Friday, July 24, 2009

Yay, It's Over.

Alright, well, if yesterday's low point was assisting in the physical restraint of Screamer so that a medieval contraption could be elbowed into her mouth, today's was holding a weak, pale little Sushi in my arms post-anesthesia while she puked. But you know what? Relatively speaking, it was a cake walk. (That is, aside from the psychological agony of an unexpected 3rd hour being somehow tacked on to Sushi's operating room experience... the dentist later told us that some of the cavities were deeper than she'd thought, and that the white fillings leave no margin for error... meanwhile, because I'm a jerk I simply assume that the dentist and the hospital are in cahoots to needlessly draw out every procedure and thus earn themselves an additional hour of "O.R. time" at our literal expense) (have I mentioned that I'm a jerk?). Meanwhile the kid, I'm happy to report, uncharacteristically kept all drama to a minimum (it might have had something to do with the unprecedented number of well-intentioned lies she was told by her father and me; example: "NO, honey, of course this is not a HOSPITAL, it's a dental office that happens to share work space with the people who do boob jobs!") and shed not a single tear over being cruelly deprived food and water all morning. In fact, a mere 4 hours after she was wheeled out of the operating room, wouldn'tcha know that she was jumping up and down on our sofa firmly requesting that I replay for the millionth time the one and only episode of "Toddlers & Tiaras" she's ever seen (her sudden obsession with child exploitation is certain to yield *either* a future interest in women's studies *or* an imminent demand for a miniature Vegas showgirl getup, there's no telling which) (who are we kidding, I've already checked out the dress selection on ebay). THANK YOU to everyone for the good wishes (and, in the case of my dear friend "Paris," the very fancy Barbie dolls that were left on our doorstep!!). I would love to write more, but I just fell asleep.

Free at last, free at last, thank god almighty I am free at last. (Of the pediatric dentist.) xo.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Went to the USA for My Summer Vacation and All I Got Were These Lousy Cavities

You know what really stinks?  When you think something is going to be terrible and people tell you that it's *not* going to be terrible but you're still planning on it being terrible mostly because you are looking forward to being pleasantly surprised when it turns out not to be terrible at all, and then it turns out that it was INDEED totally terrible and you were right all along to worry and you wish you could find every single person who said It Will Be Fine! and tell them I Told You So! and then go home and have a pity party complete with paper hats... but you can't.  That stinks.  And that was my day today.

I don't have much time to write (because more terribleness is likely to befall me in approximately 10 hours, more on that later, and I need to go to sleep now so I can dream about how terrible it's going to be), but the long and the short of it is this:

Screamer needed to have some cavities filled, and I let myself be talked into doing the fillings in the dentist's office with only laughing gas to sedate her, and the dentist was running so behind schedule that the procedure ended up taking place right in the middle of Screamer's naptime (which, as you parents out there know, is like handling a grenade with the pin pulled out), and by the time we finally got her into the chair she was already falling apart, and by the time the party got into full swing she was absolutely beside herself, and then the party came to a rather abrupt end when Screamer started to lose her mind and then I started to lose my mind (I don't know if you've ever had the pleasure of watching your sweet, defenseless 2-year-old being HELD DOWN so that a metal brace can be wedged into her mouth to hold it open, but let me tell you, it's about as much fun as it sounds) and I caused a scene because Screamer was causing a scene and we more or less stormed out of there without really knowing if the dentist was done with what she was doing.  You know, because it was the dentist's fault that my children are HUGE WIMPS and that I apparently have the THINNEST SKIN of any mother on planet Earth.  So yeah, she fully deserved the bad press that she got today in her waiting room when I charged past about 5 families and announced, with all the eloquence of a frustrated adolescent and even a waving index finger: "*THIS* is NOT COOL."  Brava, Mommy!  Another command performance!

The good news is that Screamer has already forgotten the whole thing, it seems; when asked at dinner what she did today, she replied, "Went to camp this morning.... Oh, and I went shopping with Mommy."  The bad news is that I am mentally reliving on a loop the image of the metal mouth-holder-opener (because, as you know by know, I just can't torture myself enough).  And then there's also this minor detail: Did I mention that the same dentist I publicly insulted today is going to be performing a similar dental procedure on Sushi-- only this time in a *hospital* setting and with the use of general anesthesia due to the greater extent of repair work needed-- TOMORROW MORNING?  Good times!

[NOTE: If you're wondering what the heck is wrong with my kids-- or, more appropriately, some grossly negligent caregiver, whomever SHE might be-- that they need so much dental work done at 2 and 4 years old... trust me, so am I.  The dentist first looked at both kids' mouths and asked (with a tone that suggested that she already knew the answer) whether we let them drink soda all day.  WHICH WE DO NOT.  In fact, not only has such demon brew never touched their angelic lips, but Sushi, who has significantly more cavities than Screamer, drinks almost exclusively WATER, and these are two kids who think that "dessert" means FRUIT.  I mean, sure, I let them have some sweets, but we are NOT a junk food family.  (IT IS ONLY THE MOTHER WHO EXISTS SOLELY ON JUNK FOOD, though I look forward to some know-it-all writing in the comments section that the repercussions of my own bad habits have been directly transferred to my offspring through DNA and have caused actual physical damage to their persons.  I won't believe you!)  (slash, I will totally believe you, and sink deeper into my shame spiral.)  The competing theories at this point are these: (1) Because tap water in Dubai is not, as far as I know, safe for drinking, we and everyone else we've met consume only bottled water, which has resulted in the kids' teeth being tragically deprived of fluoride; and (2) It was genetically predetermined at the dawn of time that the children's teeth would be SUPERcrowded in their little tiny mouths, and the fact that their mini chompers have come in so tight-tight-tight up against each other means that we never really stood a chance against these insidious between-the-teeth cavities that are now ruining all of our lives.  (or at least, a significant part of our USA visit.)  Whichever theory proves correct, however, my maternal guilt will remain gloriously intact (CAVITIES ARE PREVENTABLE + MOMMY IS THE PRIMARY CAREGIVER = MOMMY IS A FAILURE) and will likely one day lead me to pen a shame-driven parenting book entitled, "YES, You DO Have To Floss Your Infant's Teeth Every Day, Even Though OUR Parents Never Flossed OUR Freaking Infant Teeth and Somehow We Survived."]

Ok, I could go on forever about my maternal shortcomings and my consequent self-loathing, but it's now 9 hours to hospital check-in, so I should try and get some sleep.  Wish us luck...  xo!

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Lambertastic USA Homecoming

Alright, even *I* can't believe that it's been a whole month, I've set a new blog inactivity record.  But if it makes you feel any better, please know that I am racked with guilt on a daily basis over how I've been neglecting you.  Thank you to my friend, the impossibly beautiful Hillary, for finally forcing my [pen] to [paper] and making me do this post!

So Daddy and I take the 3 rugrats and travel halfway around the world and suffer through literally 24 HOURS of travel, door to door, and, just when I am preparing to collapse in a defeated, lifeless heap on my USA doorstep, WHO should be waiting there to greet me?  None other than my gay soulmate, Adam Lambert!!  (Well, a giant Xerox copy of his Rolling Stone cover, but the surprise was almost as good as if he were there in the flesh.)  And he was ALSO there on the fridge... and in the utensil drawer... and on the tv... and *in* the toilet (I spared you that photo)... and, of course, sprawled invitingly on my bed.  I love the fact that my magnificent friend Wendy (wait, does she want an alias?  if so, she can be "Hot Pam Anderson Pre-Hepatitis C") didn't give a moment's pause to whether *DADDY* would want to come home after 24 hours of grueling travel to find Adam Lambert sprawled invitingly on *HIS* bed.  (For those who are wondering: Nope.)   This, people, is what defines a TRUE friend.  HOT PAM ANDERSON PRE-HEPATITIS C, I WORSHIP YOU!!  I WILL BE FOREVER INDEBTED TO YOU FOR THE BEST. HOMECOMING. EVER!  

(Editor's Note: If someone can possibly arrange for the *real* Adam Lambert to be waiting for me in my house the next time we visit the USA, then Hot Pam Anderson Pre-Hepatitis C, I will need to retract the previous declaration.  You understand.)

So we're really here: I am writing to you direct from our house in the USA (which, I believe, could fit in its entirety into the living and dining rooms of the Dubai house).  Aside from the filthy, repulsive, bloodsucking mosquito creatures that lurk in the bushes here, plotting their vicious attacks on my poor, unsuspecting toddlers, this place is treating us well so far.  (And it doesn't hurt that, due to the COLOSSAL FAILURE of my packing efforts back in November, there is enough of our junk here in the house that it feels as if we never left.  Kids' cups still in the dishwasher, 8 months later?  Check!  Fermenting food still in the fridge, 8 months later?  You betcha!  There was even stuff in the clothes dryer-- how considerate of me to prepare clean clothes for our arrival!)  Even the time change was-- just as smarty pants Daddy cleverly predicted-- not NEARLY the hell it was for us when we traveled TO Dubai.  (Something about how, when you travel to Dubai, you sleep on the plane and then arrive at nightfall and are unable to go to sleep again; whereas when you travel to the USA, you sleep on the plane and then arrive at daybreak, which means that you're not swimming frantically against the current for survival.)  Within a mere 2 nights, all 3 kids were back on a normal sleep schedule.  If I hadn't seen it myself, I would not have believed it.  Yay!!

What's it like being back?  Well, when we were getting ready to leave Dubai, I prepared a list of things I thought I would miss, and things I thought I would be happy to see again.  Here are those lists (in their original, unedited form):


* having PopPop living with us
* The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
* no rain
* no mosquitos 
* having the big kids' rooms in a separate wing from the baby's
* 24-hour childcare
* 24-hour housekeeping
* our Nestle watercooler
* the bagel delivery guy
* The Australian


* the oppressive heat
* the omnipresent construction
* feeling nervous about our Newishness
* having to repeatedly explain to Sushi why some women's faces are all covered up (guess I haven't yet figured out an explanation that makes sense to a 4-year-old)


* Newish people, in general
* old friends
* watching The View & What Not to Wear 

As to the accuracy of these predictions: well, of course it's been spectacular to see old friends.  And fun to watch my old tv shows (though both The View and What Not to Wear are not nearly as good as I remember them; when did Stacy London get so annoying?).  And I definitely do miss PopPop and The Australian.  And the bagel guy.  (Who EVER could have guessed that I would prefer the bagels found in the United Arab Emirates.)  And sure, I miss Alice and Julia when the kids are crabbing out and I want to leave some (read: all) of them at home while I run errands or something.

But the strangest thing for me, being home, is the realization that, not only do I not MIND this small house, but I'm kinda loving it: the way that the ground floor is really just one big room, oriented around the television (as the good lord intended it; our house in Dubai with its lack of a real family/tv room now seems like an abomination against nature); the way the kids are more or less always in sight; and the way the bedrooms, all jumbled up against each other on the second floor, give me a sense of security in knowing that the girls are just a few steps away.  

And even more than that-- and mark your calendars, people, because one day I'm pretty sure I'm going to be eating these words-- I've been surprised by how much I am NOT missing having the two housemaids around.  I mean, sure, Daddy is walking around in a shirt so wrinkled that I pretend I'm not his wife when we're out together... and the kids are back to eating pre-packaged dinners I only need heat for 30 seconds in the microwave... and I now have to wrangle away from Baby the food she picks up off the floor (whereas in Dubai, she happily eats floor crud with my blessing; after all, it is safe to assume that the floors were just mopped moments earlier).  But overall, I've been hit with this-- dare I say-- relief, in just having the house to ourselves again.  It's only now that I see how much work (!) it actually is having Alice and Julia around-- whether it's because I'm mediating their quiet disagreements or burning their American Idol DVDs (yes, I do that; still competing in an imaginary race to be named Coolest Domestic Employer) or making sure I'm always dressed appropriately (it's a real bummer having to wear a bra with my pajamas when I come down for breakfast).  Yes, I expect that the novelty of doing it all myself again (and when I say "doing it all," I mean, "doing the absolute minimum") will wear off and that I will do the slow-motion run into Alice's arms when we return to Dubai in mid-August... but for now, it's just nice to sit here, ALL ALONE in the house, at the computer, in only a towel.  Truth!  :)

So where's the rest of the family, you ask?  The big kids are at Newish day camp ("SOAK IT ALL IN, PAY CLOSE ATTENTION, TAKE GOOD NOTES," I tell them every single morning as they go out the door) and the little one is at Supernanny's home day care.  (Hey, parents who live in my area: Supernanny has a few spots left, contact me if you or someone you know wants to enroll, she's the world's BEST childcare provider.)  Meanwhile, Daddy is at some local Starbucks doing work on his laptop (I was going to wonder aloud why he doesn't just work from home, but then I realized that my newfound tendency to blog in only a towel might have something to do with his need to go elsewhere).  And PopPop and Harry-- poor, sweaty PopPop and Harry!-- are still in Dubai, intent on finding out the hard way just HOW HOT the Dubai summers are.  (Actually, Harry was not consulted, but he didn't object when I told him we were leaving, so...)  At PopPop's last check, it was 114 degrees there and climbing.  Good luck, men!  Drink a lot of water!! (from my awesome Nestle watercooler).  We miss you!

In other news, Baby has just turned 14 months and is still refusing to walk unless she's holding someone's hand (we will let this poor performance slide, though, because she's just SO. DAMN. CUTE. doing her baby sign language)... Screamer has developed an endearing habit of inflicting some injury upon herself and then concocting an elaborate lie incriminating her older sister as the perpetrator... and Sushi, much to my parental HORROR, is apparently in need of a whole mess of dental work to the tune of FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS.  (Please don't remind me that baby teeth just fall out anyway.  You KNOW that if there was any way for me to avoid fixing the kid, I would.)  But I guess I should just be glad that we found this out now and can have the work done in the USA... I still haven't been won over by the medical and dental services in Dubai. (Case in point: our Dubai dentist examined Sushi 3 months ago and sent her away with only a lollipop!  Thanks, doc!)  Think of us on July 24, when both Sushi and Mommy will be under heavy sedation...

Ok, I've been rambling for a while, and now it's time for me to get dressed and pick up the rugrats from camp ("Shalom and l'chaim, kids!").  Sorry again for being gone so long... I won't let it happen again.  xo.