Our visit to the dentist
All of my boys had 9:00 a.m. dentist visits today — all three in adjoining rooms with their own hygienists. I checked in with each room, periodically, to confirm the information on file was correct, to mention that the older two had been seen by a hygienist at school, to rejoice in the fact that my youngest now has toothbrushing included in part of his daily routine at full day preschool.
The Bigs were fine, but my youngest had a really hard time. He began crying with the toothbrushing, and it got worse and worse with the flossing and fluoride treatment. (I think it was the sound of the machines, whirling and buzzing — he doesn’t like the sound of public toilets flushing either). I let his brothers know that I was going to go in his room and stay there and that I “needed their support.” I sat in the chair with him and counted to 60 for the fluoride part (which is what I did for him in the shower last night, too…I told him, “if you can take a one minute shower, you can get through the fluoride treatment, right?” “Sniff, sob,” was the answer I received, and we proceeded).
Normally when he is stressed out he pops his thumb in his mouth, but obviously not something one can do at the dentist’s office. Not only because he’s already got someone else’s hands in there but also since the dentist thinks he shouldn’t suck his thumb at all, though I confessed to the hygienist that I fully intend to let him do it as long as he wants. I am sure the peer pressure of kindergarten will wean him.
After the minute was up, his brothers both crowded into the room for a small family reunion. “We could hear you crying.” “Are you okay?” (Observation and validation without judgment — that was the “support” I needed). My middle son hugged his brother. The hygeniest shooed them out so the dentist could have a looksee. My youngest endured this final insult, his mood brightening as he could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
He got a new toothbrush, and not one, not two (because he had been so brave), but three prizes (because my oldest gave him his) (more support). By the time we were on our way he was singing, “I love the dentist!” (As do I, because I get to lie down for half an hour!)
After we dropped the Bigs off at baseball camp, we had car time together. I told him, “You were very brave in there honey.” Silence. “Being brave doesn’t mean not being afraid, it means facing your fear.” Silence.
When he got to school — late — he disrupted circle by telling everyone, “I was at the dentist! I cried a lot!”
And best of all, no one had any cavities.