I always knew Carter would need braces on her teeth. I also know that Max will need them. They tell you fairly early into their dental appointments. It's that big ugly looming additional expense that you don' t think much about for the next few years until you are actually at the Orthodontist's office for the consultation. He sits across from you in his big leather chair and shows you little models of teeth and uses orthodontic terms that only he knows. He shows us the headgear and tells her how important it is for her to wear it every night. I run my tongue subconsciously across my teeth thinking about the times I would rip mine off in the middle of the night and toss them onto the floor. Not much has changed about those ugly contraptions, they are still the goofiest looking things you will ever see. He then took us on the tour of his slick office with computers at every tooth straightening station. "This is where I will enter your child's teeth measurements.", "This is where I will be able to download all xrays of your child's teeth", "And this is where I will plan my three week Mediterranean cruise where my wife and I will bask in the sun and toast the thumb suckers of the world."
I did not think she'd need a back brace. That one shocked me a bit. We have had her monitored for years as they watched her spine grow. It has always had a slight curvature to it, but they thought it was headed on a path that it would grow itself out. I saw it as soon as the doctor popped the xrays into the light. The curve had gotten more pronounced in the past six months. Usually the change was slight, but this time it was significant. I love this guy because he is crazy smart and has eaten children's spines for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the past 35 years. He looked at me over his glasses and said, "I am afraid it's time for a brace fitting." The vision of Joan Cusack in Sixteen Candles trying to get a drink out of the fountain pops into my head. Carter was sitting next to me. I glanced over at her expecting to see frustration or tears. I'd be crying as well if I knew that my first date was going to be with The Donger. I snapped out of my 80's flashback as she started peppering him with questions. She asked all the right questions, she was very matter of fact and deliberate in her inquiries. The only thing left for me to ask was if insurance would cover it. We walked out and I asked her how she was feeling. She shrugged her shoulders and said she was fine. I asked if she was upset about having to wear a brace. She said, "Whatever, I already have them on my teeth. What's one more?" Proving once again that a twelve year old's bitchy indifference can be oddly comforting when you need it.