Brushed off by the Tooth Fairy

Author: natalie  //  Category: Life with children

Using today’s vernacular, I’ve got a problem that bites. I’m not sure whether to call the American Dental Association or Mythological Figures Local 521, but the Tooth Fairy has seriously fallen down on the job in the last few months. I need to speak to her superiors before my household requires her services again.

She failed to visit the night of my daughter’s last tooth loss, and my poor son had to wait four nights for her to show! I told him not to give up, and covered for her by explaining that she probably worked alphabetically, and that with a “W” name, the odds of her making it to our home on the first night were slim. I’ve taken some heat for her, looked into the sad little eyes of a forgotten child as the tooth was discovered unmoved, and it’s high time someone got to the root of this.

I called the secret parental hotline reserved for dealing with such issues (1-800-URINEPT), and the operator who answered in India didn’t have a clue what I was so upset over. It seems as though the Tooth Fairy doesn’t operate globally. Given the problems I’ve had, I’m considering the less-complicated customs of other countries in dealing with future lost teeth.

I’m also somewhat bothered that my children put this imaginary, supposedly beautiful and angelic woman on a pedestal. I have to deal with the grisly side of tooth loss, administer the salt water, and clean the tooth without dropping it down the drain. She flutters down, perfectly coiffed, decked out in a white dress, glittering wings, and leaves money under their pillows while they sleep.

I would be jealous of her seemingly perfect image in their psyche, but I saw her one night in the hall, and she wasn’t “all that”, or the bag of chips. I should have given her a piece of my mind right then and there, but I was too tired having waited on children to fall asleep and all. Childhood is dangling by a mere dental-floss thread in my house; otherwise, I’d rat her out in a second.

Adding insult to injury, she has also reduced pay rates without bargaining with management first. She once left twenty dollars for four teeth forcibly removed by the dentist, but her generosity ended there. The oldest was never left anything less than five dollars, while the younger two are lucky to get a quarter. Apparently tooth loss is just not as big a deal as it once was.

My youngest painstakingly writes her the sweetest letters, and ceremoniously prepares for her visit. How dare her to let them down like this! Who does she think she is? I realize she has reached the apex of her career,  earned a spot at the table with Santa and the Easter Bunny, but does she think she can forget about the little people who got her there?

As of this writing, there are three loose teeth in my house. I hope this whole situation can be rectified before the next one comes out. I think I’ll wait up for her, and make sure she gets it right.

© 2008 Natalie Whatley

I see hazards in my future

Author: natalie  //  Category: Wedded bliss

Back in October, I went on an interesting ride-along with the man in my life. He’s been looking way ahead to retirement, and has requested that I pick up a new skill before he gets there. With the intent of fostering long-term marital harmony, I agreed to a day of observation. I even got to drive the cart! Since hand-eye coordination has never been my strong suit, twenty years may not be long enough to master what has been asked of me, but I’ll give it my best shot.

Golf slowly encroached upon my life through my husband and oldest son, who plays for his high school. Dinner conversations have become difficult for me, as my comprehension of the subject is sub-par. I have no choice but to learn, or be left behind.

Our field trip to Eagle Pointe landed on a crisp, serene day. The sun was shining brightly, a gentle breeze blew through the leaves of the many trees, birds were chirping, squirrels were amorously chasing one another, and men (I was the only female around) were basking in the radiance given off that only a Monday spent absent from work can produce.

The miniature hills were slightly covered with dew, the sprinklers were sprinkling, ducks swam happily in the ponds (sorry, water hazards), and water softly flowed over the rock waterfalls. Sights and sounds that should have been soothing and relaxing actually proved to be problematic. The “facilities” on the back nine were out of order, and I was told the tee box wasn’t at all intended for what I had in mind.

In an effort to ignore the water, I thought I’d concentrate on the much-needed vocabulary lesson. I had no idea my man was a hooker, and the worm burners were amusing given dear hubby seemed very upset over having hurt the poor creatures. I overheard him muttering something I’m certain were condolences. The ball washer was particularly funny, but I thought better than to ask for a demonstration. Oh, and don’t be a divot out on the course. Have you seen that tool? Ouch! Through my own efforts in self education, I have found that the tees work nicely for propping my eyes open while I watch the Golf Channel. 

And, speaking of tools and gadgetry, I don’t ever want to hear another male peep about what us ladies carry around in our purses. Check out those enormous golf bags; I can confirm the contents of a Golf Galaxy store are inside. It’s no wonder they need a cart to drive that thing around.

I’m not sure that at any point in my life I’ll be able to deal with the sort of frustration I witnessed on the golf course. I presently go to great lengths to avoid that very thing. I’m just a little birdie hoping to one day fly with the eagles. Heck, I’ve got twenty years, and I’m a clean slate with no undesirable golf habits. Yep, I’ll be able to beat the pants off him. Oh wait…I think that may be what he wants.  


© 2008 Natalie Whatley

Need Motivation?

Author: natalie  //  Category: Holidays, Life with children, National


               The new year is young, and the annual “get fit” message is in full swing. Who among us can ignore the fresh-faced people sporting the latest in workout fashions and gear, appearing in the mailbox before holiday overindulgences are fully digested? It’s enough to cause a psychotic fit only repeated when those same models appear once again, sans the workout clothes, showing off their gazelle-like bodies and loudly proclaiming “swimsuit season is here”.

                Fitness fads past and present make it quite clear that long-term motivation is key. While pondering that thought, I stumbled upon a revelation that has got to be the Holy Grail in fitness motivation for parents. There’s important work to do in the future, and we’ll need to be in tip-top shape. I know it doesn’t sound like much fun in the here and now, but anything worth having is worth waiting for, right? The anticipation alone gets my blood pumping. Do you see where this is heading? We’ve got to live into old age; there’s retribution to be paid.

                Not all parents feel the need to give back to today’s youth, but Jeff and I regularly fantasize about the things we’ll do when we visit our grown children in their homes. Recording the finer points of our plan protects good ideas from being lost to future “senior moments”, and quite frankly, it’s what keeps us going.

                As it is my goal to motivate others into good health, I’ll touch on the highlights: complain about the meals prepared; carve on the furniture with a pocket knife; put plates of half-eaten food under the bed, not to be discovered until a family of roaches has moved in, and multiplied; stop up the toilet, continue flushing until overflow is achieved, and tell no one, as this is a treat best experienced with no warning; and last, but not least, stuff wet towels (same ones used to mop up toilet overflow contents) into the deep recesses of a closet, and close the door to ensure the proper warmth and humidity mildew needs to thrive. Get the picture?

                In the past, I have dieted/exercised purely for vanity’s sake, but as I rapidly approach forty, I’m becoming more concerned with my health. This recent epiphany makes sweating and eating right sound almost enjoyable. Doctors say healthy habits that will carry us into the geriatric stage of life must be consistent, and started early. I hope I’m not too late.

                Of course I don’t really plan on doing those things to my children, but it is FUN to think about. I’m still going to make some deposits to the good-health account, and be a good steward of the vessel that will see me through this life. If nothing else, I want to be around to receive the exasperated phone calls beginning with “you’re not going to believe…”.  Yeah, I’ll believe it. I wonder if they’ll realize who planted the seed in that darling grandchild.

                Younger people secretly wonder why senior citizens are such a happy lot; now we know. Take care of yourself now…you’ll be ecstatic later.

© 2008 Natalie Whatley

Mid-life has come to roost in my nest

Author: natalie  //  Category: It's all about me, Life with children

I’m suffering from empty-nest syndrome…well, sort of. It’s not the traditional variety that comes to mind after children have left for college, or married. It’s the kind where nestlings, who are in various stages of fledging, leave via a yellow limousine each week-day morning, and return in the late afternoon, incessantly chirping, wild-eyed and hungry.

This disturbance began about three years ago when the baby started kindergarten. Since the most labor-intensive part of child rearing is over, I’ve attempted various activities to occupy my mind and body…only to find where my niche isn’t.

Being a stay-at-home mom naturally lends itself to certain activities, but I’ve found that too many involve being with small children. I’m stuck in this strange limbo of missing my children, and loving my new-found freedom. That contradiction is part of my plight. I love the company of others, as long as I don’t have to wipe their nose, or cut up their food.

It seems I should be doing something constructive with my time, but not one, myself included, knows exactly what that is. Oh sure, there’s laundry, grocery shopping, more laundry, bathroom cleaning, and did I mention laundry? Who wants to do those things all day? I worked hard as a young mother to perform the aforementioned with the greatest of efficiency. Now I’m left with idle time, and it’s a little scary.

I’m looking for something a tad more exciting than watching mopped floors dry, but not nearly as time consuming as say, PTO president. My new life must take place during very specific hours. From two to ten p.m.,Monday through Friday, I’m the welcome wagon, teacher, counselor, chauffeur, academic advisor, chef, nurse, dental hygienist, confidant, disciplinarian, and accountant to three fledglings. There’s no particular order to my duties, and sleeping is generally allowed, but subject to change.

It’s a new year, and I’m searching for the elusive new me. Not new exactly, just very different from the person who entered motherhood fifteen years ago. I caught glimpses of my future self from time to time as my legs went unshaven in lieu of bedtime stories, and my wardrobe slipped into fashion past. I’m on the cusp of morphing into her, and moving on to a new phase in life.

As I near the end of the kids’ Christmas break from school, I find myself pining for some much-needed peace and quiet. Problem is, I’m all too aware that when I have empty hours in the nest, I get bored. Although the job description that goes along with the title of mother changes fairly frequently, I think I’ve mastered the skills, and can handle whatever new things come my way.

I’m taking up a few new interests, spreading my wings so to speak, and hoping I remember how to fly. Don’t mind me swooping overhead, and please enjoy a hearty laugh when I crash as I try to land gracefully. I’ll be flying around looking for myself…this could get interesting.

© 2008 Natalie Whatley