There are two families in the orthodontist's office learning braces are indicated: One child is crying. The other child is gleefully picking out band colors. One mother is smiling stoically. The other is sobbing and dropping silent f-bombs.
The orthodontist was probably thinking "OK, if I could just have that child and that mother, my world would be a much better place." Alas, it is not to be.
I was as composed as Nancy Kerrigan: "Why? . . . why? . . . WHY?????"
Because Sophie's teeth look JUST FINE. Evenly sized and spaced. A teensy bit of crowding in the bottom front, but other than that FINE. But apparently only to my untrained eye. She has a "serious" bite problem that if not repaired will cause endless grief (she will wear her front teeth away) and will have crowding once more molars arrive on the scene. All the baby teeth are gone, so it's time to start the fun. At least for Sophie. She will look so grown up in braces!! And the colors!!! "TEAL and LAVENDER! No—LIME and PINK!! How about ORANGE and PURPLE???!!!" This site, which is almost as fun as the Bonanno sandal customization site, will occupy her for hours. And she finds the prospect of visiting the office, which is full of friendly people
But back to me. Do you how much this is estimated to cost me??
SIX THOUSAND DOLLARSGoddamn. Do you think this is reasonable? I am suspicious. Because let's do a little math here: The bands are changed every (I think) eight weeks. So that's six times a year, two years, divided into $6,000, and we have $500 a visit. I know, not really: There is the initial fitting, all the new-fangled plastic braces are made of these days, and the color consultation that will be required at each visit, BUT STILL. Six thousand dollars would probably pay for a full-body liposuction and Botox treatment for ME.
Should I get a second opinion? A second cost estimate? How about from one of those discount orthos advertised on television? I'm with a wise friend of mine who insists that children do not need the best of everything. The reasonable version is often completely adequate. We saved money on the medium-priced car seat and the super cheap stroller, and Sophie is very bit as healthy and fit had we bought the Britax and the Maclaren. Besides, we then had money left over for expensive ski lessons. It's all about priorities. And apparently about spending crap loads of money.
So this is what being a parent is all about. Guess I should have paid (that word: pay, paid, paying—make it stop!!) attention to the fine print.