The Dentist

The kids had–and this was a surprise!– a dentist appointment this week.

The dentist office was really good– took our temperatures outside (I was actually around 99.7 which means, I think, I have another ear infection–I get them a lot) and then let me sit in the lobby since I was the only one there and I wore my mask.
While we were there, we had some discussion as to whether or not ZoomBoy should keep going to this dentist or not, since he will be eighteen in a year and a half, and he’s going to need his wisdom teeth pulled out, and possibly braces.
See, they’re still going to a children’s dentist, and while my children are fully adult-sized, I have much love for these people.
When Big T  was little, he had nursing caries. Before people get their judgy pants on, yes, I did give him apple juice at all hours of the night. Yes, I did know it would rot his teeth. But all of the things that work for putting a baby or toddler to bed without a bottle did NOT WORK for Big T–and I know, because they worked for the other kids, no problem. Big T did not do transitions, and he didn’t do changes in routine, and he was always hungry, ALWAYS hungry, particularly when he was super tired. 
It was give him the damned bottle or have the neighbors report him to CPS because he screamed instead of slept. For days. (Yes, they threatened to, why do you ask?)
So we gave him the bottle and took him to the dentist to get his teeth sealed. 
I was young and naive–but not stupid. I called up the dentist and asked if they took children. That was a yes.
Do you take children with special needs?
Oh, absolutely.
Do you take… large children with special needs?
No problem, ma’am.
You’re willing to anesthetize and restrain?
We don’t think it’ll come to that.
So I walked my 90 lb. 4th-grade sized toddler into the dentist office and filled out the paperwork, and got him into the dentist chair, and he’s getting ready to let loose, scream, and tantrum. I’m desperately trying to calm him down and in walks a tiny, 5 foot tall woman, who is probably eight months pregnant.
She was maybe four inches taller than my son, who is about ready to start throwing himself around on that chair like the world’s biggest fucking fish.
I say, “Can we give sedate him?” and she says, “No, we’re not allowed to sedate minors! Hold him down!”
I made her stop–and we left, and the receptionist–who obviously sold me a bill of goods in the first place, called out, “We’ll just wave your visit fee since it didn’t work out!” as I was pulling my screaming, tantruming toddler out the front door. 
I was a little savvier with the next phone call.
“Can you accommodate special needs children?”
“Oh definitely.”
“Are you sure? He’s a big boy. I know you guys can’t sedate children–“
“Oh, we can and we will. First we give them a magic popsicle that makes them loopy as fish, then we schwack them onto a sort of board that leaves their face exposed and immobilizes their body while we work on them–and we’re really quick, they don’t even have a chance to get traumatized. Trust us–your son will be in good hands.”
I was SOLD. 
They were the nicest people. 
The place was originally run by a husband and wife, but their daughter eventually took over, and they have all been the kindest people. They love working on kids, and love seeing them grow up. Big T only needed the magic Kool-Aid popsicle and schwacky-board a couple of times before he was comfortable enough there to just go in, play video games while hewaited, and walk in and smile at the dentists because they were nice people. Chicken got magic Kool-Aid popsicles before her first fillings, and the younger kids are just as completely untraumatized and copacetic with the dentist because the dentists are good people.  
These were the people that got ZoomBoy so stoned to get his fillings the registrar at his middle school told me I should probably just take him home after his appointment, because he was staring into space and mumbling that his nostrils were cold.
I don’t want to leave the kids’ dentist. They’ve been good to us. And, I know, that as soon as I pull ZoomBoy, I’ll probably pull  Squish, because the grownup dentist is about 20 miles away. 
So, they were regarding me kindly and saying, “Well, yes, he is six-foot-two, it may be time to look for an adult dentist. Let’s get him another panorex and see what his wisdom teeth are doing. You may be ableto wait another year.”
I really want to wait another year.
And maybe it’s silly of me, but I just keep remembering how they understood what my difficult child needed, and gave it to him without judgment, and then were so kind, he eventually didn’t need that much intervention anymore. 
It’s dumb the things you’re going to miss as your kids get older. I never really thought I’d miss the dentist.

0 thoughts on “The Dentist”

  1. I knew I loved you as a writer, but now you're my new Mom Hero! Bless you and all your kids of various sizes and their beautiful smiles!

  2. I knew I loved your books, but you're my new Mom Hero now — bless you and all your kids of various ages and sizes!
    Jenn (not Lily)

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