Monday, March 18, 2013

Trust Those Mama-Instincts

So the last several months have been a bit of a struggle for Anna and me.  She is a super smart, strong-willed, confident, sassy little thing.  We were having knock-down-drag-out fights over the most minor things.  She gets an idea in her head and there is no way to deter her from that idea.  Ultimately it would end with me being very frustrated and literally dragging her (kicking and screaming) to her room for time out where she would yell, scream, and throw things until it was time to come out.  She has a very hard time hearing no, and behaves as if the rules that have always been the rules are some sort of surprise every time she gets punished for breaking them.  As a mom just really doing her best, I was getting WORN OUT.  I decided I needed to go see a therapist just so I could get my feelings off my chest.  I know I can always be better, but I need someone to help me get there.  So I went to a guy at Kaiser and while I'm sure he is an excellent therapist, he was not for me.  However, the one thing he did recommend was that I take Anna to visit one of the child therapists.  So we've been seeing a therapist together for a while now and I really feel like we're getting somewhere.  Anna won't talk to him yet, but he has a lot of helpful suggestions for me - and I really feel like I am understanding her better, and life has gotten a little "easier". 

In the midst of all this, she had to go see the dentist for a large cavity in her mouth.  Miss Thing would not even sit in the dentist chair.  The had me sit in the chair with her on my lap so they could look in her mouth.  They discovered one tooth that was going to require either a polpotomy (a baby root canal) or extraction.  And several other teeth with various degrees of cavities.  His recommendation was that we go to a pediatric dentist to have the fillings done so that they could sedate her since she wouldn't even sit in the chair on her own.  So we went to the pediatric dentist, where, once again, she refused to sit in the chair.  Their recommendation: Full anesthesia.  Knock her out, let her sleep....all for the low price of ~$850 out of pocket!  Well, I was considering it until today... Again, one great thing came of that appointment: the dentist recommend we cut out any kind of gummy snacks.  This would mean fruit snacks, fruit roll-ups, gummy vitamins, etc.  We had a lot of stuff like that in the house.  But I decided we needed to do what she asked - otherwise Anna may be in for more of these appointments than we'd like.  So, bye bye gummy snacks.  I figured while we were doing it, let's cut out as much of the other sugary stuff as we can.  High-fructose corn syrup became my focus.  I've eliminated just about everything in my house that contained high-fructose corn syrup and guess what...Anna's behavior has improved dramatically.  She still has tantrums, and still struggles in some areas, but she is so much easier to reason with. We rarely have kicking and screaming fits and she's listening so much better!  I really feel that the high-fructose corn syrup was messing with her head!

I had been reading about strong-willed children and read that celiac disease can also cause behavioral issues in children if left untreated.  I spoke with her doctor about it and he said it would be worth checking out - only it would require a blood test. Oh dear, really, you think I'm going to get her to sit still for a BLOOD DRAW?  Oy.  Well, my sweet friend Erin offered to take Anna for me because it was just really stressing me out.  So Erin took her and told her that the people in white coats were scientists and they needed to take a little bit of her blood so they could study it.  Anna marched right in there, put her little arm out on the table, watched the "pokie" go in her arm and take her blood and never flinched!  So, now I know that she's capable of doing difficult things without all the dramatics.  We all know our kids act out more for us than others, and Anna has never been any trouble for her teachers at school or church - so it makes sense, but now I know what she's capable of!  (Blood test was negative for celiac, btw)

The dentist called last week to schedule Round 1 of her treatment for her cavities.  We discussed the possibility of using nitrous oxide (laughing gas) for the treatment but I told them that after her superstar behavior getting her blood drawn I didn't think it was going to be necessary.  I told them I'd be more than happy to have that as an option should she need it.  So I told her I was not going to be able to be in the room with her for her appointment, because clearly I invoke the drama within her.  So I took her back to the room and had to pry her little hands from my neck, but I plunked her in the chair and headed to the waiting room.  About 5 minutes later, the assistant came out and said that they were able to calm her down enough to sit in the chair, and that they needed my consent to use the nitrous.  I said, "Have you tried to do any work on her?"  Answer: "Well, no, we wanted to do the nitrous first so she would be calm enough for us to work on her".  I told her that I would prefer that they try to do some work prior to using the nitrous.  She takes the message back and promptly returns to the waiting room and asks me to come back and talk to the doctor.  So I meet her right outside Anna's room, and I can see Anna in the chair (but she can't see me) chatting quietly with the other assistant.  She is sitting perfectly still, not crying, just interacting with the assistant.  Doc says she "highly recommends using the nitrous up front to create a calm, peaceful environment so the child is not traumatized.  We need to do 4 fillings that are very minor, they are the smallest cavities and we want her as calm as possible, because if she can't do these 4 fillings with nitrous then we'll know that she won't be able to do the more difficult ones and we'll require full anesthesia."  Ummm, aren't you looking at this the wrong way? I thought that we had agreed that we would try it with nothing, THEN do nitrous if she has any trouble.  Why not give the kid a chance?  Why go straight to DRUGGING HER when you don't even know how she'll react.  She is sitting still, so go for it.  She tried to convince me to do the nitrous for a good 5-10 minutes when I finally insisted that she move forward without it.  I told her that if she totally freaks out, then we can reschedule for another day and use the nitrous, but I feel in my heart of hearts that she can do this - she needs to prove it not only to me, but to herself.  She reluctantly agreed to try it without.  So she asked me to remain standing by the door to see how she would do.  They laid her chair back, put a bib on her, put little safety glasses on her, and went forward with their work.  They were so good with her, explaining what every tool was, showering her with compliments and stickers, turned on a movie on the ceiling, etc.  After about 5-10 minutes, they turned to me and said "You can go wait in the waiting room, she's doing great." D*&% right she's doing great!  I TOLD YOU SO!!!  (That's what I said in my head).  I quietly returned triumphantly to the waiting room.  After about 10 minutes the assistant came out and said, "She's doing so well, we'd like your permission to do two more teeth"  UMM, YES!  Do as many as you'd like!  So, needless to say, I'm ridiculously proud of my little girl today.  She got 4 fillings without any nitrous and without any numbing agent of any kind.  We scheduled another appointment for the other teeth that are a little worse, and they'll need to give her a shot of a numbing agent, but I think I've convinced them that she's a tough little cookie and won't be requiring nitrous next time around.  I just thought it was so odd that the pediatric dentist just resorts to nitrous as an automatic necessity.  They were really really good with her - why not go with that?  Why drug them unnecessarily?  Very frustrating.  But I am sooo glad I stuck to my guns and didn't let them do it.  Score one for Kristie!  Score 10 for sweet Anna!  I'm so proud of her!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Savings Account??

We have a savings account.  Well, we've always had a savings account - we've just never been able to keep anything in it!  I had to post a picture - a screenshot of our Chase account, which we opened specifically for the purpose of getting out of debt.  Recap:  Last February I opened a Chase Credit Card with 0% interest for 15 months.  I transferred our CC balance to that card with the goal of paying it all off within that 15 months.  Starting balance: $13,160.00.  We set up the Chase checking account to receive a direct deposit totaling $700/month that would go straight to the CC.  We officially made our last payment on March 1st. 12 months!!  We are going to continue to have the money deposited into the checking account, then promptly transferred to the savings account.  So the screenshot below shows a balance in the SAVINGS account - and a $-.07 balance on the credit card.  Notice also, the statement showing that the credit card account has been CLOSED and is UNAVAILABLE for use.  :-)  This makes me happy.  I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who purchased pies from me, or brought me sewing projects, or payed me to babysit your kids, or just plain cheered me on along the way.  Every little extra bit helped, and we witnessed SO many miracles through this process.  I am soo excited to be here - it sorta felt like we'd never see the day!  WOOHOO!!!