Shark teeth and having the dentist pull baby teeth

If there was a contest to see who could have the most baby teeth pulled by a dentist, I think my son is winning. I’ve lost count how many teeth he has had pulled but I feel safe to say that 14 of his 20 baby teeth have come out at the dentist office. One of them during a cleaning but the rest we had her pull.

It just seems none of his teeth wanted to come out on their own. He didn’t lose his first tooth until he was just three weeks shy of his 7th birthday and had the four remaining baby teeth pulled when he was 14. I always tell him that his teeth just love him and don’t want to come out.

Why did we have so many of his teeth pulled? It is because he had shark teeth. (No, not pointy teeth of a shark meant for eating fish or biting people and surf boards.)

Usually, when the permament tooth comes in, it forces the baby tooth out. Sometimes, however, the baby teeth don’t want to leave the mouth, and the permanent tooth comes in behind or in front of it. This phenomenon is known as shark teeth. This happens with about 10% of kids. This happened to Jase at least four times. Now this usually occurs in the lower incisors but it can occur in the upper incisor (Jase) or the primary molars (Lexie).

Yes, now you can see that Lexie is following in her brother’s footsteps. She had developed shark teeth on her upper molars. And they need to pull the baby teeth so that maybe the permenant teeth will go back to where they belong. Or that at least is the hope when they pull the baby tooth. But it doesn’t always happen and results in a trip to the orthodontist. That is one of the reasons Jase has his Invisaligners. Two of his upper incisors came in way above the others. Even when the baby teeth were gone, the adult teeth remained too high. Now after a year of Invisaligners, those teeth are almost back in the correct spot.

But back to Lexie. When we go to the dentist today, they aren’t just pulling those two baby teeth. There are another 4 that should be ready to come out and only one of them is loose. Rather than wait until they cause problems, she will have all six teeth pulled.

Hopefully after this we are done with shark teeth and any remaining baby teeth that Lexie has will fall out like they should. The tooth fairy certainly doesn’t like these mass tooth pulling trips. It is hard on her pocketbook.

Sharing a great writing website

The other day I was writing the scene in my latest Work in Progress, and I noted that I tend to use some words or phrases quite a bit. In a conversation, people nod, shake their head, shrug, and so on. And as this is the first draft, it is quite normal to fall into using these words or phrases. But I was thinking rather than wait until my next round of editing, what words or actions could I use instead?

Well, a quick search on the internet led me to this blog post of 100+ Ways to say Shrug by Kathy Steinemann.

Here are the first lines of her post:

“Perhaps you rely on shrugs as action beats to differentiate between speakers in dialogue; or maybe you’re on an early draft, and you write the first thing that comes to mind.”

Eureka! She hit the nail on the head. This was just my problem. I quickly read her post where she gave easy explanations and plenty of examples.

Looking through the titles of other posts, I saw many that were interesting. Here are some posts I thought could help any writer:

100+ Ways to say Shrug –

200 Ways to say Shake the Head –  (which in some societies is a positive thing rather than a negative)

200+ Alternatives for Wide Eyes –

And it isn’t just phases such of these…here are some posts on verbs or adjectives.

350+ Ways to Replace the verb “Take” –

500+ Ways to Replace the verb “Make” –

200+ Ways to say Embarrassed –

150+ Ways to say Confused –

150+ Ways to say Overwhelmed –

150+ Ways to say Disappointed –

200+ Ways to say Excited –

And if you peruse her site, you might find even more helpful blog posts. I know I’ll be returning to read some of these…after – or maybe while – I work on finishing my first draft.

Fundraising during a pandemic

Many non-profits depend on donations and fundraisers to support their programs. And the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) is no different. We could not survive without the support of parents and community members.

But this year it is harder to fundraise. Many businesses that we depend on for support are struggling. Some have laid off workers or are not even open. And if we turn to parents, we face similar issues. They may be struggling financially, worried about losing their job or be unemployed.

Our school district was concerned about the stress that families could be dealing with whether it was financial or emotional. Originally, they banned all fundraising. And then they amended it to only the schools and that any other group fundraising could not pressure students into participating. This meant no sales as well as no incentives to participate.

At least this meant our PTA could hold our normal fundraisers – especially after I had been working since June on our silent auctions. This is one of our biggest fundraisers and we were coming off a record year where we made over $6000. But as I solicited businesses for donations, I knew this year’s silent auction would not be a repeat of last year. Many businesses were either not open or had put any donation programs on hold. It was totally understandable, and I was very appreciative to those businesses who were able to donate.

As part of our auction, we also usually auction off opportunities for the students – lunch with the principal, front of the line lunchroom passes, tickets to the games, front row seats to the school play or concerts, naming the school hallways, and the opportunity to be the school mascot. Well, this year, we don’t know what will happen with concerts and at the time sports hadn’t restarted so many of these opportunities were out. It was time to get creative. A new item we added this year that proved to be very popular was letting parents buy the opportunity to have their student’s birthday announced on the school marquee.

Our other big fundraisers is to seek out corporate sponsorships. We offer 3 levels and while a few businesses opted to skip this year, others did move down in their sponsorship level. But the good news is that I did get three new businesses to become sponsors and have 10 total sponsors right now.

I’m quite proud of how well both the auction and sponsorships are going as fundraising is not my forte. And it isn’t even my position. See I am the president of the PTA but since we don’t have a second vice president, I have taken over that position’s duties. Technically, the whole board is supposed to fill in for any vacancy, but no one ever wants to fundraise.

Donations from parents and membership to the PTA are also both down this year. We certainly won’t have the budget we had last year, but then again with school year is totally different. Currently only a very small group of students are back in the building as they slowly allow student to return to in person instruction. The rest of the students are still doing virtual learning. And with no volunteers allowed on campus, our programs have been reduced. This is definitely a year like no other.