He was born not in a cross-fire hurricane*, but with a perfectly heart-shaped tongue. Ankyloglossia, I remembered from my nursing days, was the medical term for it, but I preferred to call it a tongue-tie. It just seemed more appropriate for a baby whose mouth never stopped moving. Er, screaming.

I mentioned it to his pediatrician at his one week Well Baby check-up, not because I had concerns about his eating habits, but because I knew that as an infant, it was a quick office snip. His old-school pediatrician seemed unconcerned, providing he was eating.

And Alex, he was a boob man. Eating, screaming and DECIDEDLY NOT SLEEPING were the three things he excelled at.

The tongue-tie stretched a bit over time, but still, that delicious little heart-shaped tongue greeted me as he bleated for more food. Later, it began to affect his words…only very slightly. That heart-shape gave him the most delightful Jersey accent, and one feverish night, I wondered if I could potentially cast him in an upcoming episode of Jersey Shore. Once I realized the amount of spray-tan I’d have to invest in, I decided against it.

It was a matter of time, I knew, before we had to get it fixed.

What had once been a simple quick snip at the doctor’s office had now become a full surgical procedure. Mostly, I knew, because no four-year old will willingly let you near his mouth with a scalpel. Because four-year olds are smart.

I’d taken him last year, one summer day, to the ENT, who pronounced that it’d be a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am sort of procedure: give him the gas, snip it up, and POW! Heart-shaped no more.

I stopped listening after he said he’d be putting the kid to sleep. Not because I had any specific, rational fears about it. Hell, my girl had her head carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey and this, this was the surgical equivalent of a paper cut.

But still, I couldn’t handle it. I tried to be all EYE OF THE MOTHERFUCKING TIGER about it. I even went as far as to schedule the appointment. When it came time to actually bring him in, I bailed. Cancelled the surgery, ashamed that I couldn’t do something so simple. Every time I went to reschedule this – such an easy procedure – my heart raced, my eyes went all blurry and three-hundred pounds sat upon my chest.

Every time Dave would mention the surgery, I’d suddenly busy myself with a new cactus video or waxing my dog, or really anything besides talking about the surgery.

As this morning at 7:45, Alex became officially tongue-tie-less.

What shocks me is not that he pulled this incredibly easy surgery like a champ. It’s not that he just inhaled 12 donuts post-op. It’s not that he’s complaining that I have not yet bought him Oreos.


What shocks me is that I’d managed to entirely block out the surgery until yesterday. Last night, it hit me like a bag of oranges to the face, and when I began whining to whomever would listen to me on IM, each person was all, “OMG AB, HOW DID YOU NOT TELL ME?”

And that, really, would be the question.

All I could sputter out was that I’d forgotten. Which I had.

As Alex’s tongue became untied, mine knotted up, unable to share with even those closest with me.

*stands up and waves*

My name is Becky, and I am the Face of PTSD.

*that’d be me. Or Jumpin’ Jack Flash. OR BOTH.

19 thoughts on “Tongue-Tied Up In Knots

  1. I’ve had two kids with this. Luckily with Moira, we were all doped up when we did cauterization in the dentist’s office.

    Thalon had it but well…. I guess I never had to worry about getting it fixed.

  2. I’m so glad it went well and Alex has been a trouper about it! Kid after my own heart with all those donuts! LOL! I certainly can’t blame you for not wanting to think about it beforehand. Hospitals haven’t exactly been your happy place.

    When the kiddos are in bed tonight, you’ve earned some drinky-poos.

  3. You’ve had so much on your plate as a mother it’s no wonder you “forgot”. Sometimes no matter how much others wish we had talked about it, doesn’t change the fact that we won’t allow ourselves to talk about things or dwell on them. I’m so glad he’s doing well and YOU are doing well. Plus… it’s almost the weekend. Mommy deserves vodka. 😉

  4. I couldn’t take my younger son to get his undescended testicle fixed around age 4. I just couldn’t. The doctor said to do it before he turned 5, so I waited as long as possible. Then I did all the prelim appts, but taking him to the hospital, staying & waiting, being there post-op as he struggled to wake back up? Absolutely couldn’t face it. I told my then-husband that I was staying with the other two kids and he was going. It was one of the few times I ever stood my ground in my life.

  5. The Chick has this, but not as severe, she couldn’t breastfeed because of it, but it’s never affected her in any other way. We decided to forego surgery-if it becomes an issue in the future, we’ll address it then.

  6. I’m glad you forgot. After what you went through with Amelia, I wouldn’t fault you for curling up in the fetal position with a morphine drip and a bottle of Jack every time one of your kids got a splinter.
    Glad all is well.

  7. Glad it went so well. I would be a nervous wreck too. You should have just made your old school doctor get with the modern days and do it when he was a baby, though I imagine holding a baby who has no idea what the hells about to happen is not much better than taking a four year old in to take a nice drug induced nap. Wait can I put my children in drug induced naps? Not that I would…

  8. Yay for Alex coming through like a champ. I would have blocked it out, too, given everything that’s happened in the past couple of years. You deserve a little denial sometimes, woman. Now, go get that boy some Oreos and give him a big hug from me, please. And then take one for yourself. (Damn, I’m bossy, aren’t I? Love you, girl.)

  9. My 4 year old and my 1 year old are both toungue tied. Like you, I have been told it’s a simple procedure. And like you I have avoided it like the plague. It scares the crap balls out of me to think of putting my precious babies under. I should have done it when they were infants. My pedicatrician told me “If you’re not worried about lawyers we can do it real quick in the office”:. My kinda guy. But I’m still scared of someone taking a knife to my kid’s face. The 4 year ols doesn’t seem to have any speech impediments and it seems to be stretching. Maybe they’ll be fine. Right?

    Margaret (@goodbadfamily)

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