This week I had a very different blog planned, but I decided last minute to change it. As I’ve made clear in previous blogs and a hundred social media posts, I have a new beautiful baby boy. He’s just over a month old and he seems perfect in every way.
Last Friday we were told he had a tongue-tie. His doctor recommended we fix this, so yesterday we did just that. Before now, I always thought of someone being speechless when they were “tongue-tied”. Obviously a one month old can’t talk, so what is the medical definition of a tongue-tie? In our mouths, all of us have a little piece of tissue called the lingual frenulum.
This piece of tissue connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. I’m sure you’ve noticed it before when looking in the mirror. A tongue-tie (technical term: ankyloglossia) is when the frenulum is unusually short, thick or tight in this connection. Here’s a picture of a tongue tie in a baby.
On the surface, this problem looks superficial. In fact, one of the symptoms listed was that the person can’t stick their tongue out. If that were the only issue, I might leave it. It could save me some trouble when my son gets a little older and more ornery and wants to show his dislike for my parenting through that sort of action. BUT complications from leaving a tongue-tie can be much more severe. Your tongue is a very important organ in the body so limiting its movements can cause other issues like:
- Breast-feeding problems
- Speech difficulties
- Poor oral hygiene
- Gagging or choking on foods once eating solids
- Challenges with other oral activities such as licking the lips, kissing or playing a wind instrument.
In talking with the doctor about tongue ties, it was interesting to know that this affects about 4-11% of children, so it’s relatively common. Luckily for all of those children, it is a simple procedure to fix it. The doctor simply makes a small cut in the frenulum. The hard part comes in the recovery; 4-6x a day for a month we have to do mouth exercises to make sure the procedure sticks.
Since I’m currently spending almost all of my time home alone holding a sleeping child, I’ve had lots of time to think about this issue. In thinking about it, though, my brain wandered and ended up relating it back to me and my own problems.
I will be the first to admit that in the last month my prayer life has tanked. With everything going on in the world, I’m sure that more than 4-11% of people are in a similar situation. In a way, I’ve been spiritually tongue-tied. You could take that in the more colloquial use of the term, but I feel like I relate to the medical term as well. There’s the obvious parallel of having speech difficulties. I have definitely found it difficult to speak with God. This lack of talking has also made everyday tasks feel so much harder. (Just like a young child choking while eating, something that seems like it should be so simple)
Then comes the greatest parallel of all. Making the decision to fix my problem is relatively easy. I just have to start talking. The hard part is in me continually working on it every day, multiple times a day to make sure that this decision will stick. I’m sure there will be a day where my son is fussy and I’m tired and we don’t get all 4 times of exercising in. I’m JUST AS sure that there will be days where my prayer life is lacking as well. Hopefully, as long as I continue to work at it and try daily, both of these things will last. My son will heal nicely and praying each day will become easier.
It seems to me that dry spells in prayer are a pretty common occurrence. Lots of people find themselves having difficulty praying. If that is you, I hope you’ll take the first step with me. I hope you will begin praying today and work on it every single day. If you are in a good place in your prayer life, praying every day, I hope you’ll pray for my son’s healing, but I also ask that you pray for me and the many others who are struggling with this right now. May we all soon live out these words from Ephesians: