Show Me Your Teeth

I know that anger can be a cancer if you hold onto it. I am constantly angry with #3, not because I'm holding onto my anger, but because as soon as I come to peace with whatever originally upset me, she does something else to piss me off! I seem to always be at a consistent level of anger because I'm always irate at something new!

This was my 6 year old's mouth last weekend. What you see there is a gum boil, which is an abscess that is caused by bacteria from plaque, particles of food or tooth decay. Essentially it is from poor dental hygiene. Yes, her mouth was gross, her breath stank and I pretty much silently lost my mind.

My bonus daughter has started to lose her baby teeth, something that is totally normal for her age. She told me that when she wiggled her loose front tooth, pus was coming out. That's what made me look in her mouth and I was shocked. She then confessed that she didn't brush her teeth in the mornings at her grandmother's (mom's mother) house, only in the evenings. (And for those wondering, we have always made her brush her teeth in the mornings and at night at my house.) Hearing this made me livid because she had told me this back in January. I went ahead and told her mother about this and her mother said, "I haven't been home because I got Covid. I've been in quarantine away from the house. I think this has started since I've been away because she knows to brush her teeth when she wakes up. I think my mom is overwhelmed." I remember ending that conversation with a half joke, "Well, I guess we know what's been going down while you've been gone!" I thought after that talk, #3 go back to her mother's house after isolating, and would buckle down on her daughter's dental hygiene - I would have! Especially if, (and using her words) "her mother is overwhelmed"!!! I feel like that would have been the typical expectation after a conversation like that! It has now been 2 MONTHS since that conversation!!! No, this is not something that "just happens because they're kids"! You were told about this!!! So I inwardly began screaming.

My boyfriend and I took the time to explain to our daughter that the pus came from not brushing her teeth. We showed her our teeth: my boyfriend's teeth are stained and he has dental problems due to smoking and poor dental hygiene as a kid. My teeth are immaculate because my parents always made me brush my teeth. I also had braces and was one of those nerdy kids who was terrified of my teeth becoming crooked again. So I have been wearing my retainer since I was 12. I am close to 40 and I still wear my retainers every night. I don't know how many times we repeated ourselves: "YOU HAVE TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH EVERY MORNING AND NIGHT!!!"

It takes a lot of self control to censor myself and not rant about parental neglect. I have to stay calm and let my boyfriend handle this with #3 because I do not want to make the already complex co-parenting relationship contentious. It is one of my boyfriend's duties to confront issues with the mothers of his children. It's also easier for #3 to dismiss me if I start becoming belligerent. So in my opinion, it would be more productive for my boyfriend to troubleshoot any problems. My boyfriend is very angry and he has demanded that our 6 year old go to the dentist immediately. Thankfully #3 has made an appointment right away. Hopefully this will be resolved with a little pain as possible. I feel so bad for my youngest bonus daughter. This could have been avoided and I am so angry!

For those who want to argue, “Well motherhood can be overwhelming, you should be more understanding.” I would then argue, then maybe she shouldn’t be bringing a 3rd baby into a world where she AND her mother are too overwhelmed to take care of the two children she already has!

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