i spent the morning at the dentist office. not for me, but for jack. he goes to a really great pediatric dentist. the office itself is fun and colorful, and i have never, EVER, in 41 years, witnessed such caring and attentive staff members in a medical office. despite the ever present (and overly loud) Disney Channel, i often wish it was my dentist! but, i digress...
we were at the dentist this morning because someone needed to get cavities filled. not me, but jack. four cavities. my mouth hurts just thinking about it.
i don't know how i have failed as a teeth brushing mom. i had braces twice. i had visited the oral surgeon three times before the seventh grade. but i never got a cavity until i was 35 years old. and i haven't had one since.
maybe i'm lucky. i brush twice a day. i always use Crest. i floss when i remember. i don't drink soda. i still think i'm lucky.
jack? not so much. at the tender age of ten, we've had extractions and fillings, all due to cavities. every time we leave the dentist, i feel compelled to deliver my motherly speech about the importance of good brushing. i keep thinking the pain and/or embarrassment of having to get scolded by the nicest dentist in the world will encourage him to take better care of his teeth. i worry that i haven't helped him develop better habits, and that, at ten, it might be too late.
he knew this morning that he was going to get "drilled." when the very amazing hygenist came out to get him and take him back, she said, "we are going to try to get to all four today, but we might only be able to do two. we'll see how he's feeling."
i saw it - the brief moment of panic/dread/disbelief as the words sunk in. he stood up, caught up in the amazing hygenists whirlwind of energy. he was walking towards the back, and i could *feel* what he was thinking:
it's going to hurt
i don't want to go
somebody tell me i don't have to
how much is it going to hurt?
and there they were, real tears. but not in his eyes. they were stinging in my eyes. the door closed behind them, and the amazing hygenist and my son with the mouth full of holes were whisked into the Universal Studios of dentist's offices. and i was left, feeling the anxiety and the fear and the slighly queasy stomach for him. in that moment, i would have given anything to take his place, to ease his uneasiness.
he is fine. halfway through, the amazing hygenist came out and said that it was jack's decision to go ahead and complete all four fillings today (smart kid!) afterwards, we laughed about his "duck lips" and he practiced saying words that ended in S and F all the way back to school. and he only half-heartedly attempted to talk me into letting him stay out all day.
i'm still feeling a bit anxious. i still want to protect him, even though he is quite obviously fine. well, as fine as you can be with FOUR NEW FILLINGS!!
i'm glad to say i am fine, too. i was able to hold back those tears. at least until i had to get out my checkbook...
will you take a self-portrait today? leave me a comment and let me know!