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2014 Canadian Weblog Awards nominee

Happy And Healthy Smiles | #ProtectUrSmile


Our son lost his first tooth when he was five years old. I was simply wiping his face and it fell out right into his hand. Infuriated with me, he stormed out of the bathroom and demanded that I call our dentist immediately so that he could “pop” it back in. It took everything in me not to burst into tears laughing.

“Your teeth are supposed to fall out sweetie. Then you grow adult teeth.”

“I don’t want to grow up! I want to stay just a kid!”

“You’re not going to grow up right away.”

“I’m just a kid! Put my baby tooth back!”

“Do you know what happens with your baby tooth? You put it under your pillow and the tooth fairy comes and takes it. Then she leaves you money.”

“She leaves money for me?”

“Yup. And you can do whatever you want with it because it’s yours.”

His eyes lit up like a Las Vegas casino sign and practically shoved his entire hand in his mouth and began wiggling all the other teeth, “I fink dis one is oose too. Ooo dis one too. I’m gonna be wich!!”

That night, I crafted a special note and slipped it under his pillow along with a toonie and swapped it for his teeny tiny tooth. When he woke up in the morning, I could hear him gasp. He ran into my room shouting, “Momma! Daddy! She came to our house! Look she left me a note! I can’t read it! What does it say?”

toothfairynote

It was magical to see the beginning of his transforming smile.

Dentalcollage

My son loves his toothless smile. He thinks that it makes him look like a real professional hockey player! A few weeks ago we made a trip to the dentist to get him fitted with a new mouth guard. When he opened his mouth, the dentist jumped back and said, “Goodness gracious! We’ve got nothing left to protect in there!”

A lot of people don’t realize this but dentists are so much more than just making sure that you are doing a good job at brushing and flossing. Your dentist can actually help detect, diagnose, and treat/prevent problems you might not even know about such the condition of your gums, such as periodontal pockets, inflammation or other signs of gum disease, early signs of mouth or throat cancer, and so on.

Poor oral health can affect your quality of life including a person’s physical, mental and social well-being which is why we have to be proactive!

Here are some simple ways in which we can keep our smiles happy and healthy:

  1.  Brushing for 2-3 minutes at least twice a day to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. It may seem like a long time, especially for a small child, but there are ways in which you can make it fun. My son has a special app on the iPad that plays a song along with a quirky video for exactly 2 minutes. When the song is done, so is the brushing and he earns a fun virtual sticker to put in his virtual sticker book.
  2. Eating a balanced diet that includes whole grains, fruits & veggies, and lean meats.
  3. Wearing a mouth guard when playing sports or other aggressive activities. You can have custom fitted mouth guards made at the dentist office (depending if they offer this service). I find that these work beautifully for our son. It doesn’t cause him to “gag” like the store bought ones and they last much longer. They are also surprisingly inexpensive.
  4. Reducing your risks caused from stress, smoking and drug use.
  5. Seeing your dentist regularly.

Make your mouth your priority and call your dentist today to book your next appointment! Don’t have a dentist? Click here

toothlesssmile
Although this post has been generously sponsored by the Ontario Dental Association, the opinions and language are my own, and in no way do they reflect the Ontario Dental Association.

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

 

29weeks2

I had no clue that in 2 weeks, not only was I about to become a mom of a beautiful healthy boy, I was also going to lose my mind.

 

October 2008

Even though Shawn had printed out directions and we drove past the building three times the day prior, I was still terrified when I had to go by myself to my first psychiatrist appointment. I hadn’t been out of the house by myself in weeks. Oh, the things that could go wrong.

I could run out of gas. Then I’d have to get gas and I’d be late to my appointment. What if I didn’t have money to buy the gas? What if I didn’t know that I didn’t have money to buy gas and I already pumped my gas? Or what if I ran out of gas before I even got to a gas station? What if my car just blew up? 

I should just cancel my appointment.

“You’re being irrational. There’s nothing to be afraid of,” Shawn said and he was right.

I was 28 years old for crying out loud – a big sister of 5, a nurse in Detroit, hell I was mugged once which gives me street cred on a cul de sac – but as I drove through the seemingly big bad threatening Canadian city that I’ve lived in all my life with its noises and lights and suspicious people walking on the sidewalks, I felt like such a vulnerable child.

It was like someone took this….

 ….and put him in the locked car with me.

I was panicking.

It was only by the grace of P!NK’s CD, Jesus, and a new string of curse words, that I made it safely to the parking lot. 

A parking lot.

I had no idea where I was.

I called the office a handful of times and left messages like:

“I’m lost.”

“Can someone come out and find me?”

“No for real. I’m freaking out.”

“Oh hey, it’s Kimberly, your eleven o’clock appointment. You diagnosed me with postpartum depression and anxiety and I’m still here somewhere. I don’t know where. But I’m still here.”

Fine. I’m just going to leave, I thought and pounded my forehead on the steering wheel. Then I looked up and saw it…

“So, it’s Kimberly again. Funny thing happened to me when I was lost in the parking lot. I was in YOUR parking lot and parked right in front of YOUR office. I’m crazy so I guess this type of thing happens all the time. No? Ok then. I’ll be up in a minute,” I said to the office answering machine.

Dr. B’s was only on the second floor but I took the elevator. I remember that my hand shook when I reached for the door knob. I put my head down out of fear of bumping into someone I knew and walked in to the waiting room. The first seat I spotted was the one I flopped down on. Defeated – I couldn’t believe that I was there. ME.

When I was finally called back, I was too consumed with anxiety that I couldn’t articulate my words. I made odd hand gestures trying to explain my feelings, kind of like a game of charades but it was no use I thought. I was an unfixable crazy freak and I was going to be locked away forever. No one understood this except…

“You’re really anxious and are feeling very angry,” Dr. B said, “You’re not going crazy. We can fix this. Yes you’re a good mom. No one is taking your baby away. My wife isn’t here so yes, I can keep my dirty shoes on my desk if I want to. And you’re thinking of the number seven.”

beardofzeus

Medications were started and stopped and started and stopped but my mercurial moods were difficult to control. They had earned me a permanent spot on his ugly couch much, much longer than I had anticipated and in 2010, after I locked myself in the bathroom because I believed that bad men who smelled like peppermint were coming to get me, I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder.

Living with a mental illness is hard, just like any illness is, but it does not define my life. It does take work and at times it takes so much of it that I’m worn right down to my bone marrow. That’s why I am so grateful for all the support and love and encouragement of family and friends.

A mental illness needs a village yet so many suffer alone.

In this book, one of which I have the great privilege of being a part of, Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor , there are over 40 pieces of first hand accounts of the highs and lows of mental illness. Often we only see the depths of mental illness, but to find humour in life’s moments will provide hope to those who suffer so they too will laugh again.

SMITHcover

Our goal is for all people who suffer from mental illness to find solace in the words and struggles of others and realize that you are NOT alone. You CAN survive this. We ARE here for you. 

*All contributors are donating a portion of our fees to a local charity – mine is going to my local Canadian Mental Health Association branch.

 

Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor is available today:

Amazon Paperback ($12.99)http://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Mental-Illnes…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

 

You can also follow Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor on:

Website: http://www.survivementalillness.com/  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Survivementalillness  
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LaughToSurvive

 

 

 

Say Puppy

Say puppy.

Go on say it.

Say it.

Say puppy.

Puppy.

Puppy. 

Did you smile?

How can you not smile when you say puppy?

My post-procedure recovery buddy

My post-procedure recovery buddy

My brothers rehearse this bit from a Chris Farley movie whenever anyone needs to be forcibly cheered up. Just imagine yourself at a funeral and three goofy grown men with horrible fake French accents begging you to say “puppeee”.  You’d  “shoosh” them I’d bet and then refuse because you’re mourning and it’s totally inappropriate, but when one asks you what kind of animal is grandma wearing in her casket you’d look over at her lying peacefully in her handpicked “ever after” outfit. You’d remember the times when she scoffed at the idea of “so-and-so” getting their greedy grubby hands on her beloved fur…

“It looks like she’s wearing a puppy.”

And you bust out laughing.

That really truly happened.

We are a special kind of family.

Missing: Steve...lost in the Canadian snow banks a.k.a New Brunswick

Missing: Steve…lost in the Canadian snow banks a.k.a New Brunswick

Saying puppy has actually become my thing. When I’m overly anxious I start repeating “puppy” over and over in my head. I know. I can’t believe I’m admitting that. It helps though and sometimes it makes me giggle out loud so if you see me smiling and laughing for no reason, I’m probably saying puppy or picturing you naked.

My anxiety has been overwhelming lately. For one, I ran out of my medicine while my doctor was on holiday and my pharmacist wouldn’t give me “just this much” to tie me over until he returned.

Long story short, when your pharmasict asks,”Do you really need this anyways?” do not mistaken it as a challenge. He is being an asshole and YES you NEED the medication.

You also need to find a creative way to hide that new dent in the wall.

And you need a new coffee mug.

PUPPY!

Despite the anxiety, my blood pressure is still low. I went to have my lidocaine infusion for my chronic pain and my baseline pressure was 95/58.

It kept dropping as the infusion continued but I was so thankful for the lovely patients in the room who were so supportive.

“Well no wonder. Look at her! She’s nothing but skin and bones.”

Puppy.

“Do you eat dear? Are you eating enough?”

Puppy.

“You could wrap the blood pressure cuff around her waist for God’s sake.”

Puppy.

“If you pump that up any more, you’re going to snap her little chicken bone in two. Be gentle!”

Puppy. Puppy. Puppy. Puppy.

Heaven forbid that I pointed out the size of their waistlines. I was f*cking humiliated but yet I still smiled.

And of course I gloated about the ice cream and huge piece of cake with thick vanilla icing I was going to plow through when I was done with my infusion.

It was all a lie of course but f*ck them.

They have no idea.

My blood pressure started to come up after the infusion was stopped but my doctor didn’t feel comfortable carrying on with my paravertebral facet joint nerve blocks. So I was rescheduled for the second part in two weeks.

PUPPY!

The infusion left me really dizzy and nauseous and in bed and sorry for myself and…

PUPPY!

And Shawn has been working a lot and is working today and…

PUPPY!

But this guy is here keeping me company and for that I’m very thankful…

He's hogging my heating pad and claimed the remote but I'm totally cool with that.

He’s hogging my heating pad and claimed the remote but I’m totally cool with that.

And besides the word PUPPY! Music really pushes me out of these moments days weeks months moments and I think this is a good weekend to update my iPod.

With that said, I’m thanking YOU for helping me with some song suggestions.

Go on…what song gets you in a good mood? gives you a good cry? makes you feel angsty?

What song speaks to you?

I’m loving this right now:

 

 

Ten Things of Thankful

Chocolate Cake

He looked like poor Augustus Gloop from Charlie And The Chocolate Factory with melted chocolate painted around corners of his mouth. His hazel eyes were at half mast as he struggled to get through that very last bite of the warm chocolate chip banana bread. He slammed into the back of his chair and placed both hands over his swollen belly.

Chunky Monkey: Oh Momma, that was so good. Kaitlyn is going to make this and chocolate cake for me.

Me: Kaitlyn is going to bake? You’re only six dear.

Chunky: Momma, I know that! When we are older and married and living together like you and daddy. She’s my wife when I’m older.

Kaitlyn, a fiery red head full of sass, was the little girl who helped Chunky break out of his protective shell and pry him off the teacher’s leg during the first few months of JK. They became really good friends and then one day she said, “You’re my boyfriend.”

And then one day right before the JK teacher, Chunky said, “Wanna get married?”

And she said, “Sure but I wanna finish playing with the water table first.”

And he said, “And we have to live at my mom and dad’s because I love my toys.”

*The teacher wrote me a nice poem about the event*

They went "trick or treating" together this year. When it started to rain, Chunky held the umbrella for her....and her candy bag.

They went “trick or treating” together in SK.
When it started to rain, Chunky held the umbrella for her….and her candy bag.

Shawn: There are a lot of girls that you’ll meet you know. You might not marry Kaitlyn.

Chunky: Dad, I’ve met lots of womenS already. Lots of womenS. I’ve met Alexis M. and Alexis S. and Olivia A. and Olivia B. and Victoria and ugh I can’t name all ten of them. I know that I’m marrying Kaitlyn. I know it.

littlemisskandc

Me: Well you two are still so young. How about you guys be really good friends –

Chunky: Mom, she is my best friend and I’m going to marry her and she asked me to marry her like 500 seventy something times already in the school while I was playing soccer. I know I’m marrying her. I know because I feel it in my heart.

Apparently Kaitlyn does too.

letter

 

Do your kids have crushes? This young?
I remember boys being gross at this age!

 

 

Mama’s Losin’ It
Prompt: A story of love..

One Pill, Two Pill, White Pill, Yellow Pill

Our son’s teacher pulled out the world’s smallest chairs for us. Shawn stared down at them and then at me, “Where’s the rest of it?”

“It’s not that bad!” the teacher said as she took a seat and then effortlessly crossed her long thin legs that had gobs of yellow and brown paint along the sides. “Your son and his classmates sit in them every day and they don’t complain,” she winked.

Miss is everything you imagine a grade one teacher would be like – strikingly beautiful with a bright and bubbly personality that matches the energy of the 19 little characters she spends six hours a day with.  It’s no wonder our son absolutely adores her.

“Your son, I notice that he worries a lot. You can see it in his face. I know this because I worry a lot too. I’m starting to choke up here,” she fanned air in her face, “I have issues with anxiety.”

Shawn stopped wrestling with his gangly legs that had nowhere to go besides in a mini bookshelf and gave me the side eye. I knew he was waiting for me to say in a high pitched voice “me too!” and then jump up and hug the shit out of her for being so courageous in her admission and then perhaps start a discussion about which psychiatrist has the most comfiest couch in the city.

But the room stayed so silent you could’ve heard an ant fart. 

“Ughm,” Shawn cleared his throat.

“Yes, I used to take medications for it. I don’t anymore.”

“You don’t? You don’t have it anymore? Wow! That’s great,” Shawn said.

“Oh, I still have anxiety. I just don’t take medications anymore. I do things like yoga and meditation!” she exclaimed sitting upright like a pretentious puppy dog awaiting a treat and a pat on the head.

Yes, yes! Go on! I thought as I leaned in.

Please tell me how you eat only the stems of organic flowers that were handpicked by people who don’t even have hands! And by doing so, it erases all your worry.

“Sometimes I just have to walk away and, this is embarrassing -”

Oh how embarrassing is it? Let me guess, you rub beet juice in your belly button?

“- but I have to take time outs just like the little kids but with a good cup of tea.”

And whoop there it is.

The magic.

No. No. And No.

I shook my head at Shawn whose face – what is that look? Is that new hope?

Ugh. God damn it.

I hate hearing inspirational stories about people who used to take medications for a mental illness but now they don’t have to anymore because it makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong and it gives Shawn the impression that I’m doing something wrong.

Am I not working hard enough?

Am I not strong enough?

Is it me?

Is it?

Well, yes it is me.

I do have something wrong with me.

I have bipolar disorder – a real illness with no cure.

I would love to be like the Miss’s out there who can rely on things like time-outs with hot teas but sadly I will never be like them.  It currently takes four different medications to help control the paranoia, anxiety, depression and mania. And all those wonderful things that Miss does, I do too. They play a huge role in my healing: self-care (adequate sleep, routines, proper nutrition, mindfulness, yoga/walks, etc.) and complementary medicine using vitamins and acupuncture and everything else I’ve tried.  Believe me, I’ve tried lots of things.

It’s a continuous push and pull.

It has taken me such a long time to get to this point where I can accept that it’s ok for me to take Ativan when I can’t “1, 2, 3 breathe away” the panic attacks – it doesn’t mean that I’m weak.

I’m trying really hard.

I need medications to control what is wrong with me – bipolar disorder – or it will control me.

Worse, it could kill me.

I choose to live and if I have to swallow pills, then I will.

I’m not ashamed of that.

standalone

Source: SplitShire

And I’m happy for all of the Miss’s out there who conquer their anxieties/mental illness without medications. Medications are not for everyone. We all have a choice and whatever choice that may be, we should all be supportive of one another. Mental illness is a horrific beast and no one should have to fight it alone.

 

*I do love Miss. She is a phenomenal teacher.

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