I don’t know about you… but taking my kiddo to dentist and doctor’s appointments gives me anxiety. The kind of anxiety that causes me to bring a professional mom along with me kind of anxiety. Do I know that I’m being ridiculous and overreacting? Absolutely. I’ve tried implementing different Pinterest blog advice, too… you know the kind where they say, “Start talking with your child about the dentist at an early age” or “read them books about the dentist/doctor so that they are comfortable with the process.” ***Before I really get into this let me just say that we have an amazing pediatrician and dentist.. both with rockstar staff.
So… I started out the day saying, “We’re going to the dentist this morning!! It’s going to be so fun!! They’re going to give all of your teeth a bath (Not sure where this came from but it sounded good at the time while I was jumping up and down and clapping).” His reply, “I’m not talking right now.” Ok. So what was my next step? Google of course: How to…. talk to your toddler about the dentist. Ya’ll. I’m asking Google how to talk to my strong-willed kid about how much he’s going to love the dentist and that I will also take him to Chick-fil-A if he behaves. All at eye level (Because I read this somewhere about effective communication).
What is it about these visits that totally unnerve me? I think it’s the unknown. You know when you take your kiddo to their first appointment at the pediatrician and they do the multi point inspection? I know that’s a car reference but it feels like the same thing. But it’s a human… not a car. And that human is your responsibility. And if they miss something… I don’t know about you… but I immediately start mom shaming myself.
So that’s when it started… I started comparing my kid to a list of what was “normal.” And can I add I despise this word. What is “normal” anyway… that’s another day and another blog entry. And let me just tell you… if there has been a milestone, we’ve missed it. And it sends you into a google frenzy and talking to other moms asking about their kid(s) and whether or not they do this or they do that. So that’s where all of this crazy started and has now entered the dental world. What if his teeth are rotting out? Should I brush his teeth to make sure we’re getting every spot? He’s almost 4 and has 20 pacifiers. He has like the Noah’s ark of pacifiers. Are they going to scold me because he’s going to be in a Herbst appliance until graduation? Ridiculous. I get it. By now you probably are experiencing some of my anxiety.
Our first dental appointment to have our teeth cleaned was interesting… they ended up getting us a “private suite” because I think he was scaring the other kids… he was scaring me a bit as well. There weren’t enough stickers and tractors in that treasure chest to get that kid to open his mouth and cooperate and at that point I wanted to just freak out and say, “Fine. Let your teeth rot out.” And you quickly have to get your butt in line and remember they are 2 years old and it’s not appropriate to have a pissing contest with a kid. In public. You also don’t want to freak out all of those nice ladies that obviously love children or they wouldn’t work with them every day. Moving on before I have a flashback to that nightmare.
So here we are… the actual point of this blog. Shout out to the professional mom, Sue Sue or “The Nanny.” The entire way she keeps saying it’s going to be fine… inside I’m saying little prayers. Probably because of that last dental visit we had was due to the little human chipping his front tooth (since then he chipped the one next door and it matches). Legit looks like a rainbow.
We get there and she sits down and starts playing checkers with him. He’s sharing with some little girl and I’m just sitting back and taking notes. It’s like watching Carol Brady take Bobby to the dentist. As the door was opening and the assistants would call a kid back, the parents would get up and follow. Ya’ll… I had no desire to witness the circus that was about to go down. The last time it was like bathing a cat. So when our name was called… Well… both of our mouths dropped…
It was time… So I got up followed closely behind Sue Sue … and asked if we could leave him with them and sit in the waiting room. We assured her he would do much better without me back there. And guess what. Not a single problem. She said, “He did so great! He’s so sweet!” Now I’m sure they say this about every kid… but I was just thankful we didn’t have to go back to that nice private suite. The result? We were cavity free! Meltdown free! And no paci shaming (this is on my list of things to take care of before we hit 4… for those that are reading this concerned). He got a tractor and chicken nuggets. It was just a great experience all around.
Being a mom is tough. Comparison is tough. Holding your head high when you want to crawl under a rock and cry is tough. What I’m learning every day is that this is OUR journey. Remember, I got those 3 pieces of paper stapled together when I left the hospital and there wasn’t a bullet point on dental visits. So I say… celebrate the little victories. Even though it’s easy to get worked up and overreact about something as insignificant as a dental or doctor visit… the most important thing is just to slow down and embrace it. I can assure you that even the parent that looks like they have it altogether with the kid that is hitting all of their milestones and eats healthy snacks and doesn’t put himself in timeout… struggles too. It just might look a little differently than your struggle. I’ve seen it somewhere and can’t remember but it said something like, “God picked this child for you because he knew that you were the perfect pair.” So even when you feel ill-equipped to do this whole parenting gig… truth is… in their eyes… you’re perfect.