Roz at the dentist
She was very, very good…. but then, when isn’t she?
So anyhoo, we survived the dentist visit. I had told Krys that he was taking her, and we woke up bright and early Saturday morning because I had reminded both of them, all week, that teh appointment was Saturday morning at 10:30 am.
And that they had to be on time because this was my dentist and I wanted to maintain my perfect timekeeping record. Just kidding.
By 9:30 I asked Krys if I would go with them and he said that was fine. Now, Krys is not a morning person.If he’s been up late the night before (which he had been) and if he hasn’t had his breakfast yet (which he hadn’t) then he just sloshes around the place like a wet rug. so at ten when I said,
“We have to leave the house in ten minutes, can you get Roz dressed?”
I got a halfhearted grunt, while the child in question was zipping about the place (morning person) dressed only in a pair of wellies.
we left the house at 10:30. 10:30!! It takes about twelve minutes at a fast pace, to walk to teh dentist. I was pissed. But it was a beautiful day and staying mad was pointless so I used my energy in walking fast. We got there at a quarter to eleven, and the dental nurse told us we were late and so we had to wait for the current patient to get seen first. which I understood completely. Then she said we actually weren’t “a few minutes late” but a whopping half hour late.
I checked the appointment card and yup, I’d gotten it wrong, the appointment was meant to be at ten fifteen….which meant I should have been harrassing Krys much earlier but ah well, what can you do.
They were ready for Roz though, as I found a book entitled “Dentist trip (peppa pig)” on the coffee table. I read through it with Roz, telling her the same thing would happen to her, and then Krys read it to her and told her the same, so that by teh time they were ready to see her at 11, we hoped she wouldn’t be nervous.
It’s always striking to see your child in a new environment. I believe it tells you a lot about their attachment and what you are like as a parent. Have you instilled the capacity for them to simply obey your every command or have they learnt to trust that you will not sugarcoat or plain lie to them to get what you want them to do, done.
So when we walked into the room and there was a big dentist chair in front of her and she turned round to me, wide eyed and trusting, my heart just melted for my little girl. she climbed confidently up and sat, tiny and dwarfed by this huge seat, and not the least bit intimidated by the dentist.
The dentist showed her all the tools she would use and told her they’d only count her teeth, and Roz gave a very sage nod and clamped her mouth shut.
So now what.
And you know the thing I love most about my daughter? she won’t be bullied into doing something. Hey, if she didn’t want to open her mouth, noone was going to make her open her mouth.
There’s a lot of lip service given about having strong, confident young women in this world. Women who stand up for what they believe in and who won’t take human waste from anyone who wants to make them do, with their bodies, what they don’t want to do. I firmly believe this is where it starts.
If we don’t foster this self preservative streak, or call it what you will, in out two and a half year old daughters, how will they possibly carry this into their adult lives?
So when Roz doesn’t want to do something and her life isn’t in immediate danger by her not wanting to do it, I don’t resort to cajoling, bribery or threats. Instead, we talk to her. sounds that simple doesn’t it? But anyone with a child who’s gone through this age knows it’s definitely not that simple.
And again, the point of all this dialogue is not primarily for Roz, it’s for me. I tell people who ask (and there’ve been a fair few) that this is for me. how can I force her to do anything now, via threats or otherwise, then when she’s a teenager, believe that our relationship will be different? or that any relationship she will have in future will not be imprinted by the first real relationship she ever had with another human being? If she learns now that the only way she is loved and accepted is if she does what another person wants, how can I hope that when she’s eighteen and some stupid man (or woman) claims to love her if and only if she does something she doesn’t really want to do, that she’ll tell them where to go? I can’t, can I?
The first example she will (hopefully) have of what it is to be in a mutually respectful relationship, is the one she is having now with me and her dad. This is the first chance we get to show her that love should not be conditional. Mommy will still love you even if yo don’t finish your veggies, even if you want to lie down and pretend to do a snow angel in the aisle of a shop, and yes, even if you clamp your mouth shut when the dentist tells you to say aaaaaahhhhhh.
So here’s what we did. Krys went back out to the waiting room and got the Peppa pig book and we showed her each picture, explaining what the dentist was going to do, as the dentist did it. so when Peppa opened wide, we told Roz the dentist only want to count her teeth, and she can open wide if she wants…and she did. But only when she was good and ready and happy that she had looked at the instrument the dentist was going to use to count her teeth with (I have one at home that I pretended to count her teeth with all week) and that we were going to be right there with her through the whole thing. Even though I wanted to plead with her to please open her mouth as we were so late already and I felt so self-conscious, I didn’t. those were my issues. If they wanted us to leave, they would have told us so. and If two year olds were a problem, they wouldn’t have agreed to see us. so I held my tongue.
And the visit went perfectly from there.
Did I mention my dentist is fantastic? who else would have had so much patience with a two year old? and who else would not have been tempted to say she had other patients waiting and a life? probably others exist out there, but for now, I’m happy enough that mine exists.
And when we went to pay, yo know what? they didn’t charge me….
……probably cos I’d be in two hours later for a root canal and so what’s twenty euro between friends?