Today’s blog post is brought to you by: kids’ dentist appointments. I’d been putting them off for months. I was on top of it at one point but between freezing weather, bad chafing or just not feeling up to it, there was always some excuse to cancel. Not to mention, just the idea of taking three kids to the dentist was a bit unappealing. Don’t get me wrong, we have a fabulous dentist who gives out great prizes, there’s a TV to watch during the exam and the exam chairs have — wait for it — massagers! The first time I sat in the chair I thought it was tickling me. It wasn’t. I don’t know what was going through my mind when I scheduled this appointment. We usually go on a day when Craig can join us but I thought this could also double as a super fun Camp Mommy field trip. Wrong.
It started out as such a promising day too. We had a pretty leisurely morning just walking around on the Upper East Side. We visited my OB’s office to say hi and drop off some thank you cookies, grabbed brunch, went to Sephora, painted our nails and bought myself the most fabulous latte from Petite Shell. Everyone was pretty well behaved and we got to the office six minutes early. Annie went in first. She casually walked into the exam room when her name was called; at first I didn’t even notice she was gone. When I went in to peek, she was comfortably sitting in the chair wearing some sunglasses, schmoozing with the hygienist, and totally uninterested that I had come for moral support. While it was a proud mama moment it was also an OMG, my baby! moment. Let’s just say it was downhill from there.
I could see through Annie’s neon yellow shades that I may have been cramping her style. With a crying baby strapped to me and Lisi curiously touching EVERYTHING I decided to head back to the waiting room. Judah was hovering over a big kid playing a video game screeching my turn, MY TURN, MINE! Baby needed to be fed so I remove her from the baby carrier revealing a Gabriella-shaped sweat stain. I started feeding her on one side and immediately saw the other side leaking through my shirt (it kind of blended in with the sweat). Then the nanny sitting next to me gestures at Lisi, is that ok? She was drinking my latte. Oh sure, I joked, it’s only her first cup, haha. Lisi precariously balanced it on the activity table she was playing with. Um, Lisi, careful, it’s gonna…… It was the sound of my $5 iced latte falling on the floor. Crap. I gestured to the secretary. I still had Gabriella attached to my boob. I could have grabbed wipes from under my stroller and pretended it had never happened but I’ve learned that there’s no shame in asking for help. I felt the nanny totally staring at us, thinking told ya so. The secretary came out with paper towels and a mop. Lisi helped. By helped I mean made it worse. Like took a paper towel and started spreading the ice everywhere. I unlatched the baby and decided to go peek in on Annie just in time to find out that she had her very first cavity.
Judah’s turn. Oh boy. I had to rip him away from the game he was playing in the waiting room. He got in the chair. It started going up. He did not like that. I was sitting there helplessly burping the baby. He wanted to get down. He didn’t care about the sunglasses, or the TV screen on the ceiling. He most definitely didn’t like the massage. Open your mouth like a shark! Ha, not a chance. He sat there with his mouth closed tight. What’s that I feel? Sweet. Gabriella just burped, and cheesed down my shirt. The hygienist tried to get in his mouth and it just made him angry. He was now kicking and flailing his arms, pushing her away. She poked her head outside for backup. I finally put the baby on the floor and put Judah on my lap. I restrained him pretty forcefully. For a 26 pound guy he’s strong. I definitely see some wrestling in his future, like his daddy. And needless to say there was some more sweat to add to the cocktail of bodily fluids on my shirt.
When he was done he happily hopped out the chair and claimed his prize. He sweetly said thank you and ran back to his game in the waiting room. Lisi’s turn. She screamed and wiggled but was otherwise fine, at least in comparison to Judah. My favorite part was when the dentist was counting her teeth and got to the one that fell out and said skip. Glad we can laugh about that now. Then Judah comes back. HE looks a bit agitated. Mommy? Mommy? I have to poop. So go poop! Annie? Can you please help him? He starts running and comes back holding his butt. Mommy? I finished. In mine underwear. Oh, come on!
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Dental hygiene might not be something I’ve always taken seriously. I kind of thought it was one of those things where you either have good teeth or you don’t. I’ve always been a poor brusher. I’d mouthwash every morning and brush the night before I went to the dentist and I’d laugh at the idiots who floss. You know how many cavities I had? Zero. I decided that the whole dental industry was a fraud.
Let’s go back to last October. Craig and I realized that we have a great dentist and insurance that covers two dental visits a year and yet we haven’t gone since we got married. If you know me at all you’d know that I love free stuff. So I was thinking, it’s been six years, $200 a visit for each of us, $2,400 in dental care down the drain? Oh no no no. Sign me up for my free cleaning and checkup. Now that I’m a grown-up I’ve stepped it up on the brushing, gotta set a good example for the kids and all but still, if I was doing a good enough job my gums probably wouldn’t bleed as much as they do. The night before my appointment I brushed, then flossed (I know, I judge myself), mouthwashed and repeated.
The next morning I was sitting in the chair at Dr. G’s office. He started poking around in my mouth. Uh huh, cavity. Hmmm. Cavity. Oh, there’s another one. Seriously? I don’t get cavities. I’m supposed to be immune to them! There were 5, and that was without X-rays. I was a little bummed, I felt kind of defeated, like the Tooth Fairy was looking down laughing at me and the folks at Crest were high-fiving. But you know what? Five cavities in 31 years? Not too bad, right?
Skip to July. Yeah, you bet I’m going twice a year. I’m sitting in the chair, fiddling with the chain on my dental bib. Dr. G starts poking around. Cavity. Cavity. WTF? Are you kidding me? Since there was no chance I was pregnant I finally got my X-rays. They appear on the screen. Look at that. You see where it’s red? Those are cavities! Four of them. I have six?!?! I give up.
What have I learned here? You know what? I don’t know. Eleven cavities in 31 years is pretty bad. As for Annie? One cavity in 5 years? Not great. In her defense she does brush and mouthwash. There’s also a dinosaur-shaped flosser in her bag that she hasn’t stopped using. Do we have a flosser on our hands? Only time will tell. For now my greatest lesson here was never take four kids to the dentist without backup. Make that don’t take Judah to the dentist without backup.
And for those wondering, our first stop after the dentist was Petite Shell, where I bought another iced latte. Lisi grabbed it, took a sip and carefully gave it back to me. Aaaah, refreshing.