Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The Dentist and Communication Problems
The kids had their first dental cleaning ever. For Marta and Jacob it was their first trip to a dentist ever. Joseph had a tooth pulled in Ethiopia and was very nervous about this visit. He kept asking, "Why dentist?" Super Grandpa picked up the younger two from school and he said it was a very somber trip. Poor kids! Amazingly they do not have a single cavity! That is fabulous. They all received flossing lessons and seemed to be happy when were done. I am so surprised to be able to tell a difference already! Their teeth and smiles were beautiful before, but today they are gleaming! The dentists and hygienists were so good with the kids and helped them along through the entire process. The teeth cleaning went well, took forever, and the kids were still speaking to me when it was over. I would say it was a success. When we first got there I realized I probably should have waited to do this for at least another month... but we were already settled in and the kids were fine. Ben had a softball game so between Grandpa and I we ran between rooms, calmed nerves and did a little bit of translating along the way. Joseph, we learned, has 6 wisdom teeth (if I understood correctly) and will need to have them pulled sometime this summer. Poor guy!
The big news today was that Dr. Ostler, an orthodontist in town, gave Dr. Matheson and his office 1 Orthodontia package to be given to a patient in need of braces/work (I am not sure of the details yet). They chose our sweet Marta to receive the gift. I cannot tell you how wonderful that moment was. I cried a bit and then gave Dr. Matheson a big hug. Ben and I had been wondering how we were going to pay for those! What a huge blessing for Ms. Marta.
Now for the Communication Problems... we were leaving the dentist office and I was overjoyed about the braces gift, and for those of you who know me well, that meant I was bee-bopping around and so excited! I turned to Marta and tried to explain braces and teeth straightening (while driving of course) and when she didn't understand I asked Joseph for the Amharic word for braces. He also didn't understand so I pointed to my teeth and said something... Joseph told me the word for braces was "Necatess". So with a huge grin I turned around to Marta and said, "Marta you get necatess." and was already imagining the excitement! Instead she got a HORRIFIED look on her face and began pleading with me, "No, Mommy please no necatess!" "Jesus no like necatess, Marta no like! PLEASE." Right away I begin saying "Marta necatess good, Jesus likes, Mommy likes, Mommy and Daddy necatess -- It's OK! Your teeth (pointing to teeth) straight! IT GOOD!!!!" My heart was pounding by this point as I am frantically trying to figure out how I will get this across and wondering WHAT KIND OF STRANGE RELIGION my kids were??? Would they not get a shot when the time came for immunizations? What about cold meds and the flu shot??? I was in a dizzy when I turned to Joseph to ask him about necatess. He and Marta then began showing me that necatess are tattoos which are often put on the gums and cheeks of women in their village. Ohhhhhhhhhh.... "No Marta, necatess different, these are BRACES! BRACES (yes, I was yelling) ARE GOOD! NO NECATESS for Marta (I am laughing at this point)! Marta, BRACES are different!" I believe that at that point she began to understand that braces are NOT NECATESS and looked a bit relieved -- not totally convinces but certainly not horrified. After a few more pronoun-free sentences she understood and Joseph and Jacob began laughing hysterically... they just kept saying, "Crazy Mommy, Crazy Marta!" I didn't stop them, I just laughed along with them... phew!!!!