Sunday, April 1, 2012


I have been recently watching another mom at church go through some tough parenting decision-making lately, and I'm actually feeling like I understand what she's going through. I'm at the very beginning of the exact problem that she is currently mired in, and I just know that I'm headed for the same place as her. She's being torn between the opinions of therapists and physicians on what appears to be a sticking point in pediatric care... Ankyloglossia

For those of us who don't speak doctor, that's a tongue tie. Another term, which you may have actually heard before, is "tight frenulum." Here's some more info from the medical experts ... here. 

This is what Geri's tongue does when
she sticks it out... she looks part snake...
Geri has a tongue tie. It's pretty severe, I'm thinking, because it makes the tip of her tongue appear forked and there's a deep groove in the middle of her tongue. Her feeding therapy team seems to think it might be bad enough to be impacting her speech and ability to chew and swallow. Her pediatrician, however, seems to think it's a cosmetic issue. 

Here's the situation that us poor, hapless moms are thrust into. We're stuck between a therapist and a pediatrician. One tells us in our feeding/speech therapy sessions that this tongue tie has got to be clipped, that it needs to be corrected. The other tells us, during regular office visits, that the condition really only affects nursing and if the child is eating solids then all is well. If we go and see an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT) then the message is "I can't guarantee the surgery will help with anything." 

What's a mom to do? We've got one expert telling us adamantly to get this condition corrected. We've got another telling us not to bother. We've got a third refusing to guarantee results but talking about putting our little ones under general anesthesia, which always sounds ominous. 

Dear therapists, docs and specialists - please find a way to agree on this without putting us parents in the middle. See, we're not experts here. Sure, we can do our research online but that research is just going to reiterate all three of your viewpoints and leave us with nothing more than what we started with. Being stuck in the middle of your disagreement feels a lot like being a little kid whose parents are fighting - I don't understand what's wrong and I don't know how to fix it. I feel powerless and confused because the people who are supposed to know what to do appear to, well, not know what to do. My mom friend said today, half jokingly, that she'd like to stick all these experts in a room together and make them argue it out. I actually envisioned a cage match, where one of the three emerges sweaty and bruised and gives the orders to some nurse who scurries off to make it happen... or not happen, whatever the case may be. 

When our kids have a problem, we want to fix it. It's part of being a mom. We're looking to you to tell us what we need to do. So get your crap together, hash this junk out, and give us a way ahead. 

Or, I swear, I'm building an octagon in my backyard. And then won't YOU be sorry!

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