Crying

tooth1As a dad blogger and son of a dentist, I’ve found myself writing a lot about tooth loss in children between the ages of 5 and 10. (I also find myself curled in the fetal position whenever I think of the dental drill in my father’s basement. True story.) Sometimes the kids’ tooth removal stories have been funny and sometimes it’s been painful….and sometimes, the tooth doesn’t want to let go. This is that story.

While sitting across from Garrett one night at dinner, I kept staring at him because he reminded me of someone. One of his two front teeth had become so loose, that it moved over and began to block the other tooth. Each time he opened his mouth, he looked like a shark with multiple layers of teeth. It wasn’t until I watched him laugh and snort that I realized who he looked like – Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery!! I quickly grabbed my phone and created a side-by-side picture to truly see the similarities.

austin

This tooth would not let go….or, Garrett would not let go of this tooth. I’m still unclear as to which was which.

Over the past few days, the tooth had become horizontal. Not only was it partially blocking one tooth, but now it began to “peek” out from between his lips because it had nowhere else to go.

Each time we tried to remove the tooth, Garrett would put up a fight and then scamper away. We tried giving him corn on the cob to loosen the tooth. We tried giving him gum. We tried putting ice on it. Once, I (jokingly) tried to use a wrench.

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Nothing worked. It wasn’t until GWE had him strapped into the car seat of his nanny’s car that she was able to finally separate tooth from child. All I can say at this point is, the tooth is out…..and now so is my wallet!

 

barf2Honestly, I’m a little behind with this blog. It’s not that I don’t have enough to write about. It’s that there’s too much to write about and the stories are getting backed up. So – let’s re-start slowly…

Last week, GWE took Justin to Six Flags on an afternoon when there was an early dismissal from school. While I worked, they had fun riding roller-coasters, eating junk food, and then sending me selfies of themselves riding roller-coasters and eating junk food. (Did I mention that I was working??) When I got home that evening, I expected to find Justin passed out in bed. To my surprise, he was awake…and oddly excited about something.

“Daddy!! I bought you some jelly beans! I know how much you love jelly beans,” Justin exclaimed. I could see that he was trying to contain his laughter, so I assumed he was up to something.

“No thanks. I’ll pass,” I replied – knowing that it would drive him a little nuts.

“Daddy! These are the best jelly beans! I bought them just for you!!!!!!!!” The giddiness was causing him to vibrate.

With cautious optimism, I took one jelly bean from his hand and popped it into my mouth. I did not chew. I just waited for him to respond. After a few seconds, I gave up and decided to eat the jelly bean. At first, it tasted like popcorn. And then…….this disgusting flavor and odor of dead fish invaded my mouth and nose. It was awful! Justin rolled on the floor laughing about how he got me as I scrambled to get the taste out of my mouth! While I gulped half a container of milk, Justin explained that I had eaten something called “Bean Boozled.” They are purposely awful jelly beans.

barf

Justin thought I was over-reacting to how bad the beans were, so he decided to show me that he could eat any of them and it wouldn’t affect him at all. I told him that I would chose the bean and he would have to eat which ever I chose.

I chose “Barf.”

Justin took the bean and ate it with the same bravado you see from a drunk college student who is dared to drink an entire bottle of hot sauce. He smiled as he took the first two bites. All of a sudden, his expression changed. He coughed twice…..and then threw up all over the kitchen sink. The bravado on his face vanished and was replaced with confusion, fear, and tears. He was not expecting that as an outcome. After a few more dry-heaves and a glass of water, I tucked him into bed.

While tucking Garrett into bed, I heard Justin run down the hallway…then some banging….and then the sound of him running back to his room. When I went back into his room I asked him what happened. He responded, “Daddy. I threw out the jelly beans. I don’t want you to trick me with those beans ever again!”

Oh how the trickster becomes the tricked!

garrett-dentisSometimes, it’s not what happens to us that compels us to make a change, but it’s the things that we witness happening to other people that make us reassess our own choices in life. Case in point: Garrett recently experienced something, but it had a bigger impact on Justin.

While on a routine dental visit, the dentist discovered that Garrett had a small cavity. Even though the cavity was tiny, we knew that the task of getting it fixed was going to be monumental. Garrett is not a good patient. He does not like having dental equipment in his mouth, does not like the sounds that the equipment makes, and he has zero patience for sitting in a dental chair. GWE and I knew that he certainly wasn’t going to tolerate getting a shot of Novocain AND having his tooth drilled. I spoke with the dentist and he agreed that Garrett was a “hostile patient.” We decided that the only course of action would be to use nitrous oxide to keep him calm.

As the day of his cavity removal approached, GWE and I kept telling him (excitedly) about the “Firefighter’s Mask” the dentist was going to put on him on his next visit. Garrett was intrigued by the prospect of wearing a mask meant for firefighters in a dental office. As soon as he arrived at the dentist’s office, he asked to see the mask. He looked at it quizzically. It wasn’t like the ones he had seen at the fire station Skeptically, he got into the chair and put the mask on. Slowly, the dentist began to administer the gas. After a few minutes, Garrett was supposed to begin feeling the effects, so the dentist administered a shot of Novocain. Garrett felt it, realized what was going on, and began to fight back. Clearly, the gas had no effect on him.

In the meantime, GWE and Justin were in the waiting area and they could clearly hear what was going on. Garrett was screaming, shoving the dentist and hygienist away, and trying to escape while the we tried to keep him calm. I looked over to the lobby and saw GWE cringing. Justin appeared calm, yet slightly panicked as the blood drained from his face. After 30 minutes, I told the dentist that this wasn’t working and that we’d have to try again at a later date.

Knowing that his defiance had been successful, Garrett angrily hopped out of the chair and was at the front door in less than a minute. When we got in the car, Garrett was back to normal. What we didn’t know was that Justin was the one who was affected the most!

Later that afternoon, we had a normal lunch. Afterwards, Justin excused himself from the table and went to brush his teeth.

toothbrush

After dinner, Justin excused himself from the table and went to brush his teeth.

After breakfast the following morning, Justin excused himself from the table and went to brush his teeth…again.

That night, after dinner, Justin excused himself from the table and went to brush his teeth…again.

The following morning, we ended up running 15 minutes late. Everyone was in the car, except for Justin….who was still brushing his teeth…again!

Thanks to Garrett’s “Cavity Calamity,” Justin has brushed his teeth more times over the past 6 weeks than he has in his entire life!

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This man is bringing home “fast food.” If he’s not fast, they won’t be food.

Recently, I’ve become addicted to a quintessentially British cooking show from the ’90s called “Escape to River Cottage.” The recommendation was given to me as a cure for insomnia. It’s effect was quite the opposite. I’m hooked and can’t get enough of this show. The concept is simple: what happens when a professional chef moves to the middle of nowhere and begins living a farm-to-table life? There are a lot of unintentionally, funny moments.

In an effort to spend more time together, Justin has begun watching these cooking shows by my side. What we saw made us laugh and cringe all at once. To Justin, the name “Charlie” now elicits a visceral reaction of small tears and uncomfortable laughter.

Early in the program, the host decided that gardening was great, but that he needed more protein in his meals. (There were only so many pigeons he could shoot off of his neighbors roof to eat. No joke!) He decided to buy a pig. However, the pig farmer was insistent on two rules:

  1. A pig cannot live alone. It needs a companion. Preferably, many. (The host settled on two pigs, but really only wanted one.) And, more importantly:
  2. Do not name the pig! It would make it harder to do what needed to be done…in the end.

The host honored the first rule, but broke the second one by the end of the first day. He named one pig, “Charlie.”

Watching the host befriend the pig and then over time realize what he’d have to do to the pig is one of the funniest and saddest things we’ve ever watched.

Ultimately, we could not watch the “pork” episode. Justin and I talked about it a lot and we imagined the host eating his friend while tears streamed down his face as he screamed, “CHARLIEEEEEEEEEEE” with bits of meat falling out of his mouth.

Ever since we started watching that show, on the rare occasion we saw or ate pork, Justin and I would fake scream, “CHARLIEEEEEEEEE!!” We would laugh uncontrollably.

And then, I pulled out the slow cooker!

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The small note reads: “Hi! My name is Charlie!”

Charlie-2

Honestly, this meal was delicious and entertaining as we chewed slowly while randomly screaming out, “CHARLIEEEEEEEEE!!!!”

 

At least nothing happened to the Nintendo 3DS Justin was hiding under his bed!
At least nothing happened to the Nintendo 3DS Justin was hiding under his bed!

It was my intention to write about three of four funny recent events with the boys. However, this evening, we had an incident with Garrett that made me so angry that I wasn’t able to get into “Ha, Ha, what a funny story!” mode. Now, I’m in the “Are you F#$#^&G kidding me????” mode.

At some point this evening, Garrett announced that he had to go to the bathroom. He made us pause the television and wait for him. After a few minutes, he returned with a guilty look on his face.

“Garrett? Did you pee in the potty?” I asked.

“Yes!” he announced to me and MoGWE. (Mother of Greatest Wife Ever)

I continued my mild interrogation. “But, I didn’t hear a flush. Did you flush the pee?”

“Yes!” he proclaimed.

Honestly, I didn’t believe him. My dad-senses were tingling and he looked guilty of something. I stood up and walked to the bathroom to see what had happened. From behind me I could hear MoGWE telling Garrett, “If you did something, you better tell your dad. He’s about to find out anyway!” I turned to see that his lips were sealed…with a smirk.

I looked in and around the potty. No evidence of anything. If he did it, he flushed it and that was the end of that.

A few hours later, with Justin soundly asleep in bed, I began Garrett’s nighttime routine. I put Garrett into pajamas, got him a cup of water, and I was about to read him a book when he whispered, “Daddy. I have to tell you a secret.” The smirk was still on his face, but now his whole body began to shake in a spastic manner like he was going to burst of excitement if he didn’t say this one thing.

“Ok. What’s your secret?” I asked, expecting to hear about something that happened at school that day.

“I snuck into Justin’s room, went under his bed, and peed on the floor!!!!!”  

He said it with the frenzied excitement of someone who just won the lottery or found out they weren’t the father on “Maury.” My guess is that he thought I would find it just as funny and exciting. I did not. And, clearly, he did not anticipate the level of anger from me that this action would elicit.

Needless to say, toys were taken, tears were shed, and I made myself perfectly clear: if you piss on the floor again – you better be prepared to sleep in it!

It’s a good thing Justin doesn’t know what happened. The one thing that really upsets Justin is the thought of Garrett coming into his room without his permission. If he ever found out about what happened under his bed, he might need therapy!

Golf-1

It was a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon and Justin, Garrett, and I had nothing to do. GWE was on a flight to Toronto for a business trip and it was the first day of “Guy’s Week” aka “Home Alone: The Dad Edition.” As I looked at both boys lounging lazily on the sofa, I saw their pale skin and round bellies and thought they needed to be playing outside. Fresh air, physical activity, and sunshine would do them some good! However, I couldn’t get them to go to the back yard. No amount of passively saying “go outside” seemed to work.

And then, I had an idea! I walked over to the television, turned it off (to the sounds of bitter complaining and crying,) and told the boys to get in the car….or else. (“Or else” works a lot more than you might think!)

As we pulled up to the putt-putt place, both Garrett and Justin ‘excitedly’ screamed, “NO!!! WE DON’T WANT TO GO HERE!!” I turned around and informed them both that whenever they decide to get their driver’s license and buy their own car, they can go wherever they want! (Right…..that’s not going to come back and bite me in the ass in 6 years, 11 months, and 4 days from now.)

With anger in their eyes and hatred in their hearts (probably towards me,) they walked into the Sherman Oaks Castle Park. They were so angry at me, that I thought it would be hilarious to make them smile and look like they were having a good time. This is the picture:

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I swear, they were not having a good time. They were angry!

Here is the problem with taking a 9 year old and a 4 year old to putt-putt. The 9 year old has spent months taking real golf lessons and is now competitive when it comes to the game of golf. He wants to play by the rules and WIN by the rules. The 4 year old DOES NOT WANT TO LOSE to his brother, but he also doesn’t want to follow the rules of the game either. So, this is what would happen: Justin would line up his shot, take his stroke, and usually be in the cup after 1 or 2 putts. Garrett would hit his first ball, run after it, pick it up, and then run over to the cup and drop it in.

Needless to say, Justin was having a meltdown every time Garrett did this and would get very upset because he felt as though Garrett was cheating. On the other hand, Garrett would see Justin get the ball into the cup first and then have an even bigger meltdown because he refused to lose to his brother. No matter how much I tried to explain to them that they were not playing against one another…..they saw it as all-out war against one another.

We only made it to the 6th hole before I gave up. Once Garrett tried to attack his brother with the golf club while screaming unintelligible words all the while having streams of tears coming down from his eyes and lines of snot pouring out of this nose, I thought….ok, we’re done.

Once we were in the car and everyone had calmed down, I heard Garrett ask, “Daddy? Can we come back tomorrow?”

Not kidding. He really said it.