We found out a few more things about Mea, in terms of health, over those first six months together.
First, she has an extremely high tolerance for pain.
At one point, this child had six teeth coming in at once and never woke up in the middle of the night to cry. She never fussed or complained. In fact, we didn’t realize she was getting all of those teeth until after they erupted from her gums. Tough kid!
We actually have learned to be very careful with this though. If she shares the littlest bit of of a complaint about pain, we pretty much rush her to the doctor. She doesn’t always know when something is wrong – because she doesn’t really feel anything.
For example, once she complained that her mouth hurt a bit. We took her to the dentist and she had such a bad cavity that they almost needed to perform a root canal on a baby tooth! That cavity didn’t appear overnight. She must have been “in pain” for a while.
That’s the other thing: her teeth are extremely prone to cavities. Due to her previous health situation, her teeth are porous. She’s had about five cavities, one with a cap, in her baby teeth.
Now, small confession on my part: I treat cavities as complete and utter parental failure. So,we have had her using prescription toothpaste, we got her back teeth sealed, make sure to take her for check-ups faithfully, and oversee brushing, flossing, and rinsing activities.
Where we’ve really struggled is in monitoring what she eats. As a general rule, we don’t let any of the kids eat gummy candy, or candy at all. We do allow chocolate. But for Mea, we’ve had to restrict any of these treats to special occasions. Of course, she doesn’t understand. Instead, she feels punished. We try to explain, but trying to help a child think ahead to the future is difficult. I don’t exercise, although I know that it would be better for me “in the future”; how can I expect her to put down that piece of candy that everyone else is having, in case it gives her a cavity, “in the future”?
Fortunately, the dentist shared that her adult teeth might not be the same as these baby teeth. I am hopeful. In the meantime, she has a great palate for healthy food and will eat almost any fruit or vegetable. We try to make those special. It helps that the boys hate them – so Mea and I are the only ones to partake.