween section. However, he could also see the horror surrounding us, and the fact that nothing was lunging out to "get" his family. I told Boo to hush up as Kevin slowly, but surely, inched inside of the parameter to get closer to a not-so-scary pumpkin. I'm sure there was no way Kev was going to let his younger brother be braver than him!

After smacking a few more faux-ghoulish things, I grew impatient and brought Kev right next to the zombie I first smacked. I felt his body tense up. I squeezed the latex and made him feel it, reminding him that it felt like his Hulk Smash Hands. John continued to reassure Kevin that everything was fake as he handled a somewhat-creepy severed hand a moving in jar. Little by little, Kevin started touching things. His body slowly started to relax as he explored some of the more spooky Halloween decor. The science geek inside of him commented on "how real" the skeleton looked. I must admit a lot of that stuff was pretty unnerving, but Kev did really good.

We spent a good 20 minutes in that Halloween section. And in that 20 minutes, Kevin finally got over his fear of "all things Halloween."  We're still working on getting him to watch scary movies (even I can't do that), but I don't think I'll ever have to worry about Kevin being terrified of a "scary Pepsi display" ever again. Maybe we handled this whole situation wrong, but it worked and that's all that matters. Parenting is all about trying your best, and hoping for the best outcome to take place. And in this case, I think John and I did pretty damn good for some young rookies.

Boo is wearing the gold mask and Kevin is wearing the red one.


I'm happy to report that John tested Kevin a few days ago. He took the boys to Target to buy them a toy for doing so good at school. Kevin hesitated a little bit as they got closer to the Halloween section, but quickly shrugged his residual fear off. And Kev didn't even bat an eye when I took him to the Party Warehouse yesterday. Looks like our young cub just got a little tamer!

Now, if we could just do something about that mane. ;-)
This KID is good sport.

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