“Am I going to get a shot in my mouth?” my son Tommy asked for the millionth time that morning.
“Tommy, it depends if you have a cavity or not,” I said as I drove along to the dentist office where he and his sister had an appointment that morning. Early in the morning, I might add. I am not a morning person so being asked the same question over and over was wearing on my nerves. Wasn’t he tired? Didn’t he just want to, I don’t know, BE?
“I don’t want a cavity!” Tommy said, slapping a hand over his mouth.
“So long as you brush you teeth good, you have nothing to worry about,” I assured him.
I parked in front of the dentist office and took a deep breath. Dentists, it should be known, scare the crap out of me. It’s probably because I have a gag reflex so when they’re messing around my mouth, they have to constantly stop so I can, well, gag. Then they’ll sigh and stare at me like I’m doing it on purpose and I’m NOT. Really. I can’t help it. I just need to be knocked out through the whole exam, even simple ones, but most dentist offices say they won’t do that.
My kids, thankfully, don’t seem to have my bad gag reflex.
“I don’t know if I like this,” Tommy said, slowly emerging from the car.
“I wouldn’t like it,” I wanted to say but I have to pretend like the dentist and I are best buds, that they aren’t scary at all, that their office doesn’t smell.
“It’ll go great,” I said and thought that Tommy would call me out on having a fake enthused voice. But he didn’t, he was too nervous.
And Natalie, well, Natalie kept saying, “He’s going to look in my mouth?” as we entered the building.
Natalie hasn’t always done so great with the dentist. For one, she usually cries. Two, she bit the dentist before. On purpose.
The plus about having an early appointment is that we were called back pretty quickly. Both kids had to lie back on the oversized chairs and Natalie did not want to do this at first.
“No thanks,” Natalie said when the dental hygienist asked her to lay back.
“Natalie,” I said, trying to force her down. “You have to lie back so they can look at your teeth. Won’t that be fun?”
“No thanks,” Natalie said and tried to walk away.
“Is Natalie being good?” Tommy asked. “Is she going to cry?”
“I hope not,” I said and managed to get Natalie to lie down. Thankfully she was distracted by the movie playing overhead.
I was tired as we sat there and slightly freaked out that I was in the dentist office. I tried not to pass out when I saw all the dentist equipment lying around. My gag reflex nearly flared when I saw it all. Oh man. The dentist needed to hurry and show up, otherwise I was going to have a panic attack and would probably start racing around the room begging for a paper bag to blow into.
The dental hygienist did the initial cleaning and started making conversation. She asked if we lived on the military base, I said yes, she said she used to live there until she got divorced. She asked what my husband did, I said he was in Korea for a year and then she went, “Oh. My ex-husband went to Iraq for a year and got another woman pregnant.”
It was like she was talking about the weather. “It’s sunny outside, lalala.”
“Oh,” was all I could muster. And then I started to think, holy crap, what if TOM got someone pregnant in Korea?
Not that he’d do such a thing.
“I never knew he could do such a thing,” the hygienist continued.
Oh my God. I was in a dentist office, which is one of the worst places in the world to be in my eyes, second to Hell, obviously, and now I was starting to panic that my husband was boinking another woman.
“I—” I started. I didn’t even know what I was going to say. But then the dentist sat down and asked how things were going.
“Great,” I said lightly, trying to pretend that I was on the beach. And oh my God, I just saw the spit sucker go into Tommy’s mouth. I hate the spit sucker thing. It makes me gag.
“Any concerns?” the dentist wondered jovially.
“I’m concerned that Natalie keeps calling little people leprechauns. I keep telling her that they aren’t, that they are regular people like us but I don’t think she gets it...and...oh, you meant with her teeth?” I immediately felt stupid. But, see, I was tired, I didn’t like being near a dentist, and I was petrified that Tom was sharing his bed with another woman.
“I did mean her teeth,” the dentist said, but he laughed at my comment.
“Right. No concerns with those.”
Natalie didn’t cry or bite the dentist, I’m proud to report.
Neither kid had any cavities.
“Yes! No shots!” Tommy said when he found out.
When I spoke to Tom later that night I blurted, “You aren’t going to get another woman pregnant because this hygienist said her husband did and I’m just not cool with it, okay?”
“Um. Hello to you too?” Tom answered.
“I’m sorry, it’s been a long day, dentists, accidental pregnancies, an irritating fly that I can’t seem to kill....”
Tom chuckled. “I’d never do anything to jeopardize our relationship. I’d miss all your random comments.”
“Natalie thinks little people are leprechauns. Don’t worry, I’m teaching her that it’s not the case but when we watch that Little People, Big World show she points to Matt Roloff and goes, “Leprechaun!” I blabbered.
“You said you liked random comments. I just gave you one so you’d remember what we have,” I said sweetly.