Kemi, like “chemistry”

Random Musings of the Misunderstood

Tooth Trauma December 16, 2010

Filed under: Hannah,motherhood,parenting — Kemi @ 2:48 pm
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Last night I did something to one of my children that I feel terribly guilty about. It was something I SWORE I’d never do, no matter the circumstances, but I caved and did it anyway. I couldn’t even follow through with it completely, which makes me feel even worse for needlessly inflicting such trauma.


I am a horrible, horrible person. I deserve whatever Karma comes my way. *


What could she have done? you ask. I’ll whisper it to you. Come here. Closer. (No, I’m not hiding anything behind my back. Certainly nothing from my tool kit.) Are you ready? Sitting down? Okay.


I tried to pull out Hannah’s barely-wiggly tooth… with a pair of needle-nosed pliers.


Oh, the shame!


See, when I was a little girl, my teeth were horribly stubborn, and while I loved the idea of losing teeth and getting money (money!) for them, I wasn’t terribly motivated to wiggle them and make them fall out. And my permanent teeth, possibly hoping to avoid the power struggle, chose to come in around those stalwart baby teeth, making it necessary for my sadistic poor (I get this now) parents to chase me around the house with pliers, hold me down, and yank them out. I feel it necessary to point out that NONE of these teeth were even the slightest bit wiggly, even with crazy permanent teeth growing in around them. (I was like a shark, with rows and rows of unevenly-spaced white teeth, the better to bite your finger with if you try to stick it in my mouth, thankyouverymuch.) I still remember the taste of the cold metal, the painful twisting from side to side, the sharp crack of roots, and the triumphant final yank that filled my mouth with blood and made my parents shout thinly-veiled threats encouragements about wiggling the baby teeth next time, in order to avoid the pliers.


A child loses something like 20 baby teeth, right? Guess how many I had to have pulled? Go on… guess. If you said 19, you’d be correct! NINETEEN TEETH. No, wait. Twenty-three. THERE WERE TWENTY-THREE. The dentist took pity on me after hearing how many times my parents used the pliers, and pulled a few quickly and (mostly) painlessly each time I went in for a cleaning. Then I had an orthodontist who rivaled Steve Martin’s character on Little Shop of Horrors, and he was HAPPY to inflict great pain. He even did something that I’ve tried to block out, so horrible a procedure it was, that involved cutting up into my gumline in order to make a path for the permanent teeth to, I don’t know, FALL DOWN INTO? It was horrifying and extremely painful, is my point. Novocaine didn’t even begin to take the edge off. And how could I have forgotten the wisdom teeth that were extracted (also under Novocaine) in my dentist’s chair? I remember passing out at some point, because I could see the gaping holes reflected in the dentist’s protective goggles, and when he had to put his foot on the chair by my head in order to get enough leverage to yank out the (impacted) tooth, the pressure was so great that I was certain he’d extracted my soul, as well.


(Pardon me… something seems to have unsettled my stomach.)


Okay, so after all of this history, which came back in startling clarity after last night’s “experience” **, can you believe that I tried to pull the same stunt on my adorable little daughter? I mean, who could do something so terrible to this face?



It all started on Sunday, during a particularly boring High Council Sacrament Meeting (add one more offense to the Karma list). Hannah showed me how well her first permanent tooth was growing in, and I started wiggling some of her other teeth, to see if any more were loose. The other bottom tooth was just a little bit wiggly, so I looked to see if I could see another tooth coming in. We found it behind her baby tooth, ready to break through her gums (not the gumLINE, mind you) at an angle that would suggest it was trying to jump down her throat. “You have until Tuesday,” I said. “Wiggle it lots and lots. If you get it out right now, your big tooth may decide to come through the baby tooth hole, instead of through the back of your gums.”


She wiggled half-heartedly on Monday, and by Tuesday, it had tightened back up. There were two white points behind (and under) her baby tooth. I sent her to school on Wednesday with the admonition to play with it ALL DAY LONG (I know… her poor teacher just LOVES me) so that it would be easy to pull out when she got home. Can you guess what happened? No wiggling. None. Tight tooth, and now three points were visible behind it. “Okay,” I said. “The tooth has to come out. I’m going to go get my pliers.”


I’m not sure what she said in response. It was too hard to tell through all the tearful screaming. (Hell. I am going to dental Hell.)


Long story short (too late!): The tooth was too tiny to get a firm grip with the pliers, so after a few jabs into her gumline and some bleeding I HOPE was due to cracking roots, I put them away and tried some tweezers. Then I tried my fingers. Tears dripped down her cheeks and onto her shirt, and I found myself shouting helpful things like “Stop squirming! Do you WANT your new tooth to point back, instead of up?” and “Do you know how many teeth I had to have pulled? Do you?” and “Move that tongue back before I pinch it in the pliers.” In the end, I gave up. Kenny promised me he’d take over if I couldn’t do it, but in a move that was either sheer cowardice or pure brilliance, he suddenly remembered that his car needed gas for tomorrow, and there was just one more Christmas gift he had to pick up before the store closed. Hannah changed out of her tear-soaked shirt and into pajamas, and softly cried herself to sleep, while I fought the urge to pull one of my own teeth in penance.


We see the dentist on Wednesday.



*(Broken jaw, perhaps? Wired shut for six months?)
**(if not a broken jaw, then probably a mouth full of broken teeth that can’t be repaired, and thus will have to be pulled and replaced with dentures)


The Wrath of Kemi June 27, 2010

Filed under: Church,kids,parenting — Kemi @ 3:13 pm



If my children bother you during church, and there are adults on both sides of them who don’t think their “disruptive” behavior is at all problematic, it’s not okay to lean over the bench and threaten my kids with making them come back to sit with you from now on, especially when we are sitting right there.  (And you wonder why they shy away from you when they see you in the halls…)


WE are the parents, and WE will deal with our children accordingly, when we feel like there is a problem that needs to be addressed.


YOU? Are not the parents, and have no business disciplining our children for us.


Next week, and from now on, I really hope you’ll choose a new seat.  Because if this happens again? WE WILL HAVE WORDS.  And they won’t be nice ones.


Thank you.


When You Burn a Girl a CD (Or, Why I Have a Slight Crush on Jason Mraz) June 11, 2009

Filed under: kids,music,parenting,Uncategorized — Kemi @ 9:59 pm
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When you burn a girl a CD, she will listen to it every single moment she is awake.

After she has listened to it approximately 25 times, she will ask you to print off the lyrics for each song.

After you print off the lyrics, she will sing along.

As she sings along, you begin to pick up the lyrics as well.

After you can sing every song on the CD, some phrases begin to stick out.

As you ponder those phrases, you begin to apply them to certain life experiences.

Those life experiences remind you of other songs, which makes you go to i-Tunes and download them.

After you’ve downloaded those other songs, your daughter hears them and asks you to burn her a new CD.

And, when you burn a girl a CD, she will listen to it every single moment she is awake.






Potty Power Struggle March 18, 2009

Filed under: Anthony,parenting,Uncategorized — Kemi @ 10:32 am

      I am determined to potty-train Anthony by the summer if it kills me.  (It very likely will, so I want you to be prepared for my funeral.)  He has been “interested” in using the potty for more than a year, but the minute he found out that I wanted him to do it, the training became more of a game.  I have lost count of how many pairs of training pants he’s soiled just minutes after getting up from the potty, in acts of defiance.  We’ve tried candy bribes, going potty for pennies (brilliant idea, btw), giving him Cheerios to “aim” for, choosing “big boy” underwear, begging, whining, yelling and crying.  (Lots and LOTS of crying.  From me, of course.)


     The little stinker is completely unmoved.  And unmotivated.


     He’ll be going off to college in diapers, I’m afraid.  (Although, it would completely serve him right.)


     On Monday, I decided to get aggressive with the training.  I made him strip from the waist down, which he hated, and he went bare all morning.  He kept telling me, “Mom, this is as-gusting.  I want pants.”  He made it to the potty three times, and purposely had an “accident” on the floor, which I rewarded with a swat on his (bare!) bottom.  [Mother’s note: Had it been a real accident, I would never have done that.  This was deliberate.]  He got a diaper for nap time, and went bare in the afternoon, until we went outside to play.  He did pretty well, but complained constantly about being “naked and as-gusting”.


     Yesterday was a potty no-go, as I was at the school and Kenny will have no part in potty-training, so this morning we started our second naked day.  Anthony is furious with  me, and has spent the better part of the morning wiping his (bare!) (clean!) bottom over every surface of the house and playing with his penis.  And narrating every tug and tweak.


     It makes me want to flush myself down the toilet.


     What do you do with a willful three-year-old who knows what to do, but refuses?  (Besides flush HIM down the toilet…)


Sisters, sisters, never were there such devoted sisters… March 15, 2009

Filed under: Hannah,Kendra,Living the Gospel,parenting — Kemi @ 9:05 pm
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     Kendra has been sick since Friday night.  She caught some sort of flu bug and then vomited for the next 18 hours.  She spent the better part of two days on the couch, watching movies, begging for sustenance, and making frequent trips to the bathroom.


     In short, she’s been absolutely miserable.


     She napped for a few hours on Saturday evening, and when she woke up, she came out with a sleepy smile and said, “I can’t believe I made it through the night!”  The poor girl was devastated to know that it wasn’t 8:47 AM on Sunday morning, but 8:47 PM on Saturday night, and she’d only been sleeping for two hours.


     The look on her face was priceless.


     She’s doing much better today.  She hasn’t thrown up since last night, and she even managed to eat a very little amount.  Her biggest complaint is feeling weak and extremely sore, which is to be expected after you turn your insides out.


     After I tucked the kids in, Kenny and I started watching “Grey’s Anatomy” on the computer.  He heard a noise and turned around to find Hannah crouched under the kitchen table.  We coaxed her out and asked why she was up.  Her little face crinkled up and she wailed, “I hate it when Kendra’s sick!”  After a few hugs and some encouragement, she continued, “I just don’t want anything to happen to her.”


     I reassured her that Kendra would be just fine.  I also asked why was so worried about something happening to her sister.


     “Because if she isn’t there, I wouldn’t have anyone else to talk to, and stuff!” she replied, and burst into tears again.


     Kenny reminded her that she prayed for Kendra to get better, and she just needed to have faith and wait for that to happen.  “It’s already happening,” he reminded her.  I suggested that she go back and say a prayer for herself, and to ask that she could get some rest and not be so worried.  She agreed to try it, and after another round of hugs and some drying of tears, she scampered off to bed.


     About thirty minutes later, the show ended and I went to check on the kids.  They were all sound asleep, except for Hannah.  She bounded out of bed to come and hug me.  “Thank you so much for telling me what to say in my prayer,” she told me, as she threw her arms around my legs.  “I feel so much better now!  You are the best mommy in the whole world!”


     I don’t know if I can hold a candle to that sweet little sister.  She makes my heart happy.


A Simple Plan Postscript February 21, 2009

Filed under: family,kids,parenting,Relief Society — Kemi @ 10:36 am
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     I spent a lot of time thinking, typing, and deleting during yesterday’s post.  When I finished it, it was almost 11:30 PM, and I felt like while it wasn’t exactly what I had hoped to say, it was good enough.


     I was wrong.


     Okay, not wrong, exactly, because I did want to talk about simplifying my schedule and my home, but I didn’t want to come across as beating myself up for my lack of mothering skills.  (For the record?  I think I am a GREAT mother.  I could be better, which is what I’m striving for.  But as I am?  I’m pretty darn good.)  What I didn’t touch on yesterday was the overwhelming feeling I’ve had lately that I can be happy with simple.  I like simple.  I think simple will like me, too, as soon as it finds me.  (Hee hee)




A Simple Plan February 20, 2009


     I’ve re-typed the intro to this post at least a dozen times, and I’m still not happy with it.  I’ve decided to abandon it altogether, and just jump into this post with both feet.


     One…  two…  THREE!


     I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about the life I’d like to live, compared to the one I am.  I’ve also been feeling especially nostalgic, which I figure means one of three things:


1.  I have caught up with a lot of old friends on Facebook,

2.  Worrying about making ends meet makes me long for my carefree childhood, or

3.   My spirit is trying to tell me something.


     As I’ve pondered these feelings, I’ve decided that I have too much “stuff” in my life.  Too many things.  Too many distractions.  Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in stuff, and it’s killing me.  (How is that for dramatic?)  It’s not just household clutter, although there is plenty of that.  It’s the outside stuff that steals my time and my focus, and makes me shake my head at the end of the day and wonder why I didn’t get more done.


     Computer, I am talking to you.