Our tough little cookie

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's been a rough couple months for Mommy and HJ. Along with the beginning of school came a barrage of doctors' appointments, transitions, and a flare-up of emotions and tantrums that just about did us in. I realize now that during those times when we were barely keeping afloat, it wasn't that I didn't have time to blog, it was just that I couldn't bring myself to think of a positive spin on the situation, so I didn't want to stop and reflect. But now that I feel we're turning a corner, I can acknowledge that I'm actually pretty proud of how HJ has dealt with all of these challenges.

In the past few weeks, HJ has been to the pediatrician for her annual checkup, a specialized developmental pediatrician for her apraxia and other delays, a dermatologist for her ezcema, a child psychologist for her anxiety, and no less than four trips to the dentist culminating in what was probably the most traumatic experience of all -- a pulpotomy (basically a root canal), which ended up requiring a combination of laughing gas, versed (a sedative), a papoose (essentially a child restraint similar to a strait jacket), and three dental assistants holding her down.

After the procedure, which lasted about 45 minutes but felt like an eternity for me and I'm sure even longer for my baby girl,  the older Eastern European dental assistant, who looked pretty intimidating herself, looked straight at me, shook her head, and said, "Your girl, she's tough." Yes, tell me about it... The understatement of the year. How could a 32 pound, 4 year old little girl put up such a fight, you might ask? If you don't know HJ, the term "fight or flight" doesn't exist for her -- it's basically all fight. The dentist even told me she was probably the most difficult patient she has ever had. In fact, she suggested in the middle of the procedure abandoning everything and rescheduling for general anesthesia, but in that moment I knew there was probably no way I was ever going to convince HJ to come back to the dentist office if we didn't finish it all right there. 

So long story short, HJ and the rest of us survived.  And what was the very first thing my baby girl said to me as soon as it was all over? She groggily tried to sit up as they unstrapped her and asked in a voice hoarse from screaming, "Mommy...my purple nail polish..." You see, I had bought her this tiny little bottle of sparkly purple nail polish the day before, and she had been holding on to it for dear life during the entire ordeal. But somewhere in the midst of the chaos, it had gotten lost. Thankfully, we recovered the nail polish, and I scooped her up and gave her the biggest hug I possibly could, and we left that dentist office as soon as we were able. On the way out, though, the dentist spotted her with her pacifier, and she gently reminded her that it wasn't good for her teeth to use it anymore. And after three years of trying to wean her off of that thing, it took only those few words from the dentist for HJ to decide right then and there that she was done with that pacifier for good.

We're hoping that letting go of the pacifier (her "baby-guh") is just the beginning to saying goodbye to some other baby behaviors that have overstayed their welcome... Although, if there's anything I've learned from being HJ's mom, it's that she'll move on only when she's good and ready. So I might as well enjoy these moments with my big baby girl before it's really too late...

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