Gone Mental for Dental

The dentist displeases me. Translation: Fuck, I hate the dentist.

You must understand, I typically feel scolded like a misguided child when I’m at the dentist. Have you been flossing? Well, maybe I better look at your flossing technique. Are you scraping between each tooth? Uh, scraping, well, uh, of course, I’m scraping. Who doesn’t scrape when they floss?

Who comes to the dentist with clean teeth? Who are these people? I want to know who you are. I’m going to personally come to your house and force coffee down your throat.

But I’m all joy and positive energy with my children. It will be just a little scraping cleaning. Come along children. My children both have their teeth cleaned at the same time so I sit in between the rooms. You can accomplish this at the dentist with the special divider that is not completely flush to end of the wall. I ask myself, is this merely a construct in which to better hear someone’s pain?

Scanning the scene, watching their squirming bodies, wincing, and talking whilst fingers stir in their mouths, the hygienists chide them about the white furries (that’s what they call them), tartar buildup, and possible calcification. This is a good, new word for my six-year-old. Scrape, scrape.

The squirming doesn’t fly when the doctor arrives. Behold, the doctor. When I have an appointment with doctor, we chat about the gym or mowing the lawn. However, when it comes down to business, it’s about precision, intensity, and focus. Watch out if the hygienist has committed an error, heaven forbid. You don’t want to fall out of the good graces of the doctor. I feel the air sucked out of the room, and clutch the chair tightly, swallowed up inside the fiery inferno.

I can always tell, too, if the hygienist screwed up. I can feel it. There is nothing she can do (I’ve only had women as hygienists.) And if the computer screen freezes up. Holy Moly! The hygienist pleads, It was working just a minute ago. I say to myself, Release me from this chair. Release me. The doctor holds sharp instruments and he’s scowling.

Imagine my horror when my six-year-old is misbehaving, sticking his tongue out every which way. Put your tongue inside your mouth. Stop moving. Be still with your tongue, says the doctor.

Be still, I urge my child. Be still like a statue.

My ten-year-old interrupts this scene with his announcement that he is going to partake in some hot cocoa at our orthodontist downstairs. Momentarily, I reflect that although this is definitely a bad idea just having had a fluoride treatment, and he’s saying this right in front of the hygienist who worked mercilessly on his teeth…I think why not? What that ortho outfit wants for braces…he should wander into their lobby, enjoy a little cup of cocoa, a handful of goldfish crackers, their gourmet cookies…oh, and they also offer coffee by the cup, assorted flavors available. My mouth waters.

The doctor and the hygienist await my response, the room quiet. Of course you can’t. You can’t, son. Remember? Fluoride? My son simply leaves the office with no explanation. The hygienist swears he’s hormonal.

We leave the dentist all smiles and pearly whites, with toys, and the promise to brush better and floss scrapier. Still no cavities. I’m renewed with hope. From now on, we will brush for two minutes twice a day. What better way to do this than with a delightful brushing song, an iPhone App? Certainly this will do the trick; it’s technology lighting the darkness. A spunky dab of toothpaste, with shoes I might add, sings a song about brushing his teeth the right way, doing it twice in a day, and tells you when to switch every 30 seconds. The dab sings:

Brush them back on the inside, top and bottom, down and up and down, brush ’em cuz you got ’em, never let it dangle, brush my tongue, brush it an angle, ain’t it fun….

Or, something like that! My goodness that dab can boogie and even does split jumps.

Upon hearing this song, my six-year-old spins out of the bathroom and into the living room, with arms flailing, the toothbrush nowhere near his mouth. He then flings the toothbrush into the abyss of the toy bucket where I spend the last 45 seconds of the tooth melody searching for said toothbrush. Mom, that song is horrible, he tells me. Remove that app from your phone immediately.

Personally, I thought the song was a little catchy. What’s not to like?

photo credit: kerryj.com via photopin cc

The Second Tooth and the Cosmic Universe

My son’s second tooth was going to come out at any hour, nay any minute, no second. Both his first tooth and second tooth may have well come out at the very same time. But this didn’t happen. The loss of his first tooth unrolled in a sweet fashion, with the “Ah, your first tooth. Wow!” moment, and if you recall from my previous post First Tooth Lost, a bit of hidden sadness on my part.

Now the second tooth, I could see it was just aching to be wriggled free.”Get me out here,” it shouted.

I tried to coax the little morsel and suggested several times to S., my six-year-old, “Hey, why don’t you just push it out?” If my hands were smaller, maybe I could have assisted.

“No,” my son would say, pushing the tooth with his tongue back and forth, this way and that. And, you’re most welcome for that delightful image.

It’s his tooth, I thought. He should be in charge of it.  It will come out when it’s darn well ready.

Amazingly, I am prepared for this second tooth. I truly am, and I should be because I’ve had ample time. Still, this is an absolute first for me. I went to the store ahead of time and have coins, gold ones, a couple of Sacagaweas. They’re so pretty and shiny, S. won’t even want go immediately to Target to spend them.

Second tooth, ready. Tooth fairy, she’s ready! So, we’re standing in line to buy fireworks, at the last minute, and I notice his second tooth is not there. How can this be? My son was unaware of it, even though for two entire days it sucked up all his attention, literally.

Missing, huh? Where could it be? In his bed? In my bed? He did climb in to sleep with me earlier that morning. We weren’t going to give up on this tooth just yet. It was only his second tooth remember, and I was prepared! I had the gold coins in my wallet. It was going to be special, stir up his tooth-fairy fantasies, of the one who wears the white, circular dress.

I searched the beds. Nothing. Searched his room, his floors. You never knew so many things could look like a tooth in all your life. Many times I thought for sure I had it, only to see it was a feather, no part of a seashell, a piece of rice, scrunched-up string, a crumb, a piece of paper, styrofoam, a Lego piece (see above photo for evidence). Suddenly I felt like I was staring in my own CSI episode, that, and a pressing desire to vacuum his room.

The tooth is missing in action, nowhere to be found. Could it be? Could it be he swallowed it? Has it been in his little tummy all along? But, how can this be? I was prepared for this tooth, like no other. This is on par with showing up for a class on time for once only to find out it’s been cancelled. Or, driving to the airport in a mad rush, risking your life, to find out your plane has been delayed. Or perhaps, studying all night for an exam only to learn the next day it’s open book.

What is the cosmic universe trying to tell me? What now? I did as expected, the right, responsible thing. Is someone playing a trick on me? Are forces conspiring against me? Should I just simply do less? Am I…trying too hard?

The question is, what will my next move be? I realize I could tempt fate and take matters into my own hands. I could mention the tooth and have my son write a loving note to the tooth fairy. We could request an exception, a waiver of sorts, for this time only. The gold coins could be magically delivered.

The other option is to do nothing. Nothing. I like the way that rolls off my tongue. But this presents two possibilities. Chances are S. will remember at some point in the near future before lost tooth #3 makes its appearance. He never seems to forget anything. I will need to act then. By that time, my coins could possibly be discovered, or spent on something necessary, never mind their unique gold quality.

Or, I could be ready for tooth #3, hide the coins in a safe place, and once again, be prepared. Hmm…do I test it again? In all probability I will forget where I hid the coins.

The universe works in mysterious ways.

First Tooth Lost

My six-year-old son lost his tooth last night. First one. His baby tooth. Pause. Quiet. He’s really growing up now. I didn’t think I would get sad over this tooth. I did cry at his kindergarten graduation after telling myself I wouldn’t. Then I saw his teacher all teary-eyed and I thought, why is she crying? She does this every year. I wanted to say to her, “Stop it! Stop it! Stop it, I say!” and then I thought, so what, and let myself have a little public cry. It’s all his teacher’s fault.

But losing the first tooth, well, I didn’t cry, although I’m sure if someone was sobbing in front of me, I may have released the waterworks. I know he has many more baby teeth to lose. I didn’t feel a hint at sadness when my older son lost his first tooth, or at the kindergarten graduation for that matter. Just elation, happiness. Now, with my youngest, it’s bittersweet as they say. He’s reached school-age now, so his baby years are far behind him, yes. Now I see I may have resisted just a touch, for the door of babyhood is officially closed.

We discussed the tooth fairy before bed when I mentioned she doesn’t come unless you’re sound asleep, and she knows whether or not you’re asleep. Then, his eyes of full wonder, revealed he heard quiet footfalls, or maybe those are my words. Er, steps outside, he heard something.

“It must be her,” I tell him.

“Yes.”  Pause. “And, do you know what she wears?”

“No,”  I say.

“Well, she wears a white circular dress.”

“A tutu?” I ask.

“Yes, a tutu,” he tells me now, “with butterfly wings, and she carries a black stick with a big tooth on the end of it. Or, actually, the stick is white underneath. The black is only a covering.”  This is important.

I take one look at his precious, pearly white and want to preserve it. I want to frame it in a shadow box, or perhaps, lay it on cushioned velvet and lock it up forever.

This tender moment didn’t last long when I quickly shifted gears realizing that now I must be organized about storing my kids’ teeth so as not to confuse them. It would be a travesty to mix up these beloved treasures. I then wondered if my parents, er, I mean the former fairies, even kept my teeth, along with those of my five siblings. It’s nothing I ever thought to ask. Ever. Did they have good intentions from the start, get them all mixed up, and give up?  I don’t begrudge them if they did. I do wonder what happened to all the little teeth. Oh, wait, they’re with the tooth fairy.

Chances are I will have enough trouble storing two sets of teeth. You’re probably rolling your eyes at me now. I’m sure you’re more organized. Along with being handed the swaddled babes at birth, I would have benefited from some kind of organized kit that included keepsakes from the tooth fairy, such as trinkets, silky bags, and teeth containers. Perhaps, this special kit exists. I bet it does. Then this losing teeth event would be followed by a magical memory. So far, I’m never ready when they lose the tooth. Ever.

I’m the parent who goes to the store at the last minute because I never have cash, asking the cashier if he happens to have any special coins. Yes, I’m kind of a last-minute gal. Or, you could say I’m spontaneous. It looks as if my son will be losing another tooth soon, very soon, like tonight or tomorrow. So, now I have forewarning, plenty of it. Note to self, always have extra cash in case my child loses a tooth in the middle of the night and getting cash/coins is not possible.

Will I show my kids their teeth some day? Would there be an “Ah” moment, or would they laugh hysterically, spilling them all over the floor? I can see it now. We’ll be searching for the little white nuggets frantically under a table or a chair. Is it better for these cherished babies to stay with the tooth fairy?

Do you know where your baby teeth are now? Are they resting securely in a jeweled box, silky bag, or golden vase? Perhaps, a simple ziplock or tupperware? Or, are they in the hands of the tooth fairy?