Joy of joys, Aleks' poor mouth had further work done on it. We found out a week previous at an orthodontic check-up that due to the way that his upper front tooth was growing in, steps had to be taken pronto to ensure some sort of symmetry. Thus, the first of many braces were applied. Only four were added this first go-round. Aleks was cooperative as always while we were at the orthodontist and did not dread visiting in the first place, but afterward expressed discomfort and even a bit of depression over the new appliance. Late in the evening, he tearfully told me that he wished to be normal, to have a normal childhood, a normal mouth, and a normal nose. I held him and assured him best I could that he was in fact normal, that all children struggle at some point or another, that it does indeed suck, that it could be worse, and that since the day he was born I've wanted nothing more for him than to take away all his added discomfort, all the extra pain he must bear as the result of his birth defect. Then I confessed that I could not. Then we looked on the bright side some more to temper our admittances of complete suckage.