The Family photo

I just wanted to share with you all what my christmas card would have looked like had I the mental fortitude and gumption to actually print them out and mail them. I'm also going to give you a little window as to what family photo day is like when you have a family with seven kids.

It ain't pretty.

See, you get your cute little 2.5 kids in candy cane sweaters and hair bows, you pack into your sedans and you waltz into J.C Penney and get your family photos done. You're all sitting up straight, you're having a good hair day, your kids don't have any black eyes or visible cuts and they're happy and smiling so cute you swear you saw a freakin' twinkle on their teeth. You might even be wearing matching pj's and santa hats and bring your dog in with you, because hey, he's part of the family. Then you run out and get nice postcards made with sweet sayings and you mail them out to family and friends. All this two weeks into December so everyone can get it in time.

That is a happy story.

Now....family picture day for a family of nine is a whole 'nother ball of wax. Mine were done in August. But they were supposed to be done in June. Let me explain. First, I had to develop a color scheme. We've done green, black, beige and white. And I don't go for all that matchy-matchy stuff so what I do is scour the stores looking for something decent for each kid to wear that is in the same color family. Then I have to make sure my four boys get a haircut. Minus Diego because he is rocking that whole long-haired Ashton Kutcher look. Although he did look a little ratty that day. Then I have to make sure everyone is injury-free. It didn't work out that way this year because the night before we took these pictures, Maya fell off the bed and got a rug burn right under her eye. Nice. A little dab of concealer and she was fine. Then I have to find something cute/flattering/cheap/comfortable/camoflauging for me to wear. I learned several years ago to always cover up my arms in pictures because, again, it ain't pretty. And Michael, well, Michael is a very versatile man. Just tell him the time of our appointment and lay out his entire outfit on the bed for him, from the shirt on down to the underwear to the socks and he is good to go.

Then there is the scheduling factor. We can't take pictures without my stepson being here. It had to be a few weeks after our camping trip because we were all burnt to a crisp. But it had to be before Mikey had to return home for school. Should I make an appointment the first thing in the morning so the kids are all bright and bushy-tailed but I am swollen and grouchy? Later in the evening so I have enough time to get my mind in order but then the kids want to have pizza and get stained with sauce? What about Michael's busy work schedule? And there can be no major holiday coming up so the studio isn't a pain in the butt to be at, swarming with people. Tired yet? So after all the stars aligned with the moon, we were prepared for that appointment. First, I bathed all the kids assembly-line style and made sure their nails were clipped and their ears were clean (because you know you can tell a kids' ears are dirty in a family photo--geez). "Brush your teeth go and get dressed in the clothes that are laid out for you I don't want to hear any complaining, yes you are going to wear that shirt I don't want to hear you fighting over the belts put your shoes on--your good shoes!--and then sit down on the sofa and I don't want to hear a peep out of you!"

They love mama on family picture day. I am a woman possessed. A lunatic. They are fearful for their lives, Daddy included. As I am in the bathroom trying to conjure up this well-rested, earth mother-y, serene look (forget the concealer, string, gun powder and spackle it took to look like that), I am peeking my head out screaming,

"Not those shoes!!"

"Diego, comb your hair!"

"You did NOT brush your teeth!"

"Yes, for the tenth time, we are going to get pictures done!"

"You're hungry? Go eat an apple!"

"Diego, comb your hair!"

"You all better be sitting down on the sofa!"

"Put those markers away!"

"Just wear what I tell you to wear!"

"Diego, comb your hair!!!"

Interestingly enough, I always order them to wear their good shoes even though I will make everyone barefoot for the photo (except Daddy, who has his own personal foot issue. Ahem).

Then we all pack into the van and make our way to the mall. Then I have to fight all the kids off that big stupid camera that is in the Picture People lobby so they don't get dirty and sweaty because they just love to slide off that thing on their belly. Who knows what kind of filthy kid germs are on the inside of that thing. When we are finally in the room, our photographer has to figure out how to situate all these kids. Good thing my photographer happens to be my sister-in-law. She knows how to crack the whip on them. She also knows that her brother and I can only be on the hard floor with kids all around us for a couple of shots because we are old and it hurts our butt. Snap, snap, snap. We do various poses but I swear none of the kids are focused on the same spot. I was threatening karate chops to the neck through clenched teeth in between shots if anyone got out of line. Which is hard to do when you are smiling and trying to eradicate the ole double chin.
Finally, success. Now we just have to wait the hour for the film to be processed. Yay, we get to walk around the mall with all our lovely children and have people stare at us, count us and whisper about us as we walk by. When we were at Mrs. Field's getting the kids a cookie because they were so, gulp, well behaved, the girl behind the counter asked if the children were all ours. Yep, allll ours, we smiled. Wow, just like in the olden days, she said. Um, yes okaaaay.

So I got sheets and sheets of wallets done, in hopes of sending them out. But life passed me by. And Christmas was upon us. Should I send out christmas cards with a photo we took in the summer? Surely I would be penalized by such a thing. So I didn't. Then I got christmas cards from friends chillin' on their trampoline, my cousins at the lake, my other cousin's daughter dressed as a fairy on Halloween, my pastor's family in a huddle, the Gomez's in Hawaii with their Hawaiin shirts for goodness sake! And here I was getting all cuckoo because we are wearing brown. Whatever. So much for Christmas card etiquette.

I've now decided that I just might send out this photo to celebrate the New Year. I also just might write one of those corny letters about how our family is doing, right down to our little dog and what kind of treats she likes to eat (carnitas!). You never know, I just may surprise you.



My dad is a Vietnam Vet, so my entire life I endured any and all movies about the subject (my absolute favorite being, We Were Soldiers with Mel Gibson--I bawl my eyes out every single time). He deals with what went on during that time with self-deprecating humor...sometimes that is all you have to get through it. So over the years we have had many a good laugh about his jungle rot, being sprayed with Agent Orange, having shrapnel lodged in his chin and any and all of his personality defects are blamed on his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

According to the V.A., he is about 80% crazy. But its all good.

I have been enduring a little P.T.S.D of my own....only around here, after christmas, we call it Post Traumatic Stress 'n Gift Disorder. It happens every year, my own little toy-induced hell. My children get all these cool toys and gadgets and dolls and tea seats and Captain Jack Sparrows and dinosaurs.

And they fight over them. All day and night.

Its all I can do from pulling out my own hair. It is exhausting being a referree. Sometimes I stand there, clueless as to how to resolve it and I say, "Go ahead. Fight to the death for it. I'm gonna go have a cup of tea. Try to keep it down, please." I mean, what in the world do you tell them? I don't know why I find myself exasperated every year. You would think I've come to expect it. They are never satisfied with their own gifts, their brother's seem so much more fascinating. So they do the little trade-off. I'll let you play with my Gameboy if you let me play with your pirate ship. Then two minutes later. Gimme back my Jaaaaaack Sparrooooooooooow!! Maaaaaaaaaaaama!! He won't give me back my toooooooooy! Even my daughters have joined the foray. Maya got a little vanity toy with fake lipsticks, brush, comb, nail polish, perfume...if one of her brothers or sister so much as get near it, she lets out this piercing scream. The kind of scream that makes dogs howl and mothers get brain spasms.

Can you see me twitching and mumbling and trying to hide all day long? Its enough to make me contemplate a tubal ligation. And for the love of all things holy, I don't get any meds to cope with all this like my dad does!

I'm not one of those parents who buy all their kids exactly the same stuff. What fun is that? But after they are arguing and whining and stealing and bartering and crying...it makes alot of sense. The boys took my baby's big fat legos and then she cries and crawls right over for Maya's baby stroller...who screams and goes for her big brother's Hot Wheels....who in turn freaks out and tries to stash his brother's brand new 24 pack of Sharpies in his pocket...then that brother whines and freaks out until he realizes he has a very powerful bargaining tool in his pocket, the only Captain Jack in the house...then they all exhaust themselves from all the bickering and watch the Veggie Tales' Gideon movie. When that gets old, its back to fighting over toys.


I remember one year, I actually found my stepson (who was seven at the time, now he's a ripe old 13) climbing into Noah's crib as he was taking a nap and he was trying to pry Buzz Lightyear from his iron-fisted toddler grip. It was like a scene from a movie. Freeze frame this long-legged boy dangling over the edge of the crib, trying to grab that stupid Buzz Lightyear in complete silence...and then getting caught, his eyes as big as saucers when he heard me coming around the corner to bust him.

I also try to keep track of everyone's stuff, which is hellooo, freakin' impossible. I try to get the kids to put their stuff in little rubbermaid totes and wicker baskets so their rooms can look like the kids' rooms from a Pottery Barn catalog. It ain't working. There are legos all under the beds. Tea cups in the bathtub. Hot Wheels under my butt on the sofa as I type this.

I'm coping. Come the first of the year, everything will either be broken, lost, tossed over the fence, batteries will die or have passed on to the dustbunny graveyard (under mama's bed) and I will return to the peaceful, toyless existence that I once knew.


ringtones 'n stuff

I am firmly convinced that cell phones companies provide you with booty ringtones so we would be forced to pay for cool ones. I've had a cell phone for I don't know how many years and I've survived thus far with the tone that sounds just like Who Wants to Be a Millionare?...I've used the little samba tone when I'm feeling saucy. I've even used the clapping tone, which to me sounds like gunshots. How gangsta.

But I just recently broke down and paid my hard-earned (shut up--wipin' butts and breaking up fights and cooking 24/7 is hard work) $1.99 to Verizon and bought a ringtone. I can now join the cool club of teenagers and preteens who buy ringtones for their phones. Kewl.

I'm not gonna front, my first search was old skool hip hop. I checked out some Rage Against the Machine songs but they just didn't sound right. I was also floored to discover that the Beastie Boys are considered old skool. Holey crap. Boy, did that make me feel old. I almost settled on Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" but eh, that didn't do anything for me either. Some of the tones were hella funny with their little synthesized sound.

Finally, I found the perfect ringtone. Prepare yourself. Ice Cube. Ghetto Bird.

Now, I'm aware that I am a paradox of sorts. Fundamentalist Christian. Mother of a large family. Devoted wifey. Into alternative education. Artist. But do I love me some Ice Cube. Seriously. Ever since I was in high school, bumpin' N.W.A. Then when I went to college, I was into Ice Cube, specificially Amerikkka's Most Wanted. You may think it's mindless gangsta rap, but Cube was always dropping science. And he is funny. But foul. I used to have to listen to him with headphones on because my mom would have gotten all mexican on me and tore up my cassette tape.

If you don't know what a ghetto bird is, you better ask somebody! When I went to college and lived in East L.A., the ghetto bird was out pretty much every night and since my room was upstairs it always seemed like that thing was going to land on my roof! Moving back out to Riverside almost ten years ago was a relief because for once, we weren't bothered by the sound of helicopters every night. So it made the perfect ringtone. You know when you are sitting somewhere quietly and then a cell phone goes off? I have a friend who has "Majesty" on her phone...its so sweet. But then, she is much more holy than I am. Pray for me. It could be worse...could be Big Pimpin' by Jay Z like Michael has on his phone. But you didn't hear that from me...



Those damned carrots...

I don't know about you, but I am not good in crisis.

I get all panicky, my heart starts beating so loud I can feel it between my ears and I start to breathe funny. But the thing that freaks me out the most is the fact that it feels like I am almost floating above the entire scene, as if I'm watching a movie, and the movie scares me and I want to stop watching it. Make sense? So far, I've been able to manage during emergency situations with my kids but I always feel like I am ready to collapse from hysteria.

Yesterday afternoon I was in my bedroom, putting laundry away. Noah was on the laptop playing games and I was giving him the standard warnings... do not play any games online, you only have fifteen minutes buddy, don't give me any lip, etc. etc. Over in the livingroom I hear Cyan start making this wierd noise. At first I thought he was playing with a toy because my kids are known for sounding like they are escaped mental patients when they have an action figure in their hands. But it didn't sound like that. He was trying to get some air. Then it hit me, he's choking!

Noah and I ran down the hall where Cyan was forcibly trying to dislodge something from his throat by hacking and coughing. Then there was no noise. His face was turning blue and his eyes started to look really scared. He was walking around in circles, trying to get this thing out. I looked over at the coffee table where a carrot laid. Oh no, my heart just sank thinking, he's choking on a carrot--he's choking on a carrot! Damn those carrots! Please God, help us! I immediately scooped him up and bent him over like I have done with my babies when they are struggling to swallow something but I realized he was too big to do that.

All the inadequacies of a mother who hasn't taken a CPR class came flooding in.

I grabbed him from behind and started to do the Heimlich, even though I have no idea if I was doing it right. By now Cyan had everyone's attention (it was either that or my hysterical plea to everyone in the room, "PRAY FOR CYAN RIGHT NOW!!") and his brothers crowded around. Noah immediately started interceding on his brother's behalf, God, please help Cyan so he can breathe! Please help him get that carrot out of his throat! Help him Lord, help him!

Then Cyan started crying and puking all over the floor...little chunks of chewed up carrot poured all over the place. He was still struggling for air, but I knew whatever was stuck must have either gone down or come out because he just kept puking and crying in between hurls. I was so relieved. I never thought the sound of his cries would be so sweet. I let him puke all over the floor...I didn't care if it splashed all over my feet, the walls. I rubbed his back and kept assuring him he was ok and thanking God that he could now breathe.

I was so close to calling 911. I didn't know what else to do. I was so shaky afterward, but I had to put on a brave face for my kids. Cyan cried for about a half hour after that, and he continued spitting out little chunks of carrot. He said, "Mama, I need some medicine because that carrot made me choke and I don't feel good. I want my Daddy!" My poor baby.

I don't know what I would have done if something had happened to him. My guilt made me feel even worse because he is my hardest child to deal with. He screams, stomps, yells, cries, screeches, whines and fights with me and his brothers all day. There are times when I make him go into his room just so I can be relieved of his presence. Please, just leave me alone Cyan.

Yes, he is that bad sometimes.
 But to see him unable to cry, to speak, to breathe...it just stabbed at my heart. This is an old picture of Cyan, he must have been around two at the time. I think it captures his personality. Wow, how time flies. He is now almost five. Ironically, he still acts the same. He's just taller.

Really now, I can't blame the carrot, can I? And here I am cursing them. My children are carrot fiends. You know that huge five pound bag for $2.99 at Costco...my kids mow through that. Its not uncommon for me to find carrot butts all over the house. Carrots and apples...you would have thought I was raising horses or something.

I love my carrots. I love my Cyanie. I love them all. But I really need to take a CPR class. I don't think my nerves can stand another emergency like that.


Mary is my Homegirl

Since I don't get the chance to be as creative as I would like to be because of this season of my life (havin' all these babies keeps one busy), I find that I like to live vicariously through other artists. I don't care if I didn't paint it, if something is beautiful and awe-inspiring, I like to feast my eyes upon it.

If you scroll along the side of this blog, you will notice some images that I put up. They are just some of my favorite things to look at. You may be thinking, she sure does like skeletons alot...what is so cool about death? Its not about death, but a chance to reflect upon the purpose of your existence. I have to confess, it is a very cultural thing, tied up with Dia De Los Muertos and the huge body of artwork associated with it. They are comforting images, so familiar to my soul. If you think about it, this earthly body we inhabit is just a shell of bones...its the soul that lives on.

There is a Latina artist I discovered on myspace named Miriam Martinez, she is from San Francisco. Her work is awesome. The most recent piece she put up for the world to see is that of the Virgin Mary. I don't know what it is, but I am really drawn to images of the Virgin Mary.

Its probably the beaner in me.

My family converted from Catholicism to Christianity when I was twelve, so its not like I spent many Sundays in Catholic church, lighting candles or praying with my rosary beads. Still, I am drawn to La Virgin and what she represents. She was chosen by God to bear His Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible says she is blessed among women. What blesses me about the Virgin Mary is that she embraced being God's handmaiden. I can learn a alot from the Virgin Mary as I walk out my motherhood in faith. For this, I deeply honor and respect her.


Tamales and sibling love

So, my mama had her annual tamale making party last Friday. She invites women from her bible study group, friends, and an assortment of aunts and cousins and we get together and hang out in my mom's beautifully decorated home eating tamales, pozole, chips and dips, sweet goodies, coffee, etc. She does this every year. I like it because I get to 1.) eat 2.) leave the boys with their daddy 3.) fellowship with other like-minded women and 4.) eat. Oh, did I mention I like to eat there, too? My mom has been blessed with the gift of hospitality, so it is not unusual for her to have people over and cook a huge meal for them with the entire house sparkling clean, the yard perfectly manicured, all the antiques dusted while she sports her little christmas sweater and a smile on her tired but happy face. My childhood home is filled with tiny white lights, candles, berries and baby Jesus. And nativities. Let's not forget the nativities. Mom has them in every corner of her home...even in the bathroom. There is nothing like contemplating the birth of Jesus while you are relaxing on the pot. I'm being obnoxious, of course. Its all beautiful. Just like my mama's heart.

Her little gatherings were borne out of years of non-Latino friends having an avid fascination with the whole tamale making process. White people love them some tamales. She always had friends ask her how she made such delicious tamales, how much work was it, how did she make the chile, what is that stuff you wrap them in, what is this masa stuff and can I take home a dozen for my family? For as many years as I can remember, my Nana used to crack the whip on us as we spread the masa in the corn husks, my mom piled on the filings and my Nana wrapped them expertly and put them in the pot huge enough to bathe a toddler in so they could steam cook. Now that my Nana has gone home to be with God, my mom is one who wields the whip. Little by little I have learned how to make tamales, so much so that I think I could make them on my own. Just don't ask me, too. Yet. I'm not ready for mom to pass down the whip. Its so much more fun having her do them and then just eating them.

That night I discovered my pregnant sister and my niece were going to spend the night so I decided to join them in the fun. This is pretty rare because we all live fairly close to mom's house to begin with. But it was late, I was full with all those tamales and pozole and Michael encouraged me to stay and hang out, so I did. A funny little sidenote, I had asked Michael to pack me a bag and send it with my stepdad and little brother. After staying on the phone with him and telling him exactly what I wanted him to pack me, and him saying uhhuh-uhhuh the entire time, I thought I would be good to go. When my brother walked in with my bag, I unpacked to find a pair of boxer briefs (I wore them, too!), some tight pj bottoms, a 5XL t-shirt (WT??? oh, a Ghettoish castoff), and his toothbrush. Sigh. I have a very close relationship with my entire family, especially my brothers and sister. One thing I have noticed about us during our many dinners and holidays and gatherings together is, we like to gang up on each other. If we bag on you, we are showing you love. There are four of us, but the rules are always the same. We never split up, two against two...its always three against one. One of us gets roasted the entire night. How do we determine who is the roastee? Whoever does something funny or dumb, they are the likely candidate. It is usually my younger brother Eric who has big lips and slow speech. When he fumbles on a word, that usually sets us off and we bring up how he couldn't talk as a little kid ("the bird" became tha buuuud), had a hard time reading so mom had to spend hours nearly strangling him as they worked on his phonics, and how he just naturally has big lips. That are usually hanging open. Watch for flies and all that good stuff. Well, he wasn't there that night but my other little brother was. So it was Josh and Jen against me. As we lounged on mom's sofa and watched a movie, I noticed Jen took off her bra and left it in the corner. Hmm, that sounds like a good idea. So I did the same. For all you male readers, taking off your bra at the end of the day is the equivalent to scratching your testicles when you wake up in the morning. Ahhhhh, feels good. You know you are comfortable in your mom's house when you can take off your bra. The next morning while we were picking up blankets and such, Josh holds up my sister's perfect 36D black Victoria Secret bra and says, "Ew, I know whose this is." And then he holds up my beige (beige says it all, doesn't it?) Vanity Fair bra from Sears and laughs, "And we know whose parachute this is." And it was on. They picked on me for the rest of the day. But I took it like a big girl. I didn't cry about it. I didn't get butt-hurt. That is just the way it is around our house. That is how we show love. If you really care about someone, you'll rip on them and laugh at their expense. These are my three favorite people who I love dearly. How many people can actually say they like spending time with their sibs? I would like nothing more than to walk alongside them in the kingdom of Heaven. I'm still praying for one, that God would soften his heart and draw him close.

We really wanted to enjoy my childless day (well, partially childless--I only had two with me and that is practically like having none) and go out shopping. Old Navy had tons of stuff on clearance, so we wanted to check it out. But after munching on more tamales and pozole, then getting a spell of the lazies, cuddling up on the sofa with a warm blanket, and wondering what we were going to eat for dinner, that idea didn't seem as appealing anymore. So Mom, being the good mama and grandma-mama she is, told me, "Go shop online. Then just call me and I'll give you my credit card number." Now, this ain't a free trip to Hawaii, but come on. Sibling love, good grub, cuddly blankets, alot of laughter, online shopping, $5 shipping, 20% promo code and mom's Visa. You can't get any better than that.


Barbie...the modern-day hoochie

Last night while sitting down with my friend Irma, talking about our daughters and their toys, the subject of Barbies came up. Irma's daughter has a shoe stacking-thingie on her door, but it isn't used to store her shoes--that thing is packed with Barbies.


I don't think you understand the depths of my Barbie doll addiction as a child. Oh, the depravity. I can clearly recall the greed I felt whenever I went down that beautiful pink aisle--I wanted everything I saw. My life would be so much better if my mom would just buy me that Barbie Dream House...or if she would sew me doll clothes like my aunt did for my cousin. So what I would do is just jack those homemade Barbie clothes whenever I was at said cousin's house. I really hated the fact that she had all her stuff packed away in her doll trunks, all perfect and organized--but then she wouldn't want us to play with them yet she demanded to play with ours. Whatever. When I was a little girl I had this long trunk in my bedroom and I had lovingly set up my Barbie shopping mall (complete with a hair salon and register, a dress shop and an "escalator" (you pulled the Barbies up on strings). I also had perfect wicker furniture for all my dolls to lounge on. A mobile home where they went on trips in my backyard, a swimming pool complete with little inflatable rafts and all my dolls had fabulous bathing suits, etc. etc. The Barbie cases filled with doll clothes. I had it all.

And still, it was never enough. I cried and whined and begged for my mom to buy me more dolls whenever we were out shopping. And I didn't like those dolls that had their hair glued in a neat little circle at Pic 'N Save--I wanted the real deal, a Barbie, with all her glorious (blond) hair. Remember, this was back in the 70's when they didn't have ethnic Barbies...sure you could find an occasional black doll but the only brunette doll was not geared toward little beaner girls. There was no Maria doll, it was just a dark-haired doll.

I once read a really interesting article in No Greater Joy about Barbies and the
fantasy life
it cultivates in little girls who play with them. Wow, it really opened my eyes to a few things. How many times did my cousins and I make up stories where my Barbie was having an affair with their Barbie's man, Ken? Never mind Ken was everybody's man because in those days Ken was the only male doll around. I would make waterbeds (that is soooo 70's!) out of ziploc bags and the blankets were washcloths. That is where the dolls have their little rendezvous. Our Barbies were living lives straight out of Sex and the City. Read that article, so I don't have to paraphrase the whole thing. Seriously, it's an eye-opener. Case in point, some pretty freaky pictures came up of dear old Barbie in some compromising shots when I Googled some images. And I had my safe search on. Yikes.

Now that I have my own girls, I am really encouraging them to play with dolls, tea seats, play furniture, play food, baby strollers, play kitchens, etc. Do I want to domesticate my girls? Yes. I don't see any problem in teaching them to be familiar with running and keeping a home. If I don't they will end up like their mama, who experienced a rude awakening when I discovered I had to cook dinner, wash laundry, iron, clean, scrub toilets, make the bed and smile. Everyday. Who would have thought that all my education in art history, chicano studies, women's studies wouldn't really be useful in day to day living? Hmph. So, yes, I want my daughters to be educated and realize they can be who God calls them to be, but I don't want them to be domestically retarded. I believe role-playing with these types of toys will encourage that. Playing with sexy, big-busted, panty-less hoochies...I don't think so. I just don't want my daughters to cultivate the same type of obsession I had with these things. I believe I stopped playing with Barbies when I was in junior high. And that was begrudgingly. So, I get boobs but I have to give up these toys that I love?

Now, let me just say that yes, my daughter Maya does own a couple of Barbies, Bratz dolls to be exact. They are naked and sprawled under the bed or thrown in the toybox. Believe it or not, she hasn't gotten into them yet. Me, on the other hand, I got all flushed and glassy-eyed when I looked at that Bratz doll with all the little accessories...high-heeled boots, flared jeans, purses, jackets and perfectly styled hair. Imagine that, dolls that come with hair you don't have to style with your little school scissors. Most days I find Maya walking around with her beat-up little dolls (and I say beat up because she has five older brothers who love to torture them) that she has lovingly wrapped in receiving blankets. I hear her talking to them softly, "Here you go, honey. Are you hungry, honey? Oh, no--the blanket fell, honey. I got it, honey."

Please don't think I am a freak who doesn't allow her child to play with Barbies. I do, sort of. I just think I want to encourage babies over Barbies.


A whole lotta grindin' going on...

Alas, I don't mean the good kind of grinding. The fact that I have six children and no cable tv is a whole 'nother post.

I grind my teeth

I was reminded of this when I woke up this morning and my head felt like it weighed about a hundred pounds. I could barely lift it off the pillow. Remember that nasty, hung-over feeling after a night of too much drinking where any sudden, sharp noise or movement hurt? That is how I feel right now, only I didn't have the pleasure of knocking back a few cocktails.

At my last dental visit, my dentist asked me if I knew what bruxism was. No, I answered. Well, you seem to be suffering from it--you grind your teeth! he told me. Apparently my super straight-edge teeth are proof that I grind my teeth, so much so that I have filed them all down. He told me if I continue doing this, I will eventually wear my teeth down, enamel and all and it will cause my gums to deteriorate as well. Great. That is what I get for never having to wear braces and always teasing my metal-mouthed brother and sister about it. At least we're not blind and fat, hahahahahaa! That is what they always teased me back with. So I guess I just can't win this.

Upon further investigation, we figured out I grind my teeth in my sleep. That is why I would wake up some days with a sore jaw, sore teeth, a hundred pound head. As life carried on, I began to find myself clenching my jaw throughout the day when dealing with my kids or whenever I felt stressed. Hmmmm, why on earth would dealing with six kids under the age of nine on a daily basis cause stress? Who knew. What sucks about this is it takes me a whole day to rebound from it. The headache literally lasts all day. Right now I am talking really slow, moving really slow and really wishing I didn't have to take care of my kids so I could just lay down with my hot herb pouch on my neck and temples.

Bruxism sucks

So what do I do to stop this teeth grinding problem? My dentist recommended I buy a $335 mouth guard to wear while I sleep. The only problem with that is...its too expensive and I will not buy it...and it will protect my teeth from the grinding but my mouth will still make the motions and I will still wake up sore. Soooo, what do I do now? I bought an $18 mouth guard from Target (where else?) and I tried to wear it every night. But that didn't work because it was so big and bulky I had to sleep with my mouth partially open or I would gag so it kept falling out. In the middle of the night I would feel for it under the sheets, flick any of Michael's taco meat off of it and put it back in. Where is it today? I think it fell under the bed and I haven't even tried to look for it.

But after a night like I had, I think I will get down there and brave the dust bunnies and find that mouth guard because I am hurtin'!
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