Last day of June, Tooth Fairy, and pains of getting older; Another rambling of sorts

Under this unusual circumstance of a pandemic, my kids tirelessly remind me that they’re bored. There’s not much I can do about it; I’m running out of ideas and stamina.

They exclaim they’re bored, literally, 2 seconds after they sit on the couch from playing. What?! Or they’re bored as they take off their shoes coming in from a walk. It’s baffling. After they say the 2 dreaded words, they already know my pre-recorded statement: “Being bored is not a bad thing. I want to be bored.”

With all their shenanigans and their endless boredom, I can visibly notice how much they’ve grown. A surprising change is their voluntary teeth brushing in the morning. It used to be an agonizing experience getting them to brush teeth twice a day…there would be tears, sighing, bribes, yelling (I’m not proud of this one), and dreadful stories of what happens to un-brushed teeth.

One morning this mid June, both of them began brushing without the usual whining. I assumed this is some fluke or kids buttering me up for something. But it’s been two weeks now; they’re brushing twice a day.

I’m not sure what inspired this change, but it might’ve been prompted by a lingering cavity tooth for Elliot. Since it is a baby tooth, the dentist told us to watch it so that the cavity doesn’t get worse. X-ray showed his new tooth growing in and the best thing would be for it to naturally fall out.

The tooth held up fine until mid May when he felt some pain around that tooth. We all panicked because the dentist office was closed. For days I had him gargle with salt water and told him, worse comes to worse, I will have to treat it myself as a non-professional dentist with “yankers” (a facetious term we picked up from a dinosaur show; I don’t have yankers, for real). Sorry kid, it’s the COVID time: the dentist office is closed.

Thankfully, we got an appointment the first week of the dentist reopening after the shelter-in-place. It was a hopeful car ride to the dentist as we prayed for the cavity to not get worse and that it truly was wiggly. Prognosis: it’s ready to fall out but in pieces. The tooth cracked but it didn’t cause pain or show any infection. BUT if it hurts, he’d need to get it extracted involving laughing gas.

A week later, part of that tooth with the cavity broke off and fell out. The other piece is hanging tight. Relief felt all around.

That night, a visit from the Tooth Fairy wrote encouraging notes for both kids, left Elliot’s tooth as a his souvenir as he requested in his letter, and hid small surprises for each under blankets. Usually she leaves it under the pillows, but this time the lumpy small Ninjago pod and Hatchimals Pet would be too obvious. Although Ellis didn’t lose a tooth, she has a tendency to remind you of her sadness frequently: she gets a small surprise for waiting patiently.

In the morning when he couldn’t feel the prize under his pillow, his eyes grew wide with nervousness. He’s matured because it wasn’t the old reaction of immediate crying. instead, he played it off like it was okay: maybe she doesn’t come for a cracked tooth or she’s sheltering-in-place because of COVID-19.

Dino chompers. Post-cleaning selfie

All those experiences may have motivated him to brush consistently. Ellis may be brushing for different reasons.

Ellis, 7, is still waiting to lose her first tooth. She has her eye on one of them but we’re not sure if it’s wiggly. Her teeth are small, like popcorn kernels. This has her jumping for joy that we’re going to the dentist this week. She’ll get the dentist’s authoritative word.

Then, she asked me if the Tooth Fairy would leave me a present if one of my tooth fell out. Do grown-ups get presents too? I replied, “Uhhhhh, that’s ok. I don’t want a gift from the Tooth Fairy. When you have grown-up teeth, you don’t want them falling out. It’s best to keep your teeth in your mouth instead of out.”

I shook my head in disbelief that I uttered those words. I felt like a dinosaur. Those are the kinds of things I heard from my parents or the older generation. There’s truth in it, but I was shocked to find myself saying the same thing.

It’s hard to get older and there’s a lot of regrets, wishes, and anxieties in facing the future. Changes are slow, sometimes dramatic, and seeing the difference/s from my young self to middle-aged self takes a toll on my self-image. It seems vain but the struggle is real. This will be a lesson of self-acceptance and thankfulness that with God’s help I get to see the faces of my 3 favorite peeps each day.

God created both youthfulness and aging. There are pros and cons to both, but I have to rekindle faith that God knows what he’s doing and that it’s a natural process of life. I was young once…now it’s transition time to a new stage.

p.s. Ellis got definitive word that bottom tooth is wiggly. She’s in high spirits!

Some rambles in quarantine

* this post has been through many edits. I keep seeing holes here and there, thus the rewording and reorganization. Just letting you know. And of course, thank you dear readers for reading and for being here!!

Our family is made up of homebodies. We spend a lot of time at home, but this sheltering-in-place and social distancing are taking it to the extreme. All the news inform that staying home is the best solution: it’ll flatten the curve and hopefully prevent further spreading of this super contagious COVID-19. But even if you wanted to go out, it’s a scary prospect. You could catch it from non-symptomatic individuals or we could be carriers and unknowingly spread it. Too risky!

So we feel grateful to be home and for our health. We are extra vigilant to protect Ellis too: her underlying medical condition makes her more vulnerable. Though many people are stuck at home riding out this pandemic, there’s mounting fear concerning the present situation for ourselves and family, health issues, job situation, economy, and what the future holds. Click on a new’s story and be prepared for a meltdown; death toll keeps climbing, new cases mounting, protective gear in low supply for medical workers, and surgeon general’s warning that this upcoming week will be the “hardest, saddest.” Unreal. Cue…panic attack.

A lesson I’m learning through all this is that plans are only plans. I’m not a planner at all: the word itself gives me a migraine. But I still have broad ideas of what we would be doing the next couple of months, in terms of homeschooling, appointments, summer activities, goals to achieve etc. Then, when the first quarantine happened, my very vague plans suddenly became nothing but a past concern. Now, it’s a day-to-day thing.

For the past 2 weeks, I feel my mind sorting through this deadly reality. It’s all a confused, incoherent jumble at present. So much to digest as life turns inward and reality flipped upside down. But my plan (eeek, I said it!) Is to use this solid block of time to make memories with my family and dig up old things to do again. I aim to do that in bits, because this making memory thing is a laborious process testing my patience when kids get into everything and simple activities become elaborate disasters. Will we have stories to share when this is behind us.

Through it all, I’m working on strengthening my affirmation that God is in the business of performing miracles and bringing goodness out of awful situations. He’s done them before in amazing ways. However, the walk was and is not easy…so many perils, questions, unknowns, losses, and paralyzing fears. Reassurance is that a powerful God who raised Jesus from the dead walks with us through the darkest valleys. He’s that kind of powerful. I’m sticking with him.

Praying that you stay safe and healthy. And here’s an empowering thought from pastor Jud Wilhite’s sermon yesterday:

“You can make yourself miserable or you can make today memorable.”

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6

Thinking out loud this Saturday evening: spring allergies, Costco, Target, Bridge to Terabithia, etc.

Free book from the hospital library

This is my second year having spring allergies. Its symptoms are long and annoying: sneezing, itchy & puffy eyes, runny nose that drips like a leaky faucet, headache, and itchy throat that tickles my ear canals too. 

This morning I woke up congested and immediately worried it was a cold. I felt panic setting in and pulled the covers over my shoulders. ‘Not this again.’ ‘If I’m sick, then everyone (in the Suh clan) will catch it and that’ll land us right back into hermetic and emergency mode.’ Aaahhhhhhhh!

Once I pitied myself for a few minutes I got out of bed. It’s my way of telling myself that it’s ok to feel bad, as long as it doesn’t continue for the whole day (that’s another story). When something gets hard concerning health issues, I imagine throwing up my hands in exasperation thinking, ‘what else am I supposed to do?’ It’s a rhetorical question that validates my worries. But God is so faithful to remind me that He journeys with me. A voice whispers in my allergy-hurting ears, ‘Just move. You think can’t but I can.’

I recall countless times God gave me strength and resolve that I did not have to make it through some tough days. Funny how sometimes you need to tell yourself that it’s ok to feel bad before you start feeling better. Sitting on the couch with a box of tissues for my nose, I got a chance to revisit an old book Bridge to Terabithia. I haven’t read since junior high school. It’s a better reading experience when you aren’t chastised by your 7th grade teacher for not “getting the book.”  

Today is my first day of taking Kirkland’s allergy medicine and I am surprised at how quickly it works! I no longer feel like a walking zombie. Love Costco, but it’s a dangerous place: you walk in to get a few things and you walk out with a cart full of things you just can’t live without. Same goes for Target. Dangerous places…

When Ellis goes in for a blood test or a hospital visit that is out of the ordinary, she tells me, “I’m having a bad day. Can we go to Target?” Sometimes she’ll say it’s “the worst day ever” depending on how much she wants to check out Target’s toy aisle. But I understand. Sometimes just meandering around helps to take the mind off unpleasant things/ experiences. 

If you’ve come this far to this post, thank you for reading my rambling thoughts! Have a wonderful weekend.

A peaceful sitting area to experience spring’s warmth and some calm
Stanford University campus, April 2019