Kids, Mind Your Orthodonist: A Day in the Life Sunday

Anna Curzan, delivered a wonderful TED talk, What Makes a Word "Real." While you wonder if  "hangry," "unfriend" and "multislacking" are real words, let me give three real words that are ignored at your own risk: wear your retainer.

 Photo credit: iStockphoto

Photo credit: iStockphoto

After years of complaining about an overbite (think thumb under front teeth), I set out to correct it as an adult. After 2 years of braces and a little jaw surgery, the overbite was gone and braces came off. The orthodontist sent me out the door with a set of retainers and some direction, "Wear these every night. If you don't, your teeth will shift."

I wore the retainers religiously, at first. Once the novelty wore off they ended up in the back corner of a bathroom drawer never to be seen or heard from again. It took eight years but true to everything that is metal, my lower teeth shifted. The minor shift wasn't too concerning to me and I made a mental note to "get that looked at someday."

That someday came a few years later when one front tooth  jumped (yes, jumped) behind another while I was just sitting at my desk, minding my own business and not causing problems for anyone.

Two teeth can't fill the same space for long with out one pushing the other out (and causing me a little bit of pain) so here I am back in lower braces again.

What's a girl to do? Go for fun colored ortho bands, slap a little berry lipstick on and head out the door - after she requests a permanent retainer she will be unable to remove on her own  - ever.

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{Safety} Crazy Comes in Many Sizes

It was 1980-something in Erie, Pennsylvania and my college roommates and I were getting ready to go out. Whether we were heading to Paparelli's Pub, the Pike house or an after hours club, we stayed together, watched out for each other and stepped in even when it wasn't always welcome.

 Photo credit iStockphoto

Photo credit iStockphoto

How did we learn to do this?

When I think back to situations I was in, cues I missed and warning signals I pushed aside, I  can't believe how naive I was or how much I was willing to leave to chance.

I now have a daughter and I am not willing to leave anything about her safety to chance. With school, sports, sleep overs and the mall, she is out of my sight more than she is in.  She's young and fun and should be surrounded by curiosity, laughter, giggles and wonder.

She deserves to be safe.

She's also young and unaware that crazy comes in all shapes and sizes.

The National Crime Prevention Council shares some facts about teen victims of crimes:

  • Each year more than 40 million Americans are victimized at home, at school, or on the street.
  • For all major types of crimes, people aged 12 to 19 are the most frequent victims.
  • Almost half of violent crimes are committed by a victim's acquaintance or relative.
  • The younger a person is, at least down to the age of 16, the more likely he or she is to be a victim.

As adults, we know not to walk or jog early in the morning or late at night when the streets are deserted. If we think someone is following us, we switch directions or cross the street and move quickly toward an open store or restaurant or a lighted house. We park in well-lighted areas with good visibility and close to walkways, stores, and people.

As women, we've become hypervigilant. We've learned from experiences, and those of others.

As a mother I have to ensure my daughter's safety.  I can't be with her all the time so she must learn to do so on her own (and with a little help from her friends). When I saw this Women's Self Defense class focusing on recognizing and avoiding dangerous situations (and not subduing), I knew I needed to her sign-up.

I want to teach my daughter to be alert to her surroundings in a way that builds confidence and not fear.

I wish this wasn't the world we are living in today but the reality is we will all be safer when we can confidently recognize dangerous situations and respond immediately for ourselves and others.

Let's be careful out there.

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