One of my kids has a terrible fear of doctors. It probably has to do with being poked and prodded and wired at the time when his peer group was still chilling in their amniotic fluid, taking it easy. I can't blame the guy.
So before our dental visit, I called ahead, as is my custom with new doctors. I said mommyish things about special needs and panic, and violent self-injury fits, and can we have sedation, and fine, then, if he flips out make a note for the staff to clear out so I can deal with it.
So we arrived yesterday and spent a great deal of time in the waiting room, where R2 wavered between being very excited to be out without his siblings, to R2 pointing concernedly at his teeth 4000 times. "Yes," I would tell him, "this is the dentist. No ouchies. They want to see Richy's teeth. Just looking. Counting your teeth. No ouchies."
Eventually a timid looking nurse, or dental hygienist or whatever came out and asked nervously, "Is this Richard?" and "Is he OKAY?", peering closely. He is intimidating, in his 5T jeans and tiny glasses.
"Yeah, he's fine. He might be nervous when you put stuff inside his mouth, but he's fine now."
"OKAY RICHARD! WE'RE GOING TO GO IN THIS ROOM! DON'T BE AFRAID!"
(note to all: mentioning being afraid makes kids, well, afraid)
(also, visually impaired kids can hear just fine)
They try to get him to go stand inside this machine and bite a stick so they can X-Ray him. He looks concerned. Three staff members shout encouragement from a safe distance away. I wanted to tell them he's not a tiger, they can get close. I also wanted to say there was no way in heck this biting/xray idea was gonna work out.
"OKAY RICHARD! DOING GREAT! NOTHING TO BE NERVOUS ABOUT! BITE THE STICK!"
"SCOOT YOUR LEGS, RICHARD, NOW TURN YOUR HEAD! BITE DOWN! NOT LIKE THAT!"
"HERE, TURN THIS WAY! YOU'RE DOING GREAT, RICHARD!"
The X-rays were wonky, but that's how we roll. They sat him in a chair and did the bite X-rays. "GREAT, RICHARD! JUST BITE... WAIT, HOLD YOUR MOUTH OPEN (is he okay???) AND NOW BITE DOWN NO NOT LIKE THAT! OKAY RICHARD! (that will have to do) LET'S TRY THAT AGAIN! NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT!"
Richy is looking around, wondering what's up with all this noise and why people keep making him bite stuff. He wasn't nervous, just getting a little irritated. They dropped us off in our cubicle where we waited for the Dentist/Senior Dental Student or whatever, and the girl in the cube next to us started up her exorcism routine, with the screaming and the running away and the demanding to be left alone to die and the pain, which at first R2 thought was pretty hilarious, because he's always had a twisted sense of humor about kids crying, but after a while I think he started making some connections and indicating grave, grave concern.
Eventually Dr. Student arrived and looked cautiously at Richy. "HELLO, CLARK!" he bellows cheerfully. "HOW ARE YOU TODAY?" I try to correct the name thing. No go. "ARE YOU CLARK'S MOM?" he asks. Yeah, yeah, that's me. I am Clark's mom, whatever. Let's do this thing.
"I'M GONNA PUT THESE COOL SUNGLASSES ON YOU!" shouts the nurse/whatever. "WOW! YOU LOOK AWESOME! I'M GONNA PUT THIS BIB ON YOU WITH THESE CLIPS! IT DOESN'T HURT!" Richy flinches as she clips it on, alarmed by the word choice and the volume. I take a picture of him and show him. He likes the glasses.
Dr. Student did okay. He did most of the exam with his fingers, which is not as scary as the tools, and eventually he (the dentist) calmed down and figured out that despite whatever HORRORS must have been warned in the chart, R2 was small and mild-mannered, and so he just did his exam. I mean, we had to pry his mouth open by force every single time, but he wasn't ever afraid, which is like a miracle.
In the end, yeah, the kid has 2 sets of teeth, which I knew, but his dental age is like, 6, so the baby ones still have lots of time to fall out. And no cavities or real problem areas, so good. Very good. He jumped like a gazelle all the way to the car, thrilled to be released.
I bought him a cake pop at Starbucks, because there is no trooper like this trooper, and if we've made it 12 years with no cavities and only sporadic toothbrushing, we're golden. Amazing.