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.