Random Thoughts on Thursday: all about teeth

Teeth. Funny little things, without which we would struggle to do a lot of things. It’s all about teeth here this week…

~ Porter-the-kitten lost a fang the other day. Do you know how I know? Because I found it on my kitchen bench. If I was typing this on my phone, this is where I’d insert the wide-eyed “what the…?” emoji. On the bench. Ew.

~ it’s apparently unusual, but a six-year-old can teeth. Tiny has his adult molars coming through, and he’s like a baby, shoving his fingers in his mouth as frequently as he can. The dentist we saw yesterday has told him he shouldn’t, and I’m hoping her words will stick where mine haven’t.

~ Pickle has over-crowded teeth, and hypomineralisation, which combine to give him extra-sensitive, extra-vulnerable little chompers. Add in the fact that he loves sweet things and is a reluctant tooth-brusher, and you have a recipe for disaster. Luckily, his wee mouth is clear so far, but we need to be extra-vigilant from now on. Try telling that to the nearly-four-year-old who wants to be Mr Independent!

~ it’s been over six months since my braces came off, but sometimes I still feel like they’re there. Phantom braces?? Is that a thing??

~ kids all around us are losing their baby teeth but Tiny’s are holding fast. I’m quietly loudly glad about this, as wiggly teeth give me the heebie-jeebies. I’m sure my own didn’t bother me as a kid, but now…the sight of a near-vertical tooth makes me want to vomit. Husband will be dealing with the wigglers, that’s for certain.


Adult Braces: the final chapter

My teeth were freed from their bracketed prison exactly two months ago. I love my “new” teeth. I don’t do it so much now, but for a long while I did a double-take every time I brushed them because I was convinced that they weren’t actually my teeth.

IMG_2655 They felt weird – long and slimy – and loose; for almost 19 months, there’d been so much pressure in my mouth from the brackets, wires and rubber bands, and suddenly, it was just my teeth and two permanent wire retainers.

2 Lake Tekapo (13)

I lisped for around two weeks, which made me giggle; my tongue would catch on the top retainer wire. It took me a while to trust that I could eat properly again. Straight after getting the braces removed, I walked along to see my husband at work, then bought two new lipsticks. I never used to wear lipstick because I didn’t want to draw attention to my ugly teeth; now, I wear it every chance I get because I want my teeth to stand out. I paid for these babies, and I’m going to show them off.


At night, I wear a tight plastic retainer on both sets of teeth. They’re like a mouthguard, only much thinner and lighter. They make me gag, but once I’m asleep, I don’t notice them. I’ve stopped worrying that the teeth have moved, but instinctively still flick my tongue over the surfaces to check for food stuck in the braces. Some habits are hard to break.


A good friend commented recently about a photo she’d seen of me on social media: “Your smile was huge!” I don’t feel embarrassed about my smile anymore, and for that reason alone, I’d say that the total cost was money very well spent.

2015: The Year of New Adventures

As Christmas and the end of the year approach, I find myself looking back in wonder at every new adventure my family has had this year. It’s been a big one, and to say we’re tired is an understatement. However, it’s a pleasant tiredness, the way you feel after a full day spent in the garden; we’re weary, but we can see how far we’ve come, and it’s satisfying.

Active Mums Kids

One of the biggest changes around here would have to be Tiny turning five and starting school. After a rough first day, my biggest his found his rhythm and absolutely loves school. He started the year not being interested in writing or reading, and is now often found with his head in a chapter book, reading quietly to himself. He’s made some lovely wee friends and likes to come home and share what he’s learned with his little brother which is so sweet to see.

Reading at 5 Pickle also had a big year, finally starting kindergarten. He would go every day if he could, but has just three sessions a week; his friendships have been developing over the year and while he’s not as talkative as his big brother, he’s very good at articulating his ideas and games to others.

Kindy Kids

Both boys are currently Avengers-obsessed, and Pickle has joined his brother in thinking Lego is the best toy ever. They play together so beautifully, and Tall and I often remark how we feel a bit redundant because they don’t need or want us to play with them anymore!

Pickle and AvengersBoys playing

Pickle and I had the pleasure of attending very good friends’ wedding in Fiji, which was amaaaaaazing, and as a family we embarked on a tiki tour from Dunedin to Taranaki and back again in the last school holidays. Tall’s sister welcomed a gorgeous baby boy into the world, I got to get my rock on at Rod Stewart and Fleetwood Mac concerts, and my braces finally came off.

Fleetwood Mac Dunedin

I’m sure there’s been many more highlights, and there has been some sadness, but mostly, 2015 has been a good year, and I’m looking forward to more fun times in 2016.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas, surrounded by people you love, and a marvellous start to 2016 xxxxxxxxx


Adult Braces: 17 months in

When I scattered carrot seeds into the vegetable garden recently, one of my first thoughts was about how much I loved pulling carrots straight from the garden, rinsing them with the garden hose and munching them on the spot. Then I remembered that braces wearers aren’t supposed to bite straight into those crunchy orange morsels, for fear of bending a wire or breaking a bracket. The joy of planting those seeds was slightly dampened, but I consoled myself with the fact that at least my boys could enjoy the experience, even if I couldn’t.

A week later, I had a routine appointment at the orthodontist. “How do you like your teeth?” she asked. “Is there anything you’re not happy with?”

“Are you kidding??” I grinned. “I love them! They’re so much better than when I first came to see you!”

Lake TekapoEmily laughed, in a I-should-hope-so kinda way; as she bent the upper wire and re-fitted it, she told me we’d be making the next two appointments at this visit.

“Oh, okay,” I replied, thinking she was just being extremely efficient because we’re approaching Christmas and holiday season. I was slightly disappointed; she’d mentioned aiming for having the braces off before Christmas.

“Yes,” she said. “One in seven weeks, then one the week after so we can take your braces off.”

I was speechless – stunned – momentarily, but as a big smile spread across my face, I found my voice. “Really?? That’s so great!”

Friday 20th November is D-Day for unveiling my new-and-improved choppers. To say I’m excited is an understatement – even though I hardly notice them anymore, knowing my time wearing braces is almost finished is such a relief. It’ll be weird, and I know I’ll ulcerate my tongue by playing with the permanent retainers I’ll be fitted with, and I’ll probably think my beautifully-straight teeth are hideously stained, but not having to think about rubber bands or worry about food getting stuck in the wires is going to be amazing.

Smiling is going to get a whole lot more fun, too.

Adult Braces: a 12-month update

Adult Braces: 12mths inWaiting for Rod Stewart with one of my best girls (with gorgeous teeth) xx

It’s been over a year since I had my braces fitted. Apart from a slight ache every now and then, I usually forget that I’m wearing them. Hooking in a couple of tiny rubber bands is second nature, and I think I’ve moved past my intense desire to bite into a crisp, juicy apple. I still wish I could gnaw on a big hunk of raw carrot, but I think I may have been cured of my child-like piggyness regarding chewy jelly sweets. I’m still hesitant to give a big toothy smile in some situations, and always rush to a mirror after eating, but generally, life goes on as normal.

The movement of my teeth has been gradual but quite phenomenal to experience. My bite has changed drastically, and the roof of my mouth has opened up. My palate has always been incredibly narrow, but Tall was surprised when I excitedly told him about my measuring tool: chocolate Lindt balls.

12 months ago, a chocolate Lindt ball (approximately 25mm in diameter) would get stuck in the roof of my mouth and I would dribble like a teething baby wait elegantly for it to melt before being able to move it around. Now, there is a little room to move (still not huge; my jaw is apparently very childlike, just like my feet), which is quite exciting.

At my last orthodontist appointment, my lovely orthodontist said she had six months in which to “tweak” things, which means I might be metal-free September-ish. I’m willing to wear them as long as it takes to perfect my smile, but if she’s right….well, September will see me buying as many apples, carrots, stalks of celery and cobs of corn as I can carry.

Adult Braces: a 9-month update

I’ve been wearing my braces for just over nine months now, and I’m potentially at the half way mark. I say “potentially” because I haven’t broached the subject of removal with my orthodontist yet; she indicated I’d be wearing them for 18-24 months, so I’m just hoping it’s the lesser length.

Adult Braces - 9 month progressTop: Day One. Bottom: Day 286

I don’t really notice them anymore, except on days when I have the wires tightened. For the last three months I’ve been wearing rubber bands to alter my bite, and they can be a bit annoying, but they are necessary, so I just roll with it.

There are things I do miss though. I miss eating carrot sticks and celery, and I’m over slicing the kernels off fresh cobs of corn. I can’t wait to gnaw at a pork rib or chicken drumstick (sorry, vegetarian friends), and even though I don’t really like apples, I salivate at the idea of taking a big bite out of one of those crunchy suckers.Cutting toast and sandwiches into quarters or eighths has become habit, but I’d really like to chomp down on a crusty, chewy bread roll once in a while.

The thing I don’t miss is my crooked smile. Despite having little bits of metal decorating my mouth, I don’t hesitate to smile widely whenever the mood takes me, and when I cover my mouth when I eat, it’s now because I’m checking for bits of lettuce stuck in the brackets, not because I’m ashamed of my teeth.

Cheap-As Tuesdays

Now that I have spare time again, and I’m used to my braces, I’m enjoying getting back into my kitchen. For the past few weeks, I’ve been cooking fairly simple, similar dishes, meals that I know won’t take long to prepare, and that I hope will be eaten with little or no protests from my boys. While Tall was away, I made three meals, and we ate leftovers or variations for the eight days. While we were on holiday, we ate a lot of salad-based meals, with fish or meat on the side, but it’s a bit cold for salads in Dunedin right now.

I took great delight in sitting down with recipes on Sunday, planning our week’s meals before doing the groceries. It felt so nice to spend time doing one of my favourite things – thinking about food – and it felt great to plan meals that were different, healthy and hopefully delicious. An added bonus was that Tiny was watching me flick through Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals, and chose two of this week’s meals based on the pictures he liked.

PizzaInspired by Elizabeth’s post about meal planning and food budgeting over at To Find a Silver Lining, and by SAHM I am‘s current What’s Cooking Wednesday series, and the distant memory of posts I used to do long ago, here is this week in meals in the Tall, Short, Tiny & a Pickle household:

Sunday: malai kofta with rice – a recipe given by a friend, which takes a while to prepare, but is definitely worth the effort! Everyone ate and enjoyed this curry, which was very mild but so flavoursome.

Monday: Thai red prawn curry – one of Tiny’s choices, a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals. It was spicy, and de-heading the whole prawns saw me retching into the kitchen sink, but the flavours were delicious and the near-voms were an acceptable trade-off. The fish lady at our local supermarket wanted to get rid of her last few prawns, so discounted the lot by $10/kg for me, making this dish much cheaper than it might otherwise have been!

Tuesday: sweet and sour pork – a recipe from Tana Ramsay’s Real Family Food that I’ve made before and we’ve all enjoyed.

Wednesday: Thai-style chicken soup – another Tana Ramsay recipe, but one I’ve not tried before. The spices will be much more muted than the prawn curry above, as this book is aimed at families with children who may not have tried spices before.

Thursday: Pregnant Jools’ Pasta – another Jamie O. recipe, and another of Tiny’s choices. Pasta and sausage-meatballs, essentially – but very tasty and appealing to my pasta-loving boys *this week’s Cheap-As Tuesday meal*

Friday: pizza (pear and blue cheese; salmon and cream cheese) – our classic favourite variations.

Saturday: orange chicken bake – a Tana Ramsay recipe that I’ve made before and we’ve all enjoyed. Leeks, potatoes, oranges and chicken pieces, baked and served with crusty bread to mop up the juices. Yum.

All of these meals will be completely home-made, and I was quite proud of myself for managing to buy everything we needed for these dinners, plus kindy lunches, breakfast staples, fruit etc, for about $40 less than I had been spending. Winter (and June, particularly) is an expensive time of year for us, so keeping the weekly shop cost down is something that’s on my mind at the moment.