I am too old for this

Here’s the short version, because you have places to be and I’m exhausted.

I tell Peanut in advance about dentist visit. He’s been a handful of times, always has easy cleanings. It’s never easy convincing him, though. Have I mentioned, maybe a thousand times before about his strong opinions and his desire to be in control and his spiritedness? Yes. Spirited. Highly. And it takes my every trick to get him to open up. For the four minutes it takes to gently clean a small person’s teeth.

So I tell him. Week before, day before, day of. Explain we have a full day and I need him to move past the “I’m not going” to get his clothes, get in the car, go into the dental office, sit down, open up, and let the nice, gentle people brush, count, and paint his teeth. (No sealants with BPA. Don’t worry, people of the interwebs.)

Drive thirty minutes to appointment. Toddler gets foreshortened nap. But it’s worth it, right, to not have any downtime and to have an overtired seventeen-month old, because Peanut will have clean teeth. But he clams up. I relay his pre-appointment-specified requests to hygienist: no bib, real names for tools not lame kid-friendly names, mix mint and chocolate flavored toothpastes. Fine.

Nope. Won’t do it. I’m gentle for a while, I allay his fears. This is quick, this is easy, this is gentle. You’ve done this before. Then I remind him the dentist present in the car is only for people with professionally cleaned teeth. Ditto the playdate later. These are not new threats/bribes. Though this is my first bribe attempt, I knew enough to set up the bribe earlier and keep the promise consistent throughout.

40 minutes in we say he’s running out of time. 45 minutes in he says okay but refuses to sit down. I take him home, and I’m pissed. I make a return appointment before storming out.

At one point I tel P that we’re going to go back in three days and if he doesn’t submit I’ll have them hold him down. It takes about one minute to realize how terrible that is, so I change it to we’ll go back every single day after school with no playgrounds and no playdates until your teeth get cleaned.

At home, later, I say that we have another appointment for Thursday. Will you do it? If I drive all that way and pay I want to know you’ll do it. I would rather let your teeth get holes and fall out later than waste my time, money, and energy now. I want you healthy, I want you able to eat, I want you to feel proud of all that brushing. I want you to like the dentist, damnit.

“Please. Will you let them do a cleaning?”

“Yes. They can sweep the floor.”

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, he can just buy dentures with the money from his comedy career.

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10 thoughts on “I am too old for this

  1. Oh my God. I’d be furious. But I do understand. When Miss D. was almost two, she got a horrible Rotavirus. After two days of constant vomiting, she was so dehydrated that she was a limp noodle, so the doctor sent us to the ER for some intravenous fluids.

    My “limp noodle” turned into a tiger when she saw the needle. She fought so hard they had to put a little straitjacket on her! It was horrid and embarrassing and…they still couldn’t stick her, even in the jacket. I went home seeing red and completely drained.

    Ah, Pea. Little warrior man.

  2. Just reading this is exhausting. So sorry, Nap. At least you’ll have plausible deniability when he tries to give you hell at 21 for his redneck gaptoothed smile.

  3. Oy vey.

    The other option is no juice, no sugar, no snack anything because only kids who get their teeth cleaned can have treats. Carrots, spinach, cucumber, what a fun meal! Oh now wait, that’s MY meal. Yeah, FUN! Get your own rabbit plate.

    And another option is knock his ass out. GAS HIM with the happy gas. Tell him it’s a star wars mask. I worked with large animals decades ago, I’m talking bears and hoofed family. The docs would knock them out, and then we could do whatever we needed to, including massive teeth.

    Maybe the gas would be better on you. :( good grief. I’ll do a vegetable sacrifice on Thursday for you. I think celery burns nicely.

  4. oh nap tell me when you are tired of hearing that we have the same life ok? we’ve been to dentist 3 times in his life 1st and 3rd he had a great cleaning. 2nd was like what u just described. that’s our beautiful boys eh? 3rd time, my crafty plan that worked was that I brought iPod with audio book, at the time his fav was little house on the praire, now it’s Charlie and the chocolate factory, I put earphones in his ears, stood in his view, smiled encouragingly, worked like a charm, no bribe needed. I prefaced appointment by saying “we’re going to the dentist, I’m going to bring Laura and mary for you to listen to, you are going to sit in the chair and let them clean your teeth. I will be here the whole time” also it helped that he loved listening to the book, it’s something I find that calms him. when he needs a break he will ask for it. may the force be wih you!

    • Unicorn, he wouldn’t leave the waiting room. Dentist said it’s classic for the age, and do, please take him to a pediatric dentist. I knew it was coming so I shrugged it off. He’s still asking for his present. I’m still holding out for the cleaning. We are at an impasse.

  5. Shit. That sucks. I would have given the present to the dentist. I guess that means you need to find *another* dentist.

  6. Yup. We have two recommendations, both closer to home. No point choosing another so far away. Whatevs. For a while he was balking at dentist but excited about kindergarten. Now he’s balking at school, too. Shockers.

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