Valentine’s Day, Chicken Soup & the Italian Dentist.

Valentine's Day, Chicken Soup & the Italian Dentist |

I remember the days of getting up on Valentine’s day to make pink milk and heart shaped pancakes. Of sweet treats and surprises and hearts hung from the kitchen chandelier.

And these 2 cuties.

Back when they adored each other, played their made up game of “sneaky bunnies” and went camping in the backyard together.

This year is different. I’m not sure if it’s the kids growing up, or us living in Italy, or both- but there is not 1 single Valentine’s day decoration in our house. And there certainly is no heart shaped food.

I kind of miss it and wish I had brought something red and festive with me from home, or gone shopping with the intent to buy some kind of St. Valentine’s day decor.

Ben had a wisdom tooth surgery Friday night. He thinks he is doomed to ever have a good Valentines day. Ever.

He’s a little dramatic. Wonder who he got that from?

To be fair, he has good reason to think that.

When he was 4, and we were on vacation visiting my in-laws in Orlando, he ended up being admitted to the hospital for pneumonia- ON Valentine’s day. Poor boy.

Fast forward to this year, when I had to re-schedule his wisdom tooth surgery. I requested a Friday so that he could recoup over the weekend, and hopefully not miss any school. I was so focused on picking a Friday, of Chris being in the country etc. that it didn’t even enter my mind that is was Valentine’s day. And then when I did realize it- I honestly didn’t think he would care.

Valentine’s Day came and he went to school with a worry in his heart about the dreaded appointment. I sent him off to school with reminders to not eat anything after lunch and that I would be taking him almost straight from the bus to the dentist. To which he said “well, I guess it will be good to just get it over with.” (what?! Shockingly calm and mature)

And then I proceeded to come home and make his favorite Chicken Soup.

Love in a cup. Perfect for Valentines day AND for a boy who doesn’t feel good.

In past years I have made heart shaped homemade noodles just for fun. But of course I didn’t think to pack my heart cookie cutters, and after briefly thinking about making a homemade heart shaped cookie cutter, I decided to just stop with that nonsense and use normal noodles.

Valentine's Day, Chicken Soup & the Italian Dentist |

We headed to the dentist after school and I chit chatted with him about his day. He told me how everyone was passing out candy and flowers and he was offered candy and just gave it away, “because I knew I couldn’t eat it anyway….”

So sad. Parenting fail.

I didn’t even think about people handing out things at school. Was I supposed to have known this? Was I supposed to have sent things to school with the kids?

We arrived ON TIME at the dentist building which is in a large complex of apartment buildings that look exactly alike.

I have finally figured out where to park and how to wind through the maze of buildings to find the “Residenza Sassi” building and find door #8, buzz the door, get let in and then take the elevator to the 4th floor.

We went into the elevator and pushed the button and the door closed and then opened again. We thought it was just a fluke, so we did it again. With the same results.

So we climbed the 4 flights of stairs and found a locked door at the top of the stairs. I banged on the door and Ben was horrified and wanted to go back to the lobby- but I persisted with my banging and soon another parent from the dentist office came and opened the door for us.

We donned our blue booties and waited our turn.

Ben was visibly nervous and asking me questions about what would happen. I did my best to answer him, without really knowing how they would do things in Italy. When the Doctor came out, I told him Ben was nervous- hoping he would understand and put him at ease.

But I keep forgetting how literal they are, and my comment invited the Doctor to talk in detail about the surgery, saying things like “I know surgery is scary” and “there’s no need to be afraid of the knife” and things like that.

Oh my word. NOT helpful.

I asked if I could go back with Ben, knowing he wanted me to come with him but not knowing if I would be allowed, or if I could stay in there without freaking out.

I went back and helped him get settled and we held hands while the nurse put the oxygen mask on him. Again, I quietly said to her, “Ben is feeling pretty nervous”  hoping she would get the hint. The nurse smiled and nodded, and proceeded to pull up a metal tray right in front of Ben.

She started opening all the surgical instruments, large metal scalpel, large metal syringe. etc.

So I did my best mom emergency fix-  inserting myself in between Ben’s gaze and what looked like a tray of torture instruments, and started rambling.

I talked to Ben about his milkshake preferences after we got home, about his day at school, about the trip we are getting ready to go on and what he is looking forward to when we go home this summer.

He just kept squeezing my hand. And tried to not look down at all that metal in front of him.

Meanwhile I was feeling like my heart was going to jump out of my chest, having a little trip down memory lane of a traumatic dentist visit I had as a child when my mom took me to a “country dentist” to get some teeth pulled and I swear this man had the largest hands I had ever seen and held that GINORMOUS metal syringe in front of my face, just like in the movies and squirted the excess liquid out.

In slow motion.

It took what felt like FOREVER for the gas to take effect- and the nurse’s constant tweaking of the ancient looking machine did nothing to ease my anxiety.

Ben was finally starting to feel sleepy and calm and the doctor asked me to go wait in the waiting room- which I did. I was so relieved and yet felt guilty that I was leaving Ben back there alone.

I went to sit in the lobby- all alone- the 4 of us were the only people in the office this afternoon. The walls were paper thin- so I could hear them talking to Ben and hear the suction and instruments.

I felt like I was going to throw up- and wondered what I would do if I heard Ben crying or screaming in pain. I just wasn’t sure of this whole scenario.

Luckily none of that happened. They got the tooth out quickly and fairly easily for an impacted wisdom tooth, and soon I was taking him home.

With an RX for pain medicine and directions that he only drink COLD liquids for the next 24 hours.

Oh dear. Glad this soup keeps well…


Rosemary & Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Recipe Type: Soups
Cuisine: American
Author: Heather
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
Rosemary & Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, adapted loosely from [url href=”” target=”_blank”]this lovely recipe at Bon Appetit[/url].[img src=”” width=”2061″ height=”2061″ class=”alignnone size-full” title=”VALENTINE’S DAY, CHICKEN SOUP & THE ITALIAN DENTIST. |” alt=”VALENTINE’S DAY, CHICKEN SOUP & THE ITALIAN DENTIST. |”]
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 large bone in chicken breasts
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 branch of fresh rosemary
  • 3/4 c. orzo or ditalini pasta
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 T. flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat 2 T. olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add leeks, onion, celery and carrots, Cook until softened (about 6-8 min)
  3. Add chicken broth, rosemary and chicken breast. Bring to a boil and cook 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Remove chicken to a cutting board and cool, then shred with 2 forks.
  5. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
  6. Add the cooked chicken back in, and zest the lemon right into the soup.
  7. In a glass bowl, combine the juice of 1/2 the lemon with the flour to make a paste. Add a ladle full of broth and stir to combine.
  8. Add this mixture back into the pot of soup.
  9. Cook on low until heated through. Remove rosemary branch, taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  10. Yummy. So easy to tweak to your own tastes with different herbs and seasonings, or different shapes or homemade noodles.

Yummy. So easy to tweak to your own tastes with different herbs and seasonings, or different shapes or homemade noodles.

So happy I also bought these…

Italian Applesauce

After I got him settled, I walked down to see my pharmacist, Guido (I kid you not) and got Ben’s pain meds. Guido and I are becoming friends, as many times as I have been to the Farmacia!

Ben is back to school now and back to eating solid food.

Alls well that ends well.

xx- H

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