*** The following post is sponsored conversation with Alliance Dental and the Alliance Dental Partner Program. As always, all opinions and vehicle selfies are my own. ***
You know those whitening toothpaste commercials where they show the range of colours teeth can be? I always imagined I’d be in the mid-range — not really dark, but certainly nowhere near the bright white. I was in the “beige zone” — otherwise known as That Blah Yellow Tinge.
My teeth were certainly STRAIGHT, thanks to two years of braces — and the fact that I still wear my retainers nightly, 20 freakin’ years after getting my braces off. And while I was certainly happy they were straight, the colour did bug me.*
(*Especially next to my neighbour — who seriously has the most gorgeous naturally white teeth you’ve ever seen in your life. Whenever I stood next to her, I felt like I had a mouthful of yellow Chicklets. But EVERYONE feels that way next to her.)
I mean, they weren’t terrible. But they also weren’t that white. I was so self-conscious about the yellow-ness of my teeth that I got very comfortable with the “teeth whiten” feature on PicMonkey.
We’d read and re-read The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers, including the section about how “your body is your own personal property, and nobody else’s business — especially the private parts.”
We’d talked about public bathrooms and change rooms. We’d told the kids that, yes, sometimes there are kidnappers who will try to steal children. We’d talked about how sometimes there are “creepy adults” who try to touch children’s private parts. We’d taught them to scream, “Help! Stranger!”
We talked. We quizzed. We role-played.
When I was a child, my mom had a blue paperback called Sometimes it’s O.K. to Tell Secrets. It was a collection of little stories and cartoons about kids finding themselves in sketchy situations and having the courage to (A) get themselves out of it and (B) tell a responsible adult what happened.
Even though it sounds a little disturbing, my sister and I loved this book. Our mom would read these stories about a child being touched inappropriately, or forced to look at dirty pictures, or coerced into doing something bad and being told not to tell their parents.
I don’t know what happened to our tattered blue book — full of stories of children in bad situations — but the other day I ordered a new copy while wiping tears from my eyes. Sexual abuse hit our family out of nowhere …
We learned that the “bad person” you warned your kids about isn’t always the stereotype of the isolated neighbour, the uncle that makes you feel uncomfortable or the leering stranger that gives you the creeps.
This past fall I decided it was time for a major change in our house. I work from home, so I was spending 40-plus hours a week crammed into a tiny nine-by-nine home office in the basement. I’d organized it as well as I could, but it was still stuffed with project supplies and felt claustrophobic.
Meanwhile, right outside my home office, there was a huge room — the entire length of our house — that was barely being used. It was dark, always messy, and the kids hardly ever came down there to play. Other than serving as a guest room when we had company, it was dead space.
I wasn’t sure if my husband would like the idea. (He really hated my idea of knocking down the wall between the linen closet and our master closet and creating a funky family library.) But he quickly agreed that it made sense for me to use the larger room for my home office, and we started the big switch.
While this new space is a lot larger it doesn’t have any windows, so it was important to make it as bright as possible. I replaced the fixtures and added 5,000k bulbs for lots of clean, white light. The room also has five revamped lamps, which I turn on at different times, so there’s plenty of light now.