"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fun at the Dentist!

Got a free day?
Feeling brave?
Energy to burn?
Pride to toss to the curb?

Then, have I got a day for you!

First, spend an hour and a half of your morning at the dentist. Bring your 3.5-year old for his appointment, too. And bring the wiggle-worm 14-month old. Strap her in the stroller while your teeth are being cleaned. Bring her snack to keep her occupied. She'll spill it all over the floor of the exam room, but that's okay. The hygienist will assure you, with a sigh, that there's a broom.....somewhere. It won't matter, because for the duration of your cleaning, the 3.5-year old will dance and twirl in the, approximately, 17-square inches of space not occupied by the dentist chair, hygienist, tool trays, X-ray equipment, stroller, etc., pulverizing the spilled snack into a hardly detectable dust.

When your baby grunts and pulls and lunges and yells in an attempt to escape from her stroller, direct the Big Brother to find her toy, any toy, or book, any book, or water bottle! Yeah, that'll occupy her--the water bottle! from the diaper bag. This will be tricky, as your mouth is full of a dentist's tooth polisher and the suction tube, which the hygienist repeatedly refers to as "Mr. Thirsty," even to the adult in the room. Your Big Boy Helper will have no idea what you're saying, but will appear to be helping as he digs through the bag. It will turn out that he just emptied to contents of your wallet into the bottom of the bag and that the water bottle is now leaking, but that's okay, too, because who carries cash anymore?

Once your teeth are clean and sparkling, hop that big boy up into the chair and grab some paper towels to clean up the snack dust. He'll do great during his cleaning, thank goodness, because by now, the baby is All Done at the dentist. You'll get her out of her stroller and she'll want to run. She can't, of course, so you'll hold her and bounce her and sway with her and distract her and she'll be thisclose to Losing It, so you're sweating and willing the hygienist to polish faster. The Big Boy's teeth will be finally be cleaned and the dentist will come in to do his final check. He'll start talking to you about...you know what? You won't know what he's talking to you about because you've got one foot out the door and a baby squirming out of one of your arms and a Big Boy asking you to "Hold me, please, Mommy?" while pulling on the other. And your once-organized bag is now bursting with the remnants of failed-distraction tactics and you're hoping you don't leave a trail of books and lovies and snack containers as you walk back through the waiting room. 

You'll make it out. Barely. Go home and make lunch very quickly because the animals are hungry and the clock is ticking to naptime (and that second cup of coffee).

After lunch, hustle the two upstairs because you need to squeeze their naps in before you get the Biggest Kid off the bus and whisk him to...yup. The Dentist.  

Spend an hour trying to get the kids to sleep. But they won't. Of all days, today they won't.

At 3:00, start preparing to leave for the dentist. The appointment isn't until 3:30, and it's just up the road, but you'll need to account for the I-don't-wanna's that are to come. I don't wanna go to the dentist. I don't wanna brush my teeth. I don't wanna stop playing. I don't wanna do a potty try. I don't wanna put my own shoes on.... These, coming from the oldest, are compounded by the whimpering coming from the 3.5-year old who is over-tired and super-cranky. Also adding to the fun, is the 14-month old, who ALSO is over-tired and WIRED: running around the house, happily screeching as she escapes your grasp, rolling all over the floor and laughing when you ask her to sit so you can put her shoes on. 

Drive back to the dentist.

Arrive a few minutes early, you know, to be polite. Wait for 20 minutes past your appointment time anyway. 

Once back in the tiny, cramped room, try to occupy the two who have already seen and touched everything in the room once today. Let the 3.5-year old spin on the floor on his back because, well, at least he's no longer whimpering. Pace the room with the baby, pointing at and naming Every. Single. Thing. in the room. Sink. Paper towels. Soap Dispenser. Mirror. Cabinet. Sonicare Flyer. Computer. Latex Gloves. Dentist Tool Tray. Mr. Thirsty.......The hygienist will, mercifully, clean the big boy's teeth in record time, sensing that, once again, the end of the relative calm is rapidly approaching.

The dentist will poke his head in, with a telephone in his hand, and say, "Just give me a minute, I'm getting a second opinion on that wayward tooth of his." 


Remember that? The extra tooth that showed up on the X-ray Evan had a few months back? The adult canine tooth growing in between his two front adult teeth? And it's upside-down? Yeah. You can see it here:

Turns out our dentist has never before seen it and is seeking outside opinions. The tooth is still way up high. His front teeth aren't even a little wiggly. I know it's something we'll have to figure out at some point, probably relatively soon, but today? Let's just clean and be done for today. And another thing: I'm all for professional collaboration. I'm just a little concerned about the fact that our dentist has no idea who to collaborate with on this issue. He said he called a pediatric dentist and an orthodontist, neither of whom returned his call. (??) So now he's on the phone with an oral surgeon, who isn't picking up. Does that strike anyone else as odd?


So now, all tooth-cleaning is complete and you're awaiting the next step...more X-rays? Go home? The dentist is still on hold with the oral surgeon. The baby is arching her back and screeching in a no-longer-happy, adorable tone. She wants to get down and she wants to touch and try to eat everything in the room. You do your best to keep her relatively contained in a relatively clean and safe corner. The biggest boy, still in the chair, is begging to go home and flat-out refusing to have X-rays, which he may not even need.

And the dentist is still on hold.

The 3.5-year old is now, literally, spying on the patient in the room next door. You let him because, by definition, spies are quiet. This is the first time he hasn't been talking/whimpering/complaining/on the floor since you returned to the office.

The dentist comes back into the room.

The baby is crying and flailing.

The spy was caught and is embarrassed, head buried in your leg.

The dentist was not able to speak to the oral surgeon. The dentist starts talking, at length, about his opinions, or rather, lack of opinions on the Wayward Canine Issue.  The baby is pulling your hair and kicking her legs. The big boy is pulling your arm, trying to lead you out of the room. The biggest boy is sitting, smugly, in the chair, as it becomes apparent that he won't be having X-rays taken today.

The dentist is still talking.

The baby is seriously about to propel herself onto the floor, so you help her down but barricade her from sucking on the wires that are coming out of the dentist chair. Now that you're down low, the big boy is in your face saying, "Excuse me, Mommy. I have to tell you something. Excuse me. Excuse me. Mommy? I said Excuse me. Did you hear me Mommy? I was so polite. I said Excuse me, Mommy. Mommy? Did you hear me?"

The dentist stops talking and looks at you. You have half of your body wrapped around your baby, trying to keep her from pulling Mr. Thirsty out of his stand. Half of your ponytail has been pulled out of the elastic and is frizzing up around your face. Your free hand is giving the universal sign for "WAIT A SECOND, PLEASE" to the 3.5-year old and your now-bored Biggest Boy is rifling through your bag, looking for your phone. 

"You know what?" the dentist begins, "Why don't we just give this some time to develop. We'll see if we want to take some films at the next appointment. Oh, and we'll also want to start doing fluoride treatments. And, of course, we'll want to take the bite-wing films, now that he's got his six-year molars in. Do you think it'll be comfortable for him then? At his next appointment? To do the bite-wings? I know some kids don't mind it but for some it's a real problem?"

All hell is breaking loose.

You shake your head. You say, "I don't know. I just...I don't know." You gather your things and your children. You leave your pride on the floor next to one last puff that missed both the twirling/pulverizing and the paper-toweling from this morning.

You walk out of the dentist office, get the kids in the car,  and look at the clock, thankful that it's just about time for Daddy to come home. And for a beer. 

Lesson Learned:
I think we'll be shopping for a new dentist. I want a dentist who knows what to do with a Wayward Canine. I'd also like one who knows when it's time to stop discussing bite-wings. Oh, and, obviously I  can't show my face in there again.


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