Eloise got her braces off yesterday. These were her phase one braces that stayed on for six months. She now has a retainer and then will get her phase two braces around age 13 or so when she has all of her adult teeth.
Phase one basically expanded her mouth so her teeth would fit and also straightened out her existing adult teeth top and bottom. Mainly the teeth in the front – that you can see.
Eloise is home from school today because she’s been crying almost non-stop from the pain of the retainer and it’s given her a headache.
And she’s screamed more than once at me “Why do I have to do this?! I don’t want straight teeth! Crooked teeth are just fine!! What’s the big deal about straight teeth? It’s not worth the pain!!!”
So how do you answer that? Are there studies that show that people with straight teeth get better jobs? Make more money? Get into better colleges? Excel in ballet? Do people with straight teeth date more? Have more friends? Do they marry better? Do they get teased less?
Are people with straight teeth happier?
When you get botox are you happier? Is your spouse happier? Do you get noticed more? Did you get that job?
We all want to feel more confident sure. But where does it all end. Am I comparing apples to apples here?
Braces have always been acceptable. Kids have been getting their teeth straightened for decades. But how do you tell your child they look just fine they way they are when you’re spending $8000 for straight teeth and watching your child in agony? Are we sending a mixed message. Truthfully I’ve never thought about it until Eloise through her tears asked me last night why her crooked teeth weren’t just good enough. And explaining the medical reasons still fly over the head of a 10 year old who feels so invincible. And in pain.
And Botox for us moms – well I’m 44 and have never considered it but have many friends in their 30s who already have and I tell them “If you think you need botox now – well 44 is going to scare the shit out of you!” And maybe I’m weird because I kind of like my wrinkles and lines and the permanent number 11 on my forehead. I’m 44 – not 24 and no amount of ‘work’ will take me back. I look at pictures of Diane Von Furstenburg and see beauty. Natural, natural beauty. I look at Cher and don’t. I look at Courtney Cox – who is my age and is now starting to look like Cher and it’s honestly not pretty.
Maybe there’s no such thing as aging gracefully, but that doesn’t mean I have to apologize for doing it at all.
And I know in a few days Eloise’s pain will subside and she’ll show her smile again and someday she’ll be grateful for straight teeth. I know I am grateful for mine.
I get that self-confidence has a lot to do with happiness – and I can only hope that her straight teeth will be a part of that as she becomes a teen and an adult.
Just like I hope her gorgeously earned wrinkles will give her confidence in her 40s.