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November 11, 2002
a year ago
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Fixing My Bite, Lunch on the Floor, and A Good Dinner

I enjoyed today. Oddly enough.

I am still having mouth problems, but over the weekend, I figured out that the new high spots in my bite was probably the cause of the NTI device. All the pressure I put on my front teeth, now, at night, is moving everything around at a rapid rate. It's bad. I can't even get the front half of my teeth to meet, at all, even during the day. The molars have gotten high enough that they always meet first and not always evenly. So, last night, I put my old splint on.

It was painful. My teeth had moved around so much that the front of the guard wouldn't stay on if the back was on completely and vice versa. Bad. My molars also seem to have moved 'out' to the sides more, and the front top teeth have definitely moved more to the front. It was bad. I got it barely on and then slept in it for the night and woke up with all my teeth aching, my jaw aching, and my neck and shoulders all tied up; however, my bite was partially back to normal. So nothing hurt during the day, while I'm awake.

The guard is, obviously, not doing the same jaw and neck and shoulder job that the NTI device is. I am definitely clenching big muscles in bad ways. I am, however, also sure that the guard is making sure that I don't actually damage any teeth while doing the grinding. And it isn't screwing up the one real use I have for my teeth, i.e. eating.

Bad tradeoff. I do know, however, that the reason that the guard isn't working all that well is because it's partially broken. Cracked, in fact. So I really need a new one. I went with the NTI because it was cheap and easy to do, and cost me and the insurance company about half what a full splint costs and there's less to screw up with one of them, as the impression is only of half a dozen teeth instead of a whole mouthful of them. Plus they can do it in-house instead of having to ship it off to a lab, which means, of course, that all the profits from it goes directly to the dentist.

Thing is that I like eating. Funny that. And I want to be able to eat with the teeth I'm supposedly saving from grinding, cracking and other things. So, for now, I'm going to wear my old splint until things get too bad, and then I'll switch back to the NTI for a night or two and then go back to the old one until the year's up. Then I'm going to ask the more experienced partner of the dental practice to make me another splint. They've worked for me for decades, and I think I'll be happier doing that than trying to deal with a changing bite.

So I was happier this morning, eventhough everything ached for a while.

Joan kept Jet until 11 and then dropped him off on her way to get Alex. He'd been awake all morning and had played like crazy and was just getting cranky on the way over to our house. So I took him, nursed him, and put him to sleep under my fuzzy, warm, black fleece shirt. He slept happily for an hour and a half, instead of one of these two and a half to three hour naps he had over the weekend, and got up in time to nurse the other side. He then played with my shirt and the Boppie for a while, hiding under it and peeking out at me with a grin. We played peekaboo for a while, and then I got my lunch together.

I steamed a couple of tamales and heated two chicken nuggets. I set it out on the floor, with one of his colorful spoons and one of my metal spoons and we sat down on the floor and dug into the hot tamales. They're mild chile bean tamales, with sweet corn masa and lots of good, red, chile beans with lots of spice. Jet ate at least half a tamale, a spoonful at a time. He had a hard time scooping the stuff up, so I just mashed spoonfuls onto his spoon. He ate from that quite handily, and asked for more often. It was fun to just sit down there with him and eat.

I had to eat one of the nuggets before he would try his and he doggedly tried his best to eat the nugget off his spoon, eventhough I ate it with my hands. He knew what he wanted to do. He managed it in fits and starts, dropping it a lot, but neither of us cared that much. I finally had enough and pulled a fork out of the drawer and stabbed the remains of the nugget with it. Jet smiled and took the offered fork and ate the nugget off it and asked for another one. He asked for two more, and ate them all.

That's probably more food than he's eaten in the last couple of days. But he enjoyed it, and cheerfully asked for a third, but then played with it. I imagine it's a bit like a kitten plays with a chunk off food it's no longer really interested in eating. He tossed it around, peeled it, and then threw the bits around. It took me a while to clean all that up. But Jet was perfectly happy with a belly full of corn, beans, and chicken. Yay! Food!

At about 4, I wanted to get the chicken ready for roasting, and it took a bit of time to put together the stuffing I wanted to put together, so Jet came to watch what I was doing. I put him up on the bar stool, as usual, and he stayed out of the way of the knife. He did steal celery and ate a quarter of a rib of it. He stole dried cherries and pecans as well, and ate them. He really likes eating the things I'm cooking with, which may well be a good way to give him stuff to eat when I'm really worried about how he's doing.

We cooked the stuffing together, and when that was done, I had to dress and stuff and deal with the raw bird. So I put him down from the bar stool, and he toddled over to the kitchen desk and asked, "Up! Up!" by the chair. So I put him up onto the desk chair and he happily got to coloring on some scrap paper with some pens. So I thought I was safe.

Next thing I know, I'm wrist deep into the chicken and Jet's going, "Uh oh! Uh oh! Hep? Hep?" And he has two sheets of U.S. Postage stamps out on the desk. It doesn't help that one of the sheets has vintage teddy bears for all the stamp pictures. Jet is starting to like stickers. Luckily, I remembered that John had pulled the sheets of Little Bill stickers out of the Nick Jr. magazine last night and placed them right near the stamps. I had to wash my hands and arms thoroughly, dry them off, and murmur encouragement to Jet to just stay still and let Momma deal with his problem. He stayed perfectly still and perfectly worried about the torn teddy bear in his hand.

I got myself cleaned up and over to him and gently took the teddy bear, put it back together, stuck it to the back of the stamp sheet, and put it away in the drawer it was supposed to be in. I then pulled out the two sheets of stickers, got them started for him so that he could peel them off, and gave him one of his notebooks instead of just the scrap paper he had. He was very pleased. He cheerfully started transferring all the stickers to his notebook, and I was free, again, to cook.

John arrived home soon after I got the chicken into the oven, and he and Jet went down to play in the basement while I went upstairs to work. In the middle of doing something, I heard the doorbell ring, and it was one of the neighbor's kids, asking for a couple of eggs in exchange for some banana bread. I happily handed over some eggs, and went back upstairs and got to concentrate.

The buzzer went off way too soon, but I got some things done. John tested the chicken and the breast meat was good and done, and we took it out to rest. He made salad, I finished off the remaining dressing, and we were set. Well, kinda. Turns out that the chicken was undercooked underneath, so when I had the thighs and wings off, I put those back into the oven, and we ate the legs and breast along with the stuffing that I'd baked in a separate dish. So we had plenty to eat. Jet ate very little, but since he'd done such a great job at dinner, it wasn't nearly as much of a worry.

He did sit in my lap for a while and eat a few things, but not lots.

We had a pretty fun evening. Not a lot going on, just playing. The neighbors arrived with banana bread, and Jet and John greeted them happily. Jet then proceeded to eat a good deal of the banana bread, and then picked up enough energy to play for a while.

He went to sleep at close to the normal time, and I put my guard on again, and it fit just as weirdly as it did last night. That kind of discouraged me. I was hoping things were going to go back to the way they were... but it may take longer than I thought, initially, for that to happen. Ah well.

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