Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Dentist

So, today Ada went to the dentist for the first time.  Yes, I know that 4 1/2 is a little late to be going to the dentist for the first time, but it is what it is, and we went.

The good news is that the doctor said her teeth are "flawless," which I just say thank you, Lord, because I confess that Ada drinks too many sugary drinks and never enough water, so I was prepared for the worst.  But, no problems at all.

As far as Ada's behavior at the dentist--humiliating.  And the thing is, I can relate to how she was feeling.  I hate the dentist, but sometimes, in life, we just have to do things that we hate to do ;)  It was the pictures of her teeth that set the whole thing into motion.  She got through the first pictures of her front teeth, though from my mom perspective, I could tell she was barely holding on to her composure, and I was just waiting.  Sure enough, when the nurse told her she needed to take pictures of her back teeth, the tears started flowing.  So, the nurse said we could wait until after the cleaning.  The cleaning was fine--I knew that Ada was nervous because the masks over the nurse's face scare her, but she was a trooper and got through the cleaning without a sound.  Keep in mind that at 4, I see that fear has a stronghold on Ada's life.  It is a struggle for her.  She has described some of the nightmares that she has, and they are scary, indeed, so I sympathize, but I also want to teach her that we have to do things that we are scared of.  That is life.  

Oh, I should also add that we had already gotten the dreaded question, "where will she be going to kindergarten next year?"  I hate that question, so I eeked out that we are homeschooling for now, and the nurse nodded awkwardly, which to me made what happened next even worse.

Ada's teeth are really close together, so the only way for them to know if she had cavities in her back teeth was to take the pictures.  So, the cleaning was done, we broke the news to Ada that we had to take the pictures, and she went into full blown panic mode.  And when she gets like this, there is no controlling her behavior.  She was screaming, kicking, swatting--doing everything in her power to make sure that she did not have to take the pictures.  Finally, I sat in the chair with her, holding her arms down, a nurse got behind us to hold her head still, and the other nurse forced the film into her mouth.  It was AWFUL.  I mean, other patients, were starting to move toward us to see what the ordeal was about.  I was fighting back tears myself, for so many reasons, but I had enough sense to know that if I cried, we really would be labeled as weirdos.  I kept saying, "I promise she doesn't normally act like this," because she really doesn't, and the nurse just said, "she's just strong willed; she knows what she wants, and that can be a good thing," and I guess she is strong willed, but really it's fear.  If Ada is afraid of something (like shots, or using the potty--remember that ordeal?) she is beyond strong willed, but in general, I don't think of her as particularly strong-willed, but maybe she is.  So, in my head, the nurses were thinking, "if this child wasn't homeschooled and so sheltered this wouldn't be happening,"  which is just wrong on my part to assume that I know what people are thinking, and it's pointless.  So, I moved on from that thought, apologized for Ada's behavior and thanked the nurses for their help, and we got out of there!

But we survived it, Ada's teeth are clean and healthy, and we have already talked about, um, more appropriate ways to face our fears in the future.


Mary Ann said...

I'm glad the dentist appointment is now in the past, and that Ada's teeth are in really good condition. For what it's worth, I don't like it either when they stick those cardboard things in my mouth in order to take x-rays. I'll bet the next time Ada goes to the dentist it will all be alot easier.

Jodie said...

oh girl, that sounds like good times! I keep getting the kindergarten question too. Thankfully, most everyone has been very positive about it. You're doing great!

Katherine said...

Thank you for this post. I'm so glad that Ada got through the scare and you can rest easy about her healthy teeth. I appreciate your honesty regarding how you feel about disapproval...or perceived disapproval. I can relate. Truthfully, I'm realizing that when it comes to parenting people are hyper-opinionated. I'm getting it already: Are you going to get an epidoral? My answer (which is vague to say the least) is followed by an awkward "Oh." Are you going to get an episiotomy? (Really...I can't believe people have asked me that...) Questions about school have already come our way. Criticism (which can include a prying question followed by an awkward stare of disapproval) goes with the territory of this parenting journey. I'm bouncing around in my thoughts...but apparently learning to cope with criticism (listen, respond appropriately) is going to be a major part of God's sanctifying work in my life. Maybe you could post some advice on handling criticism as a parent?????? You're humble and may not think you're equipped for such a topic, but I would really benefit from your thoughts. :)

joy said...

Agree with kat. Girl if they only knew. Some days I want to say you know what you are welcome to come to my house and do this 365 24/7 and see if you do a better job :) and then smile and walk away...seriously they have never walked your shoes. It's darn hard. We are all strong willed self willed little creatures who want everything to go our way and to always be viewed well by others. Two things that always help me are remembering that "giving God the glory" is defined by not desiring it for ourselves and pointing to him in all things even (&especially in these kind of times) and that I am set free from the opinions of others and bound only to the approval of God. But also Knox (my man of many trials) takes me over the edge emotionally and every other "ally" and I forget. We all do. Love ya. Hang in there.

Mary said...

Oh, LB. Days like that are rough indeed. You did better than I have in the past, I almost always end up in tears myself in situations like that. At least you can console yourself that if they are asking the kindergarten question, they she would not even have been considered homeschooled yet, just "un-preschooled", right? So you have one more year before you need to worry about being judged on that count! haha!