Birthdays and Braces

January 18, 2016

“Smile!” I said to the twins as a snapped a quick photo on my phone.

“It hurts to smile.” Ethan complained

“Look up here” Emma said as she opened her mouth and tilted her head back. She pointed to plastic attached to the back of her front teeth. “These are called stoppers and they are to keep my top teeth from breaking off the brackets on my bottom teeth” she explained. “It feels like I have two sets of front teeth!”

Fred & Ethel (aka Ethan and Emma) got braces for their 13th birthday. Not exactly the “presents” they were hoping for. I had scheduled the orthodontist appointments for the first week of January, but they had to be pushed back a week due to a scheduling conflict at the dentist office. This meant that they would get braces just 3 days before their birthday.

We had several pain-filled days where they could only eat soft foods that required little to no chewing. Applesauce, yogurt and mashed potatoes were pretty much all they ate until their birthday when they pushed through the pain to eat some Fazoli’s spaghetti and breadsticks.   They couldn’t resist Fazoli’s breaksticks!

Of course, you can’t have a birthday party without birthday cake and ice cream. Fred & Ethel were happy to discover that there’s not much chewing required for cake and ice cream. They were also thrilled to receive their presents and to be able to enjoy spending time with family.

Happy Birthday Ethan & Emma! IMG_0727

 

Emma and Ethan will be getting braces this week, just in time for their 13th birthday. They have both expressed their displeasure with the timing of this not-so-pleasant birthday surprise. In preparation for braces I was told they need spacers so today I had to take them to the dentist for this pre-braces appointment.

I picked the twins and Caleb up from the Junior High and we traveled though the snow-covered roads towards the dentist office. We were running a little early (I know, so unusual for us) and so we stopped at McDonalds for a quick snack.

“What would you like?” I called towards the back of the van.

“Is this a meal or a snack?” Ethan asked.

“Just a snack.” I replied. “We will eat dinner after we get home from the dentist.”

“Hmmm…” Emma thought aloud. “I already had popcorn for breakfast. What else won’t I be able to eat after I get braces?”

“I want chocolate chip cookies!” Ethan shouted

“No problem. But you don’t need to yell. I’m right here.”

“I guess I’ll have a milkshake. Can I have milkshakes when I get braces?” Emma asked.

IMG_9268“Yes, milkshakes are OK. Really, there’s not a whole lot you can’t have. Just nothing too hard or sticky.”

“Can I eat Three Musketeers, Famous Amos cookies and brownies?” Ethan asked

“If you eat all that at once you will be tossing your Famous Amos cookies” Emma replied with a smile.

Caleb tapped me on the shoulder and said, “French Fries”. I smiled and thought how great it was that he could communicate what he wanted so clearly. Caleb’s verbal vocabulary is limited due to his autism but he can communicate fairly well through written or typed words and he can verbally say quite a few words now too. It’s great to see him communicate, especially when it is unprompted.

When we arrived at the dentist I told everyone to bundle back up for our walk across the parking lot since the HIGH today was only 17 degrees. Winter is not my favorite season, but I guess I shouldn’t complain since it’s really been pretty mild so far. Once inside the warm dentist office we unbundled ourselves and found seats in the waiting room.

“I hope they call Ethan back first.” Emma said.

“No way! I always have to go first!” Ethan protested.

“Well, that’s what you get for being 4 minutes older than me.”

While Emma and Ethan were busy taking bets on who would be called back first, Caleb was quite the social butterfly in the waiting room. He worked the room making sure to say “Hi” to all the other patients. (You can read more about Caleb’s improvements in social skills over on my other blog, Caleb’s Voice.)

IMG_9269“Emma and Ethan” the dental hygienist called out.

They looked at each other and laughed.

“I guess you guys BOTH get to go first.” I teased as they got up and followed the hygienist back into the exam room.

I read a few magazines, checked my email on my phone and before I knew it “Fred and Ethel”, as we affectionately call the twins, came strolling back into the waiting room together. Emma was smiling as big as life but Ethan looked less than thrilled. Apparently only Ethan needed spacers and Emma got off easy this time.

I asked Ethan if it hurt and he said it did when they were putting them in, but his teeth felt OK now.

“Mine didn’t hurt at all.” Emma said, teasing Ethan.

“Just wait,” Ethan warned,  “Thursday is coming and you are NOT getting out of the braces!”

So stay tuned for more of this story when we journey back to the dentist on Thursday for part 2 of Fred and Ethel Visit the Dentist.