Somehow, against all my natural instincts, six months ago I let my dentist talk me into making an appointment for my two year old son. It went something like this:
The hygienist wave’s us in.
Me: “Ok, it’s our turn. Follow the lady.”
Kiddo: Clings to the toy car from the play table, “No.”
Gotta hand it to my dentist office, they have a great waiting area for kids. A little too great. Negotiation ensues…We bring the car to the dentist chair—Kiddo (1), Mommy (0).
Hygienist: “You’re such a big boy. Can you climb up into the (giant, robotic monster) chair?”
Kiddo clings to my leg.
Hygienist: “Look, it’s red and green…”
Yeah, that rainbow booster cushion is no help. I pick Kiddo up to put him in the seat. He lifts his knees to his chin and continues to cling like I’m trying to lower him into a vat of acid. I sit in the dentist chair with Kiddo in my lap—Kiddo (2), Mommy (0).
Hygienist: “Can I see those pretty teeth?”
She and I enthusiastically demonstrate how to show off one's teeth.
Kiddo: Closed lips, deadpan face.
Enter new toothbrush.
Kiddo: Deadpan continues.
Hygienist leaves to go get the dentist. While she’s gone Kiddo proceeds to smile, chat, and practice brushing his teeth.
We resort to laying him on his back and letting him scream for five seconds while the dentist takes a look. I have no idea how much he actually saw.
We’re done. Sort of. We must go back to the play area before Kiddo will consent to leave—Kiddo (3), Mommy (0).
We get doughnuts on the way home.
Fast forward six months (Yes. I agreed to do it again.):
Kiddo got up and into the chair by himself.
He did give the hygienist the briefest glimpse of his teeth…while saying “No” to the paper bib she tried to put on him, and the sunglasses.
Kiddo watched a video of a dog going to the dentist (a masterful production) while the hygienist started setting up the cleaning equipment. I admire her optimism, but the cleaning tools never made it anywhere near Kiddo’s mouth.
It's a good thing Daddy came this time, because Kiddo was clinging too hard to my neck for me to lay him on his back for the dentist. I handed him over and Daddy was more successful. The dentist got another five second look in my screeching child’s teeth.
Then it was back to the play area to check out the fire truck and watch a few minutes of the Minion Movie. Always best to end things on a positive note.
As an added reward, on the way out, we got this creepy eyeball to remember the day by:
We stopped for doughnuts on the way home.
In six months I predict the dentist will get a ten second look, and Kiddo might even consent to wearing the paper bib.