“I can’t wait to go to the dentist,” my son Tommy told me the other day as we walked inside the dentist office.
I had to bite my lip to keep from saying, “Okay, what’s wrong with you?”
I hate the dentist. The dentist gives me panic attacks. Of course I hide my fear from my children which is why they enjoy going. I’ll lie through my teeth and say things like, “And remember, when you go to the dentist, you’ll get a STICKER and they’ll clean your teeth with delicious toothpaste!”
Delicious toothpaste my ass. I love when the dentist says, “Okay, this is bubble gum flavored,” and then he or she puts it in your mouth and it tastes nothing like bubble gum. Instead it tastes like rotten meat loaf.
“Remember Tommy, when the dentist asks if you floss, what do you say?” I pressed as we pushed open the door.
“I’ll say I do,” Tommy answered with a grin.
Okay. Lying is wrong. I know it. And technically, it’s not a lie. Tommy does floss. Only it’s once per week. If that.
We checked in and when Tommy was called back he gave me a thumbs up.
“Here I go!” he said cheerfully.
Seriously, did he really come from my dentist-fearing vagina? Because whenever I was called back to see the dentist I nearly dissolved into tears and latched onto my parent’s ankles in fear.
Natalie was called back a few minutes later. I went back with her. We were led into a room and Natalie immediately climbed onto my lap and buried her face in my shoulder as the hygienist cooed at her.
“Are you ready to get your teeth cleaned?” she kept asking.
Natalie responded by digging her nose deeper in my flesh. She’s been going through a shy phase and doesn’t much like strangers to address her. Basically if you’re not in our gene pool, she wants nothing to do with you at the moment.
The hygienist got all the equipment that the dentist would need out and then chirped that he’d be in shortly. From my chair I could hear Tommy in the X-Ray room. The hygienists were telling him to bite down, to not move, NO, don’t push it out with your tongue….
Tommy always has issues with the X-Ray. He has my gag reflex and will quickly try to push the offending object out and then will be politely admonished for it. Normally it probably takes kids less than five minutes to get the X-Rays done.
It takes my son over ten.
He eventually gets it but it just takes awhile. Usually all the available hygienists have to go in the room and try and distract Tommy so he won’t push the trays from his mouth.
I have the same problem. I’ll start to gag and make choking noises as the thing is pressed against my teeth.
Tommy was finishing up as the dentist strolled in the room. He carried Natalie’s chart and beamed at us. The dentist is this older guy, probably in his late fifties with thinning gray hair.
“How are you, young lady?” he asked Natalie and reached out and rubbed her leg.
Natalie made a hissing sound.
“So how are things?” the dentist wondered.
“Great,” I said even though it was a lie. Things haven’t been great. We’re moving to Montana. To another missile base. The Air Force is screwing us over and they don’t even care. We have to go through another move and Tommy will miss a few days of school and he can’t afford to miss any days because he tends to forget things and then will get frustrated.
Then I had to tilt Natalie’s head back into the dentist’s lap so he could check out her teeth. First he counted them and then started spitting out dentist codes to the hygienist. I think he said something like, “Okay she has A through F,” or some nonsense that meant nothing to me.
“Does she have her two year old molars yet?” I inquired. I had been curious because there have been days where Natalie will just whine and I’ll assume it’s her teeth.
“Not yet,” the dentist said.
Oh. I guess that’s just Natalie’s personality then.
Natalie was doing fine at first. She allowed the dentist to count her teeth and poke at them. But when it came time to clean them, she flipped the crap out. She started thrashing in his lap and tried to bat his hand away.
“Natalie. Let the dentist do his job,” I said sternly and then hummed the McDonalds theme song as a reminder that if she was good, she’d get a delicious McGriddle for breakfast.
Natalie brightened at the thought of McDonalds. She calmed down as the dentist brushed her teeth—but then I saw an evil glint in her eye and the dentist’s gloved fingers were in her mouth again as he flossed.
“Natalie,” I warned. I knew that look. She was up to no good.
“OUCH!” the dentist shrieked, pulling his hands from her mouth and shaking them. “She bit me!”
Natalie looked quite pleased with herself.
“Natalie,” I admonished even though I was secretly thinking, “Good on you. Get those evil dentists with their rotten meat loaf flavored toothpaste.”
“I’m sorry,” I felt the need to apologize as the dentist winced. “She’s just…well, she’s two.” I shrugged palms upward.
The dentist regained his composure. “That’s okay. It happens.” He grinned at Natalie but it appeared to be forced. When he was finished he said that Natalie had no cavities and that her teeth looked great.
“Goodbye, little biter,” he told Natalie, who made another hissing sound at him.
Then we headed into the back where Tommy was finishing up. I sat down across from him right as the hygienist said, “And do you brush you teeth at least twice per day?”
“Do you floss?” she continued.
Tommy tossed me a Look before saying, “Yup.”
(Again. Not a total lie. He does floss. When he remembers.)
“Good news, Mom,” the hygienist told me, scribbling something down in his chart. I tried not to make a face at this. I detest when people just call me Mom as though that’s my only identity now. My name is Amber. I am a mother and proud to be one, but I am also Amber, the chocoholic who loves to read and hopes to publish a novel one day.
“No cavities,” the hygienist continued. “His teeth look fantastic.”
“Because I don’t drink juice OR soda!” Tommy said proudly.
The hygienist looked startled. “Is that true?” She looked at me with eyebrows raised. Most people are always stunned when they hear that.
“It’s true,” I confirmed.
My son has always been different. He’s never liked juice or soda. He only wants to drink water. We were at a restaurant once and the waitress accidentally brought over juice when he had requested water. Tommy took one sip and blanched as though he had just sipped oil. “This is awful,” he gasped, shoving it away. “I need water!”
Then the kids each got to pick out a small toy. The dentist came in as Natalie chose a plastic elephant and said, “Now, if you bite me next time young lady, you can’t pick out a toy.” He wagged his finger and Natalie just wrinkled her nose at him.
We headed out to the reception area where I was meant to make another appointment in six months. Instead I sighed and went, “Actually, we’re moving in November. So I won’t need to make an appointment.” I nearly cried as I said this. “So can I just have their charts now?” My voice started to come out all scratchy so I had to swallow quickly.
I still can’t believe the Air Force is doing this to us. Sending us to a crappy base. When do we finally get a break?
I was given their charts. “Well, we’re sorry you’re leaving,” the perky receptionist told me.
“Me too,” I croaked out. She has no idea how sorry.
I drove to McDonalds next. When the yellow arches came to view Natalie pointed from her car seat and yelled, “DaDonalds! DADONALDS!”
When I got into the drive thru lane Natalie was all, “Fries? Fries?” even though I had explained several times that there were no fries before 1030.
“You can have a hash brown. Basically the same thing,” I explained as I pulled up to grab the food. I ordered a large hot chocolate to cheer me up.
As soon as I got the food I handed Natalie her hash brown.
“Fries? Fries? Mommy, I want FRIES!” she screeched, hurling the hash brown past my head.
“There are no fries!” I replied as the hash brown bounced off the radio and slithered down into a cup holder.
When we got home I tried to get Natalie interested in her food but she just poked at it.
“Fries?” she said pathetically. “Fries?”
This meant that I not only ate my McGriddle, but hers as well because you can’t let good food go to waste. This meant that I couldn’t have lunch because I had already had at least 1000 calories for breakfast which meant that I was in a foul mood by the afternoon.
When Tom came home from work he asked how the dentist appointments went.
“Natalie bit the dentist!” Tommy offered and then started laughing.
Natalie bared her teeth at this and went, “I bite!”
Do I have a toddler or a vampire? Sometimes I wonder...