Q has had a sad week, but as usual, the rest of us have had fun laughing at his expense. ‘Cuz we’re sweet that way.
The other day, I asked Quinn if he had brushed his teeth.
“Go brush them RIGHT NOW.”
Quinn went into the bathroom and came immediately back out.
“Mom, I can’t find my toothbrush.”
“What? How did your toothbrush get lost?”
“Remember when we went camping in Idaho? I haven’t seen it since then.”
“What?!! Quinn, that was TEN DAYS AGO!! Your toothbrush has been missing for TEN DAYS?”
I then gave him a new toothbrush, and walked away in disgust. The next morning, I said,
“Quinn, did you brush your teeth this morning?”
“Did you wear your retainer to bed last night?”
“Go brush your teeth and put your retainer in RIGHT NOW.”
(This might be a good point at which to mention that Quinn has a permanent retainer attached to his top teeth, and another retainer that he wears just at night. Theoretically, anyway.)
Quinn did as he was told, didn’t give me any trouble about it. A couple hours later, he asked,
“Can I take this retainer off now?”
A couple more hours later:
“Can I take this retainer off now?”
“When can I take it off?”
“How long has it been since you wore it?”
“I don’t remember.”
“More than 30 days?”
“More than 60 days?”
“I don’t know.”
At this point, we did a little math. Conservatively, 30 days x 8 hours = 240 hours. Which is the equivalent of 24 hours x 10 days.
“I have to wear it for ten days?!”
“I don’t know. You can’t wear it when you eat, but if I were you, I would plan on wearing it a lot over the next few weeks.”
Quinn stormed off in digust. I could tell he was very upset. I figured I would give him a few minutes to fume, and then go find him and give him a hug. As it turned out, he found me first.
Ryan came in the office where I was, and told me that Quinn had fallen down the stairs and broken his retainer. Quinn was in the hall, telling Ryan,
“She’s never going to believe that!” which should have been my first clue. After a couple minutes of disgust, I took the broken retainer and told the boys to leave me alone for a few minutes. I was really angry.
It only took a minute, or even less, before Quinn was back.
“Mom, I feel like such a liar. I didn’t break my retainer falling down the stairs.”
He proceeded to describe how he was mad, took the retainer out, and hit it with his hand. He apparently didn’t expect it to break so easily. The poor kid was so upset, just distraught, crying, and worried.
“What’s going to happen?”
“We’ll call the orthodontist and he will get you fitted for a new retainer.”
“Will I have to pay for it?”
Quinn expressed his feelings that crooked teeth are the WORST PROBLEM EVER and he wishes he didn’t have to deal with it. Which is kind of silly when you think about it, but I guess I can sympathize. My mom says it’s payback for all the trouble I gave my parents about my retainers, and for the time I lost a retainer at my Uncle Teryl’s house. We even searched through all the garbage, but never found it.
I ended with one last question for Quinn. I asked him why Ryan was telling me this story about falling down the stairs.
“I pretended to fall down the stairs.” (We suspect he got this skill from Uncle Dan, the king of fake-falling-down-the-stairs routines.) I was glad that Ryan was off the hook, I really didn’t want to deal with him too.
The events that followed warmed my heart some. Quinn shared his tribulation with his siblings, and I saw their compassionate sides. Ryan offered Quinn the $50 he has in savings, which is not a small thing for him to offer. He has been working on that savings for some time. Brooklyn started searching her room and the rest of the hosue for spare change.
“Quinn says every penny counts.”
Quinn started planning on ways to earn some money, and came up with several “money jobs” he could do around the house.
This even really lit a fire under Quinn, and he was very motivated. He took out the garbage, vacuumed the stairs, and even vacuumed my car. Of course, in the process of vacuuming the car, he lost my car keys. When I went to leave the house a while later, he told me the keys were in the front seat of the car. Not true. He opened the back door (front door was locked) and set off the car alarm. So, there we were, the car madly honking in the driveway, searching frantically for the keys so we could turn the alarm off. (I hope the battery in my car clicker never dies, because it is the only way I know how to turn off the stupid alarm.) We did finally find the keys on the broken chair that sits on the driveway next to the garbage can. Quinn said he sat them there because he had his hands full of garbage and he didn’t want to drop the keys in the garbage can. “Good thinking,” I said.
Today, he is getting fitted for a new retainer. I wonder how he will react when he gets the bill!
Post Script: We went to see the orthodontist and get Quinn fitted for a new retainer. They told us he would not need a new one. He is scheduled to go back in August anyway to start his second round of braces, and his permanent retainer seems to be fitting fine. I CANNOT BELIEVE how lucky this kid is!!