Wednesday, May 15, 2013

You just never know.

It's funny. Every time I think I'm getting to know the kids--who they really are, their quirks and personalities and all of that--they pull one over on me.  I think they do it on purpose.  They do it to keep me on my toes, to make sure that I know who is really in charge around here.

Today the kids had a dentist appointment.  We've gone twice before. The first time, they had no clue what was happening and were totally taken by surprise when they had to lie back and let someone look in their mouths. Let's just say they were less than thrilled.  The second time, they were all-too-aware of where we were and what was going to happen. Anderson cried when we turned into the parking lot.  Amelia was anxious but was easily tricked bribed with a toy and a pink toothbrush.  Once again, we had to hold Anderson down while he SCREAMED. Amelia cried, too, but not as bad as before. I left with my nerves jangling and a bad headache.

The kids' language has developed a ton since our last dentist visit. Quite honestly, we were late for a 6 month check-up. We had to reschedule THREE times due to our repetitive, torturous winter of The Sickness. After the last appointment had to be cancelled, I just told the receptionist that we were going to have to schedule for spring, because we just could not get well. was more like a 9 month check-up. Oh well. Anyway, I knew that, this time, we could talk to the kids about going to the dentist. In fact, a few months ago, I brought this home from work:

I brought it so that we could talk about it before our first cancelled appointment.  He fell in love with it. He has it memorized--every word. We kept cancelling appointments and he kept wanting to read the book. So, when I decided this morning, after breakfast, to break it to him that we would indeed be visiting the dentist today, I knew he'd have a little background knowledge. He teared up at first and said, "We are just going to school."--meaning, no, we aren't going to the dentist, just a regular ol' school day.  We talked through the book, about how the chair would go back, the dentist would brush his teeth. His biggest worry was that the dentist was going to put TWO things in his mouth at once--he kept saying, "The dentist is not going to use two toothbrushes."  Not sure what that was about, but oh well.  I told Amelia, and she cried a little, too, but quickly got over it. I think she did it for show.  Marty and I discussed it, and we determined that Anderson would probably require some serious holding-down and maybe a trip to the little dental room off of the main area--you know, the room with a door so that the other kids in the open area aren't totally freaked out by my screaming child.  Amelia, we determined, would be all about getting the treasure from the treasure box afterward. Her visit would be simple.  You see where this is going.

We got to the dentist, and they were apprehensive, but nobody was crying, which was good (given that he was hysterical before we put the car in park at our last visit).  Our dentist has an adorable play area. In the past, Anderson was too upset about the whole situation to even go into the kiddie area, but today, he was all about it. There was another little girl playing in there.  Her name was Layla.  Let me tell you...I was so grateful to Layla today. Layla saved the day, that brave little cutie. Layla was not scared of the dentist.  They all played happily while we waited.

Yes, Amelia's dress is WAAAAY too short. She's grown a significant amount in the last little bit--all in her legs, apparently. She has shorts on under there.  Yes, I'll buy her some new clothes soon.

I temporarily forgot the potentially traumatic experience that was about to occur because OMG Anderson WANTED TO PLAY WITH THIS LITTLE GIRL!!  He asked me what her name was, to which I of course responded that he needed to ask her. Thankfully she wasn't shy at all. Now, he didn't know how to engage her appropriately, but she took him by the hand and they played in the little boat. He was muttering to himself the whole time--he never once talked to her directly--but, BUT, he WANTED to play with her. Baby steps, people. I was thrilled.

Then of course the moment was ruined by a hygienist who called all of the kids back at once. Both kids became whiny and apprehensive, but our new little friend was all, "It's not scary! Come on back and I'll show you!".  They all three picked out their new toothbrushes, then it was Layla's turn to hop up in the chair for a cleaning.  Here's where what I predicted would happen went totally awry.  Amelia FREAKED OUT.  As in totally lost her shit.  Screaming, snotting, she was like something out of Poltergeist. No amount of us talking to her could make her stop.  She was making Anderson worse. I had that bewildered parent look--you know, the one you see on the face of the mom in the grocery store whose kid is literally lying in the floor, kicking and screaming. THAT look. I didn't really know what to do. Poor Layla kept trying to talk to her and tell her it didn't hurt, but she just wasn't hearing it.  Anderson, on the other hand, was nervous but not crying. He was doing his whole perseverating thing ("The dentist isn't going to hurt you."..."He's not going to use two toothbrushes."...etc.), but clearly not in as bad of shape as the girl.  Then, Amelia pulled out the mother of all escapism tricks--she said she had to go potty. Magic words to the parents who neglected to bring a change of clothes.  Marty took her out, and all was quiet again.

The dentist and hygienist were talking to Anderson, showing him things, chatting about what they were going to do. I was hiding a smirk because that boy wasn't listening. He wasn't listening one little bit! I briefly considered telling them, but then thought nah, let them figure it out. He watched Layla for a bit and was all set to get in the chair himself--and then they started using the water and suction on her. Yeah...that didn't go over well. He wanted no part of the "straw", so they assured him they would not use it, and then even went so far as to remove it from his little area.  We talked him into the chair, laid it back...and then held him down.  Took three of us. Once the dentist started working in there, though, he did pretty well.  The dentist actually managed to use the real tooth cleaner (for lack of the more technologically-correct term) to polish his teeth.  He also flossed a few teeth. Anderson whined/cried the whole time, but it was doable, and he worked really hard to hold his mouth open, despite being so scared. And when it was over--he was so stinking proud of himself. High fives all around.  We managed to get it all done while Amelia was in the bathroom, which was a good thing because her hysteria probably would've made the whole thing fall apart.

And then, it was Amelia's turn. Oh, you all. The absolute DRAMA. The screaming...the was all just horrible girly drama.  They didn't even try to get her in a chair--instead, she laid back on Marty. They also didn't use the real tooth cleaner (I've used it twice--now it's definitely a real term)--just brushed her real good and put some fluoride on her teeth.  As soon as they finished, she dried it up and pranced around, smiling and playing with toys, brushing the bear's teeth like none of the previous psychotic episode had ever happened. Well played, Amelia. Well played.

Good news--no cavities for either kiddo. Bad news--they do have to go back in six months and do it again.  If I was a betting woman, I would've sworn to you that Anderson would be the one to lose his mind today, and that Amelia would handle it like a champ. They shocked me--on all counts. The old personality switcharoo. You'd think I would start to expect the unexpected.

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