I get that braces aren't exactly something to look forward to, but how can you argue against the benefit of a correct bite and straight teeth? I've talked to her about how your mouth is one of the first thing people notice about you - first impressions and all that, and I've mentioned her uncle, whose bite had to be corrected in his 20's with a horrific surgery that involved breaking his jaw. Still, she crabs on.
Finally, the other day, after a lengthy whine about how unfair and mean we are to make her get braces, I snapped.
"You want to know why you're getting braces? It's so in three or four years, when all your friends have their braces off and have perfect smiles, you won't be embarrassed by your crooked teeth and never smile and never, ever get asked on a date and DIE ALL ALONE."
Not, perhaps, the most politically correct or feminist-minded argument for orthodontics, but she has not brought up the subject since.
Yesterday, Tom and I had The Meeting at the orthodontist's office. You know the one I mean? The one where they show you the x-rays and photos of your children's teeth, then outline the care plan they've developed for each of them. Finally, at the end of the meeting, they slide a print-out across the table with a number on it. A BIG number that makes you flinch involuntarily and hold your purse just a little tighter.
We walked into the conference room with the office manager, and as she pulled up various teeth photos on the computer, Tom said (mostly) jokingly:
"I feel like I should mention before we get started here, that based on my daughters' behavior this morning, I'm not going to be willing to spend very much on their mouths."
The woman laughed and said, "Bad morning?"
"Oh, dear God. Bickerfest 2010," I said fervently.
"Well," she said, "It might help if you try thinking of the braces as a sort of torture device."
Tom looked thoughtful. "Interesting. Tell me more..."