Today Was A Dentist Day

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Today was Dentist Day. On a Dentist Day, I usually get dressed in my Mother Guilt and gear up for a busy day and a lighter wallet.

Today was no different. We had an early lunch and drove the hour to the pediatric dentist in the next big town to the west. The nice thing about going to the city is that there is plenty of opportunity for big, shiny carrots to dangle in front of my mostly miserable offspring.

The poor things are miserable because in the dental DNA department (the source of my Mother Guilt), they got the short end of the stick. For every cleaning they've ever had, there is usually a more serious problem to fix, patch or pull. This particular visit involved trying to rebuild a molar for The Boy and three extractions for The Girl.

Before even approaching the dentist's office today, we hit the toy store. This carrot was to distract The Boy Child so that he did not become too anxious before his appointment. He returned a duplicated Christmas gift and received a store credit which turned his logical, number crunching brain to money matters. Nothing was bought, but the discussion from the toy store to the dentist's chair encompassed all matters related to saving allowance, finding online product reviews and creating calendar checkpoints leading up to the potential purchase day.

He was not a happy camper when he assumed the position in the examination chair. It's the needles that set him off. Well, it's the idea of the needles, really. Once the nitrous oxide is flowing and the topical numbing agent has been applied, the needles are a piece of cake. He always stops the dentist to tell her that it was not nearly as bad as he thought it was going to be. Clear sailing for the rest of the appointment. The Boy and his brittle, weak enamel are patched up for another few months. The Boy returned to the waiting room where he immediately began organizing the office's meager Lego supply.

I had the job of taking The Girl to the examination room. By the hand. She felt it her duty to pretend a dramatic display of dental angst. Even though she's very near to being taller than me, she still needs to let everyone know that her miserable 12-year old life is all my fault. The Girl handles her stress and anxiety more quietly than her brother. Sarcasm and dramatics are popular tools of hers. But very soon the nitrous oxide was flowing again and the needles were tolerated with only a wee bit of toe curling. A bit of elbow grease on the part of the dentist and The Girl was three teeth lighter. For some unexplained reason, these primary teeth were hanging in there for the long haul.

The Girl was quite concerned, but not about the gaping spaces in her smile. She wanted her proverbial carrot. Still dozey from the gas, she wanted to make sure we were able to get to the book store before we left for home. She was so concerned, in fact, that the dentist had to set the timer so that she would keep her groggy butt parked until she was cleared for take-off.

I won't even get into how drugged I felt after the appointments when my funds were frozen and extracted. Please send your sympathies to

Soon I found myself in the book store with two drooly, slurring kids, one of who was very clearly not herself. Normally quite animated in the book store, The Girl was wandering around like the walking wounded. She couldn't find one appealing thing for me to buy for her. A clear sign that she should rest. One Universe book later, picked out by The Boy, we were on our way.

The kids were such troopers today. I'm proud of the way they handled themselves. As stressed out and anxious as they were, they were steady and brave when the going got tough. They were good company, considerate travellers and mature conversationalists. All the sibling 'issues' I see in a regular day disappeared and resurfaced as kind words and empathy for each other. (I suppose misery really does love company?!) At the end of the day, I am reminded of how great my kids are.

I am also reminded that they are not stupid. I'm off to do something about the three teeth under my 12-year old's pillow. Did I mention how much today is costing me??!

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