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Showing posts from 2024

My Baby was Born with a Tooth

 Maya has been waiting a long time for this day to come. Tonight she lost her first tooth! And while this is an epic milestone in a child's life, I had to remind her that she didn't actually loose her first tooth tonight. She lost her first tooth the day after she was born. After being induced at 42 weeks, and having 25 hours of labor end in an emergency c-section, I had many surprises the night Maya was born. My first surprise was that she was a girl, because we had been referring to her as "Panchito" for all of my pregnancy. My second surprise was that my recessive genes had prevailed and she had blond hair and blue eyes. And my third and greatest surprise was when the medical team informed me that she was born with a tooth! Approximately one out of every 2,000 to 3,500 newborns come into the world with at least one tooth, and that was Maya. Teeth that are present at birth are called natal teeth and they are relatively rare. Natal teeth are different from normal tee

Lost Voices: Where to find Spanish Speakers in a Hospital

Mateo had a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy on Wednesday at Boston Children's Hospital in Waltham. We made this decision after much deliberation, but for our poor four-year-old who had never slept through the night due to his enlarged tonsils, we hoped the surgery would greatly improve his quality of life.  While he played with a Mario Donkey Kong toy set, we spoke with multiple staff people about his imminent procedure. As the unofficial representative of our family in these situations, I did most of the talking and consent-form signing, but Francisco was there supporting both Mateo and me.  We discussed the procedure with the preoperative holding nurse and she explained that when it was time for the surgery, Mateo would be wheeled away into the operating room where he would receive anesthesia by mask and then have his IV put in. I thought he might be nervous in the operating room without us, so I asked the nurse if there were any Spanish-speaking members of the surgical team. I t

At What Age are Kids Aware of Racial & Ethnic Differences?

My Guatemalan husband and I have two white-passing children, who we are raising to be bilingual and bicultural. We've only spoken to them in Spanish and we have made a concentrated effort to instill within them a sense of pride in their Guatemalan-American heritage.  A few years ago, the kids and I were out driving in the car. I don't remember where we were going, but it was daytime and just the three of us. We were driving down a road we travel often, right down the street from our house. I stopped at an intersection and a big beautiful church with a playground sat on the corner.  Little Maya looked out the window and asked me in Spanish, can we go play at that playground? I told her no we couldn't. She responded, "¿Es porque somos guatemaltecos?" My heart dropped at her words. I quickly reassured her that we weren’t able to play at the playground not because we were Guatemalan, but because we weren’t members of that particular church. But it was a harsh realizat