The title of this post may lead you to believe that I recently accomplished another mundane parenting task. I took my daughter to the dentist.
But those of you with children (especially particularly argumentative children), will appreciate the energy, stamina, steel will and determination that must be undertaken to accomplish this task.
My daughter has now been to the dentist twice. Six months ago was her first visit. A relatively happy and completely pain-free experience, complete with toys from the treasure box and an hour of free play in the Fisher-Price kitchen in the waiting room while Mommy had a turn in the chair. (I don’t need to point out that my experience was neither happy nor pain-free. I hate going to the dentist. It’s not a fear-of-pain thing. It’s a this-is-so-boring-I-can-think-of-a-million-other-things-I-could-be-doing thing.)
That visit was with my previous dentist. Recently, my husband’s dentist retired and he was forced to find a new one. Which he did, right next door to our house. So, after some humming and hawing, I switched dentists, too. It was just so much more convenient. And convenience, in my life, is key.
But try to explain to a 4-year-old, who takes much convincing to do anything in the first place, that now that she is used to her dentist, she has to change dentists. I almost didn’t switch her.
The day started out like any other. Dropped off my son at daycare; dropped off my daughter at school; went to work. Picked up my son and daughter at the end of the day, headed to the dentist. My daughter screamed and cried all the way.
This is, of course, the point at which I was expecting the day to go sideways. So no surprises there.
My husband, bless his soul, stopped by the dentist on his way home from work to collect our son and take him home, thus leaving me with only the one child (a necessity in case of a meltdown; hers, not mine).
My daughter surveyed the waiting room and pointed out that there were no toys to play with. The wonderful dental assistant/receptionist provided some paper and crayons to entertain my daughter, which she grudgingly accepted. It was suggested by the hygienist that my daughter go first. This was not met with agreement from my daughter. We teetered on the edge of a meltdown for a few moments. Thankfully, it past.
I went in for my exam and cleaning and tried to keep an ear open for my daughter left out in the waiting room with only paper and crayons to keep her mind off her impending turn in the chair.
My exam went well, relatively speaking. When I went out to the waiting room, there was my daughter, behind the receptionist’s desk, asking a zillion questions, telling the poor woman about all of her imaginary children (my daughter is going through a mommy stage and she has, at last count, about nine kids), and telling her where she should hang the multitudes of drawings she had lovingly rendered while I was in the chair.
So far, so good.
Then it was her turn.
There are two exam rooms in the office. My daughter refused to be corralled into either. SHE was going to make the choice. This took about 5 minutes. The minutes stretched as I noticed the patience of the dentist wearing thin. My daughter finally sat down in the chair in the dentist’s room, had her teeth examined without fuss and then refused to move into the hygienist’s room for her cleaning.
I held my breath. The look on my face must have been a clue to the receptionist who came right over and took my daughter’s hand, leading her to the other chair. She got her settled in and the hygienist went to work. A short time later, after many interruptions so that my daughter could ask questions, her cleaning was done. We chose toothbrushes and headed out the door.
It was only then that I realized that I hadn’t taken a full breath in the entire hour we were in the office. I exhaled. What a relief. Until the next dentist appointment. 😉