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My date at the dentist

November 25th, 2003 · No Comments

Here’s a joke for a mom: What do a visit to the dentist and a date have in common? Both require a lot of work getting out the door!

Now to have a date with my husband, I’m happy to do some work. Being alone with Ted is worth the time and organization it takes. But, I wonder, why do I go to so much effort, only to come sit in an awkward chair and have sharp instruments scraped against the insides of my mouth!

Today was my dentist appointment. I’m grateful Ted could watch Elisabeth. Sometimes I’ve had to arrange a babysitter. The other two girls came with me. Still it seemed like many details to get in order – change diapers, make lunches, give the girls a snack, take the check book, find the bag of amusement toys for Michaela, brush teeth, ensure coats and shoes for the girls.

Plus, I try to be on time, and that means watching the clock closely. Last year, three month old Elisabeth started screaming right when I was supposed to go to my appointment, and I felt so overwhelmed. I nursed her but called the dentist to explain I would be late. It was quite stressful and I showed up at the office sleep-deprived and crying. Today was not as stressful but still many details for my mind to remember.

Today was Abigail’s first time to go to the dentist for a full cleaning all by herself. It has taken her a while to feel comfortable with our dentist. For years she accompanied me on my appointments, but only in the past year or so has she been willing to open her mouth while sitting in the chair. She has been terrified at times of this man, more than six feet tall, balding, wearing a white coat and thick black scopes like micro-binoculars, on his face. To a kid he might look something like a Triceratops, a dinosaur or monster. At times I wondered whether I should try to find her a dentist who was not so difficult for her to like. But in time it seems she’s grown accustomed to him. Last year I think she even made him a valentine on a pink heart, drawing a picture of the dentist with his intense glasses! Her teeth are doing well, and she brought home a big sticker with a white smiling tooth stating “Cavity Free” which she happily plastered on her art box.

I had thought Michaela, on her first trip to the dentist’s office, would watch me. She’s a bit wiggly so I figured keeping her with me would be best. But instead she chose to watch her sister, coming to see me only once in a while. All by herself, with her mom and sister in the dentist chairs, she acted quite grown-up in the office, especially for an energetic three year old. I didn’t need to worry at all.

So I sat there, in the dentist chair, surprised to be alone. Then I realized that if going to the dentist was like going on a date, then maybe I should make this as much like a date as possible. Without Ted, of course, but I could still enjoy it. Make the most of it. That is, I should relax. So I sat there in the chair, as I could, and soaked in the silence. I let my shoulders loose and enjoyed the peace I found, even with plaque being picked off my teeth. I had a chance to rest in a comfy chair (ha!) and chat with another mother (my hygienist!). Yes, maybe I even had fun during my date at the dentist.

Tags: motherhood