As a child, going to the dentist always brought a sense of foreboding, and even now I dread each visit. Thankfully, this was not passed on to my children. They do not mind the dentist at all, and eagerly await each visit.
As we sat in the waiting room this morning, Baby E asked if he could go first. Surprised that my typical stranger-danger child had a look of eagerness dancing in his eyes, I consented. When they called us back, he marched into the room and pulled himself onto the large chair. They prepped him and when the dentist came in, he laid back and calmly followed all the directions. She counted his teeth, scraped away any plaque, brushed and polished the teeth, and used dental floss. He smiled and chatted through the entire experience.
When his turn was up it was Big E’s time in the chair. I noticed quickly that Baby E seemed to get discontented and jealous very quickly, as if Big E had stolen his chair and his dentist. He started to whine and sulk that it was his turn to get his teeth cleaned. By the time C was in the chair, Baby E was nearly in hysterics. Much to all of our dismay he begged and pleaded to get his teeth cleaned again. He cried. He screamed. He threw a fit on the floor.
The dentist and her assistant laughed that they had never seen a child so eager to be in the chair, while I carried his flailing form out of the room for a good scolding. When C was done, the dentist allowed him back in the chair and slowly counted his teeth again. He enjoyed it but quickly realized he wasn’t getting another cleaning and melted down all over again. As I stood in the foyer trying to schedule their next appointment, he laid on the ground weeping at his missed opportunity and refused to be comforted by the dentist and her offerings of stickers.
As I led my children out of the office, carrying a writhing and screaming Baby E in my arms, I comforted myself with the knowledge that we had at least survived the visit and that there were no cavities. I imagine the dental office talked of our dramatic visit all day, and why shouldn’t they? After all if we are going to fail at something, we might as well do it big.