Monday, June 25, 2007

When do you start brushing a baby's teeth?

That's the question she asked. What she meant was "Why does your kid have green teeth?".
I don't venture out into the real world very often. This morning I manned the VBS nursery at church along with my friend Jonie and a few middle school girls who are crazy about babies. I forget that most of the 300+ regular attenders at my church know only that Noah was born really early and was really sick and possibly that I have to spend a lot of time in the house and at doctor's appointments. They might know that he's deaf or that he sometimes walks into walls or tables because of his vision, but green teeth doesn't come up much. So I was surprised when Jennifer, who I've known for years (I was her third grade teacher, back when I had a "real job"), asked me about dental hygiene. She's a rather intelligent child and has younger siblings, so she's quite aware that two year olds do, in fact, get their teeth brushed. But having been raised to be polite the idea of asking "Why are Noah's teeth green?" didn't seem quite right. She's a good kid and I would not have been offended either way, but it's interesting to know what people are really thinking when they see my son. I had someone at the doctor's office on Friday ask if Noah's cochlear implant was to monitor his brain waves. I thought that was an interesting idea. Most comments I get are negative - why would I bring my vomiting, green-toothed toddler out in public? I often want to reply that at least he's not snot-nosed and obnoxious, but that won't help pave the way for future green-toothed vomit monsters so I try to be gracious. It's sad because most people would never make a nasty comment about a child with a medical condition or a disability, but Noah doesn't "look" disabled so anything abnormal about him must be my fault.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Emily,

I also have a green toothed vomiting child. He's corrected age is 9 months and his first two teeth are green. He was born at 25wks. I would explain more, but it sounds like our situations are very similar. Unfortunately, people do not realize everything we do that other mothers do not have to do. I am so tired of having to explain everything to everyone all the time. I did get my own laugh the other day. My son has to wear an eye patch for 1 hr a day and glasses all the time. So, while we were out people were trying not to stare because he was wearing an eye patch. I think they thought he only had one eye. He was starting to act up, so I said out loud "Okay, Harrison. I'll turn around so you can see everyone with your one good eye." The look of shock on everyone's face was hilarious to me.

Anyway, I understand your frustration. I am worried about Harrison being teased about his green teeth.