Monday, September 12, 2011


4 e plural : an orthodontic appliance usually of metallic wire that is used especially to exert pressure to straighten misaligned teeth

My ten year old daughter B got braces almost two weeks ago.  J and I both had braces when we were young, so it wasn't a shock to find out we had a daughter who needed to see an orthodontist.  J went on to have jaw surgery after years and year of braces, so we're hoping early intervention can spare B surgery down the road.  In addition to braces on her top teeth, she has a palate expander.  Along with the expander came a key for me to use to tighten it each night.  I was NOT thrilled about this.  I'd heard horror stories about friends sobbing as their parents turned their device nightly.  With great trepidation, I learned how to insert and turn the key, wondering whether I could bear to hurt her every night.  This has turned out to not be a big problem, since B either has a high tolerance for pain or orthodontia has improved a bit over the last two decades (I'm guessing a bit of both).

The best part about B getting braces?  She's thrilled - thinks they're the coolest thing ever, has wanted to show friends and family in person rather than tell them ahead of time.  I attribute this stellar attitude, in part, to her age.  I had braces from 6th grade to 8th grade - roughly ages 12 to 14.  Is there a more awkward age than this, even without metal in your mouth?  I think not.  But ten year olds are young enough to not really care what others think, to still want to stand out from the crowd a bit.  And ten year old peers mostly haven't sharpened their claws to attack those who dare to be different.

B especially enjoyed one day last week when she had on a turquoise shirt that matched her rubber bands nearly exactly.  Several people remarked on how well she matched and it just delighted her.

B can be difficult.  She's strong in ways I'm not.  She's bold.  She's confident.  She knows herself.  She's going to make a great adult, but can be a challenging kid to parent or befriend.  Today I'm thankful for all these traits of hers that sometimes make me wonder why on earth God thought I was capable of parenting her.  I'm thankful her strength makes her grin excitedly to show off her braces, instead of hiding her mouth behind her hand, a smirk or anything else.  Today, I'm able to be thankful she's exactly who she is, braces and all.

Pre-braces.  Isn't she lovely?


EJN said...

Yes! She is absolutely lovely, her confidence shines. What a blessing!
Have a great week

Misha Leigh. said...

She's completely gorgeous - and this made me so wish our daughters were friends!

Kim said...

I got braces in 5th grade and also loved them! Interesting, when my mom had braces there was a key to tighten them, but when I had them I had spacers that were inserted then changed each month when the orthodontist tightened the braces (or changed the wire...) I love how everything old is new again!

Amy Blazer said...

She is beautiful. My eldest is also on the road to getting braces. We've been told she'll need the expander probably next year. So, I'll be right where you are in another few months. She is quite excited about getting braces, but she does NOT have a very high pain tolerance. I hope our experience is as nice as yours.

WordGirl said...

Amy, Kate got a palette expander last year and had no problems with it at all. Hers didn't require turning it with a key - it had a spring in it that pushed the palette out. You may have the same type with Sara, depending on what your dentist recommends. I'll think even with a low tolerance for pain you'll be OK. :-)