Friday, August 21, 2009

College Fund? You're Wearing it

"If someone can't afford to put braces on their kids teeth then they shouldn't be having kids". That was part of a conversation between two teenagers in an English writing course I took at the local college eight-ish years ago. At the time I was in my late twenties [perhaps, thirty], a mother of two, and the oldest person in the class. The student body consisted mostly of those fresh out of high school, many of whom where there at their parent's insistence and dime. And a handful of those were the irresponsible type that wanted to borrow your notes from the previous class because they, once again, skipped out during the break, because they were the type that were used to charming their way into getting what they need. And I was the type that had no qualms about teaching them a lesson in consequences for irresponsible behavior and was like, um no.

I remember the conversation because we were sitting around reading each other's writing assignments. The assignment was to write three descriptive paragraphs about your favorite restaurant. As I sat there and read about Chi-Chi's Pizza, The Olive Garden, and Cousin's Burgers; I wondered if my summarization of Mon Grenier in Encino would invite the children to introduce a whole new world to their taste buds. Even though I detailed how the waiter in this French restaurant would wheel an apron wearing dressmaker's dummy to your table and read the menu aloud in English thick with French and you're all SALMON! I'll have the salmon! Because it's the ONLY THING THAT CAME OUT OF HIS MOUTH THAT YOU UNDERSTOOD. Although, you did understand crispy salad but you weren't sure why it was crispy and you weren't feeling risky. And you may not have understood but you soon realized that the chocolate covered strawberries injected with liquor were going to knock. you. out.

But I écartez-vous ... "If someone can't afford to put braces on their kids teeth then they shouldn't be having kids" - she stated smugly and matter of fact. I don't know (nor did I then) what kind of pampered priveledged bubble this young lady sprang from, but a mouth full of perfect teeth isn't a basic need. Oh, it's nice, sure. But not part of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Getting FOOD past those teeth, yes. Getting food past STRAIGHT teeth? No. Many new parents are busy providing immediate needs, and if they're fortunate, planning for college and maybe a car. It's really a crap shoot if braces are going to be necessary at all...not everyone's teeth are jacked. And many new parents also dream of the day that they will own furniture that hasn't been vomited on, peed on, or worse. And by worse I mean, a blow out diaper full of poop soup that shoots straight up the baby's back and out his or her collar. You're welcome.

All of this to tell you that Boy-Child#1 is now sporting braces. And little Miss High and Mighty would be happy to know that I met her threshold for decent parenting.

15 comments:

Sue said...

What color did he get? My girls like to switch it up every 6 weeks or so! Yeah, I have 2 in braces. It's all about them fitting in with the crowd right? Bwahahahahahahaha!

Amy said...

Our son also needed to get braces this summer. Or so the dentist told us. Well, four braces (on his four front top teeth) and headgear. The rest will come after he gets all his "big boy" teeth in and his overbite (he has an overbite? I sure couldn't tell) is corrected enough not to interfere with the bottom braces.

I never got braces, and I turned out okay. Well, maybe okay is a stretch, but, you know. My teeth seem to work and such.

You know, every time I think about going back to school or taking a class, I think about snotty know-it-all teenagers and reconsider. Serenity is a terrible thing to waste.

Sue @ My Party of 6 said...

*sticking my fingers in my ears so I can remain under the illusion that the four sets of braces on my horizon are affordable* Lalalalala, I can't hear you!!!

abby said...

I fear the day my kids will need braces.

but on the privileged and sheltered note, I once had someone tell me I had bad parents because they hadn't set up a college fund for me. never mind they couldn't AFFORD to set one up. still bad parents. good thing it was said over the phone cause I was feeling violent over that one.

and from what I've read here, you're a great mom, braces or not.

Suburban Correspondent said...

I hate to sound crazy, but I would pay for the braces before I pay for college. The bar has been raised so high, dental-looks speaking, that anyone in our kids' generation with crooked teeth will be at a serious disadvantage at a job interview. Unfair, but true...

I do sound crazy. But there you are.

katydidnot said...

oh, mom of the year stuff. i love when that happens!

Karen said...

I was so lucky none of my kids needed braces....I'm not sure if I could have afforded them at the time but I would have found a way.

JoeinVegas said...

OH, $$$$$$

Mariah said...

If I had to choose between straight teeth and a colege fund, I'd say a college fund hands down. Thankfully I have both, but only b/c my cousin is an orthodontist and is doing my kids' braces for free. Cuz God knows I can't afford it

MommyTime said...

Ahhh, the shades of things to come. I thank goodness for good insurance. (Does that make me a bad parent, a good one, or just a lucky one? I can't tell.) I hope his mouth is feeling okay.

Mommica said...

Our E (5) was at the dentist the other day and the Dr. informed us that we had an awesome fun-filled, debt-ridden future full of lots of metal on the kid. "Oh she'll have all sorts of problems with her cross-bite, thanks to your husband and his mouth." When I took my fingers out of my ears, I was all - "Oh good you're actually still 5. You've got plenty of time to go get that job to start saving. Now get out there."

Martie said...

I have 8 kids. The first needed (and still has) braces--she's 18. Next in line is my 12 yr old stepson. I'm hoping that some of these kids will have semi-straight bites and teeth. I'm going to say...we'll get you to college, get a degree and pay for your own braces.

Katie @ Can't Get There said...

Don't you hate it when you KNOW those darn kids aren't right...but then it looks like they ARE right. And you hate to lend them creedence by explaining...but you really can't help yourself. Happens to me rather frequently, unfortunately.

Saucy said...

Miss Loopy is sporting braces from the very cosmetic dentist that tended to Mr. Brad Pitt's chiclets, no less. This requires a six hour drive each way and an overnight in a hotel to facilitate each and every adjustment. Gah.

Oh, we have orthodontists here but Loopy, being OCD and struggling with Asperger's needed the kind of appliance that is WELDED ONTO A COMPLETE FUCKING SET OF CROWNS and this is why we are not replacing the leaky roof this year.

Gah, again.

I hope Miss High and Mighty reads your blog! I also hope she also has four girl children with mean overbites.

class-factotum said...

My mom didn't get braces until after she was married and had had three children. My farmer grandparents didn't get that memo. I guess they shouldn't have taken in those six foster children, either, because they couldn't afford to give them braces.

My college roommate was slightly horrified that my mother didn't get a job to pay for my college education. I guess she didn't get the part about how moving every three years with your military husband and living overseas isn't exactly conducive to employment, especially when the civilian jobs on base are by law reserved for local nationals.