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Emotional upheavals R us…

30 January , 2013

So yesterday I bit the bullet and booked Nicola’s first dental appointment. I’m not anticipating any problems with her actual teeth but I will admit that I am not altogether sure that she’ll be willing to say “aaaah!” when the time comes. A ride on a funky chair doesn’t seem like a great way to spend a few hundred bucks to me, so I need to prep to give this the best possible chance of success.

Steamcleaner recommended a great with kids dentist to me. Apparently the guy charges medical aid rates (+1), has a giant painting of animals on the ceiling to distract the children (+1) and has excellent chair side manner with little people (+1). I phoned and booked and we’re tackling that particular tiger next week Wednesday. I also booked an appointment for myself, with the thinking that perhaps if she sees that it doesn’t hurt me then she’d be much more willing to give it a go herself.

Last night I thought was a good night to start the conversations and hype up with her. So We’re sitting in the bath and I tell her, guess what…we’re going to the dentist next week. No big whoop from her. So I say, do you know what a dentist is? Nope. So I say, it’s a doctor that will specially look at our teeth. Cool…I let that simmer for a few minutes. Then I say, do you know how a dentist looks at our teeth? Nope…Well! He has a magical toothbrush that he uses to clean our teeth and make them all sparkly (with some sound effects added to explain the zzzzzz that it makes). Then I told her it really tickles and I start laughing. I said I am SO excited to go, and she piped up that she is too!

So far so good. Similar discussions and hype about the chair, the head gear, the serviette they tie to your shirt…but all the while focusing on the tickling because I know she loves that. Wish us luck and so on…

The second thing that happened was that I noticed Nicola’s school bag’s zip was open ever so slightly. My gut told me to wait till morning to have a look inside, but I was unable to stop my curious cat side so I looked inside the communication book before bedtime. I should have listened to the other side because I was so p-ed off that I really battled to fall asleep after that.

Remember that gymnastics almost debacle I had with the school a week or so ago? Ha! They are making it part of the curriculum. Not only that but they added a letter saying that “everyone” agreed to it at that meeting – that did not the F happen, and I was there! They also said that the majority of parents were there, ahem 30 out of a possible 140 does not constitute a majority where I come from. And they said everyone who was there has already enrolled their children for it – the hell I did?! To add insult to injury they added an indemnity form for me to sign, only the whole right hand side of it has been cut off with clumsy photocopying so I don’t actually know what they want me to absolve them from.

What I wanted to do is ROAR in outrage, I wanted to storm the principal’s office and yank my daughter from their school at once, I wanted to stomp my feet and scream like a toddler…but I took some time to think about it and instead compiled a disdainful letter in response. The long and the short of it is that I will not be signing that indemnity form at all, and I will not be signing a more complete version unless they can give me a written guarantee that Nicola will not have to do any tumbling as part of the program. At the information evening they did indicate that it’s a very limited part of it, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Anyhoo, I await their response and then we’ll see.

I will in the meantime start looking at other schools. And while I’m at it I might as well start looking in the area where I hope to relocate to living wise at the same time.

As if all that wasn’t enough to put my evening in a tail spin, Nicola surprised me with THE question last night. “Where is my daddy?” And not in the passing interest kind of way she did it when she was just over a year old either – a real honest question. The first time around I managed to get away with a “Not here” response, but this time she wanted more – so I decided that she deserved more.

It’s not really that much of a surprise to be honest. I know my daughter, and she’s been skirting the issue for months now in one way or another. I’ve seen examples of this when she plays and she suddenly writes a daddy-character into the fantasy, and whenever we’re in large groups of people I sometimes notice her randomly calling people daddy to see if they’ll react or confess. They usually don’t notice, but I do…and I let it slide till now.

So I sat her down and opened up the folder of photos I have of her dad and her half brother. When I showed her the first one and I said, this is your dad and his name is so and so, she sat there in awe… She looked at his picture and looked at me and she said, “Dis my papa! Mamma…ek het ‘n pappa!” It took just about all that I had not to start crying right there and then, a real punch to the gut. I carried on showing her the pictures of them. When she saw the picture of her brother she was so excited to find out she had one and what his name was.

When she saw a picture of them together I thought it might be a good idea to point out that they don’t live together either. I told her that they had the same daddy but different mommies, and that he lived with his mommy too, she lived with me, and her dad lived with his friend (also had a picture of them together so I could show her).

She was fascinated and in awe with it all and took it in with more calmness than I anticipated from someone her age. I think it went well. Possibly the next time she asks about him we’ll have to get into more detail, and no doubt at some point I will have to try and Macguyver a meeting of some sorts…but for today, the photos where enough to answer the question.

And I even managed to keep it together till after she fell asleep before I let myself have a little weep about it. One day TGC will have a lot of explaining to do for what he has done and not done…I’ll try my best to guide her through the questions as they come up without painting him as the asshole, but it’s not easy.

At least Nicola knows that I love her more than anything in the world. Not a day goes by that I don’t show her, and expressly tell her so – I hope that she will find some strength in that when the time comes for the more serious questions to be answered.

And then just to end this post off on a somewhat lighter note for my own sanity:

I don’t know if you’ve seen the original cartoon version of Robin Hood, but there’s one point where a guy hides money in his broken leg’s cast from the sheriff and when he’s found out the sheriff shakes it out of him. Nicola was quoting that to me the other day by saying, “Mommy, taxes hurt! It hurts my foot!” Mwahaha…they mostly hurt my back pocket, but I just loved the way she said it. :-D

She’s just such an amazing little person…

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24 comments

  1. You are a brave and wonderful mama heroine, who lights each day of her daughter’s life. You are a strong and incredible woman. I tip my hat to you X


    • Thank you my friend, doesn’t feel like that every day xxx


  2. oh man, my eyes sprung a leak too!!!!

    Do you have a driver who can come collect a book from me? We can lend you our dentist book for a few weeks – superb for preparing my two. it talks about everything that happens there so nicely that my kids were like model patients (certainly better than I’ve ever been).


    • I don’t have a driver, unfortunately…thanks for the offer though. I think it will be okay.


  3. I have also booked an appointment for Abigail at the dentist, I’m a little nervous. Awww I had tears reading “Dis my papa! Mamma…ek het ‘n pappa!” Well done on you for showing her photo’s. You are an awesome mommy. xx


    • I am sure that i am much more nervous about this than Nicola! ;-) Thank you…I’ve been in tears about this on and off since it happened, even though I think it went pretty well. A dad is such a basic need, so I feel kind of helpless that I can’t provide one for her.


  4. I can imagine that Nicola’s questions must have felt like a punch in the gut. Isn’t it amazing how we can just keep our sh*t together for our kids and then fall apart when they are not around? I felt quite emotional reading that bit. Can’t even begin to imagine how it must have affected you. I believe that Nicola knows that she’s loved. And I believe that she’ll be just fine. More than fine. You are doing a fabulous job and I think that you handled that situation REALLY well.

    Ps..I LOVED how you explain and hype her up about the dental visit. I STILL haven’t taken Child2 and I have no plans to take him for at least another year. The thought of him freaking out is what freaks ME OUT! I am OBVIOUSLY Mother of the year?

    Pps…Did the school respond to your email as yet? I also wrote a disdainful email to Child1’s principal this week about a matter that I’d been waiting for feedback on for an entire week. No response, but then I expected that.


    • I’ve been a mess…if ever there is a list compiled of days that were mine, this one will probably not be on it. ;-) I feel so drained after this – you know that kind you feel when it’s been something hectically emotional? I’m sure I’ll perk up again shortly though. Onwards and upwards and so on…

      I am as nervous as you are of course, I don’t want her to freak out either about the dentist, and if I can I’d like it to not be a traumatic experience for her, especially the first time. I think it will be okay though…and if despite everything she refuses to open her mouth for him then I won’t push it. The guys is supposed to work magic with kids though, so I’ll see what kind of magic he works on the day.

      The principal phoned me half an hour after I dropped off the letter to apologise. They are willing to give me a written undertaking that Nicola will not participate in the tumbling part of the course, and they’ve even offered to pay on our behalf – which I declined…because first off it’s not about the money, it’s about her safety, and secondly because I’m not for sale and I don’t want to feel indebted to them at all.


  5. Huge huge Hugs I know how hard it is for you. And your doin an amazing job Hugs
    Tanya


    • Thanks Tanya xxx


  6. Phew, you’ve had alot going on.
    Good luck with the dentist. I have to applaud you for making it happen.
    I am so impressed with how you handled N’s questions. I can’t imagine how tough it must be. I would feel so torn. She will always know how loved she is by you and that is a precious gift. Well done mama.


    • Tell me about it! All these things coming at me on one day!
      Thank you…that’s all I really can do. Be honest with her and answer her questions as well as I can. I have no doubt that this will probably be just one of many conversations we end up having about this later on, but i always want her to know that I love her and that she can ask me anything, even when it’s uncomfortable for me.


  7. Oh wow….got me real teary eyed…and P’d off. Children are so innocent and parents are meant to be responsible for their upbringing. The one thing is that Nicola has got an awesome family..and being around you guys, it is very clear that you adore her and she is very loved.

    Good luck with the dentist…you must give me his name if he is good


    • I agree, but I guess some people just don’t have the balls for it. Nicola has a lot of people in her corner and she is adored and loved by all of us – I know that she will make this work for her.

      Thanks – I’ll do an update after and let you know how it went. If he’s good I’ll give you his number for sure! :-)


  8. Oh Louisa, what a day. And that must hurt (the dad thing) One thing I do know – Nicola has the most awesome mom she can wish for and she has an awesome supporter squad on the side. And a granddad that is amazing in a fartherly type of role.

    Lots of love


    • Thank you cat, yip – she has a lot going for her. I know there will be questions from her, it’s to be expected. Wish I had all the answers, but I don’t.


  9. Oh Louisa :( The dad story breaks my heart – we have been there so I know in a way how raw it is for you both and how confusing it can be :( hugs my friend and well done on being so very honest with her!!!!

    (I must have missed the gymnastics story)


  10. I’m glad that you stand your ground regarding this gymnastic thing. They can’t just make a decision.


    • I do feel very strongly about it, so I’m definitely not backing down on this. You should have seen how I mangled their consent form (even after they promised to exclude her from all things gymnastic).

      The point is not that I want to sue them if something goes wrong, the point is that I do not want anything to wrong to begin with.


  11. Sending you loads of hugs and grace and understanding, I am sure you will need a lot of this, because as she grows older she will keep asking until she understands. The important thing is she knows she is loved and she has a strong support structure and wonderful male role models in the form of her oupa and uncle…


    • Thank you! I am sure I’m going to need all that grace and understanding later on when the questions get harder to answer. I will always answer her questions honestly, and with love.


  12. Oh Louisa you have ALL my empathy and prayers and wishes for strength!
    I was in that same place so many times…
    And good luck with the school. Assholes.


    • Thanks Angel…



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