changing lives since 2003 (ms_pooka) wrote,
changing lives since 2003
ms_pooka

the modern pediatric dentist.

since oliver was maybe two months old, we have been letting him chew on toothbrushes with non-fluoride toothpaste and diligently brushing his teeth twice a day. he recently started complaining of sensitivity on one of his molars and i wasn't sure whether or not he was just going through a phase where he didn't want brian brushing his teeth. i mean, brian is pretty enthusiastic about dental hygiene and i could see where that could translate into exuberance too grand for a tiny, five year old mouth.

i FINALLY got his first dental appointment scheduled and thursday night, i googled MONKEY DENTIST and i said, "Oliver, you do know that your dentist will be a monkey, right?" and i showed him this picture:

monkey dentist


and we went on like that for a few minutes. the appointment was 10am yesterday morning and so we dropped violet off at school, told his teacher he'd be in later, remembered we had forgotten mrs bailey's birthday, went to the dollar store to look for mini clothespins, got a non-offensive birthday card with a dalmatian on the front, and went to the food pantry where we had been too late a couple of afternoons prior for dropping off the 12 cans oliver had picked out at the target. we went in and this old man said we could drop those cans off right there and he was like, "thank you!" and had the handles of the reusable bag and thereby forced me to look like some kind of asshole, saying, "do i get my bag back?" and so we went to leave, with our emptied bag, and he said something to me while looking at oliver like, "well! is this your little sister?" and i didn't know what reaction to have because i thought we were past that phase of people thinking oliver's a girl and i just gave him a crappy haircut and he was wearing a chunky grey sweater with navy school pants and black shoes... all traditional boy territory. and i thought maybe he had seen violet when we had unsuccessfully come by a few days prior and i, i ... just didn't know.

new paragraph. and i blurted out, "oh no!" and he said he knew he wasn't my sister. but i think he still thought he was a girl.

and then it was dentist time. oliver had me counting down the minutes until 10:00. and that's when i thought i should make sure he knew i was kidding about monkey dentists and you wouldn't want a monkey's hands in your mouth because they're always covered in poop and they use banana instruments and that's just not very effective.

we got in there and watched the end of "Up" where they apparently kill off an old man and i was like, "dang."

we were taken back there and she put him in a regular-sized chair and i was wondering how that would work and she said she would take his picture for some dinosaur book people usually get in the mail before their visit and while she was spending an inordinate amount of time trying to get him to smile, he was getting confused and remembering how i had told him all he had to do was open his mouth and so he kept wavering between a half smile and closed lips and kind of opening his mouth. and she captured the perfect photo of his terrible haircut that had been washed hard and put away wet the night before. it was like a memento of here is the fear that you once felt as a small child. here is where your fear of the dentist began. last moments of dental innocence and naivete. waiting for the monkey dentist.

oliver dentist


the hygienist then laid the chair all the way back and i said, "OLIVER! DON'T YOU GO TO SLEEP!" and she raised it up a couple of times and i said, "IT'S LIKE A ROCKET!" and then she had him scoot all the way to the top and stuck a big, vinyl bolster pillow under his legs and i said, "so that's how you do it."

he had been given an otter-shaped toothbrush with a suction cup on the end of it and i could tell he was already in love. he picked the cotton candy-flavored tooth goo over the something-or-other berry flavor, despite not having a clue what cotton candy tastes like. i think he was just pointing at whatever to get it over with. later, he said it tasted good.

she was very patient and friendly and sweet. she showed him mr. something-indicating-water-would-come-out-of-it and mr. thirsty, his companion. and the tooth tickler. she counted his fingers with her pick before counting his teeth with it. just an excuse to do that awful thing where it feels like they're trying to break through the enamel on your molars. she got in there with the tooth tickler AND the otter brush and scraped down some plaque and i said, "OLIVER! YOU HAVEN'T BEEN EATING SAND FROM THE SAND BOX, HAVE YOU?" i could see his little chest going up and down fast and his legs waving around on occasion and i wanted to sit on the end of the chair instead of on a little bench four feet away.

then, he was finished and the hygienist said for the seventh time how cute he is and gave him an extra sticker for doing such a good job and asked if he would rather have cars or toy story and she pulled out a dispenser that also included rolls of dora and princesses and when he wouldn't answer, she also included dora in his list of options, but not the princesses... just like the sales woman at payless shoe source. i said, "he probably doesn't know cars, but he has a toy story book (which we're in the process of trying to get the hell out of here because it is the most inane, nonsensical mess you've ever read)". and i think that's what he got. she peeled this huge, square sticker off and he held it and stared at it and started to put it on his sweater and started to put it on his hand, but it was huge and she finally tore the backing off the roll and put it back on there.

while she chatted with me about his mouth habits, he was shipped to another chair facing away from us for his xrays. i could see his little head jiggling when she pushed the xray button and at some point, the xray lady mentioned he was crying and she couldn't get the ones in back. he later said he was afraid he would swallow those things they shove in your mouth and i was like, i know! i feel that way, too!

dr petrocchi, the monkey dentist, came out and she had some kind of an accent and a very sugary voice, which is good for the kids (but not their teeth), and she put him in another chair without a bolster pillow and his little body kind of stuck straight out across the divide. there was a tv screen suspended horizontally over his face with "Up" playing again. she poked around in there and then sent him to the prize drawer where he picked out a santa sticker.

she sat down with us and told us he has a couple of cavities and bring him back in a week and they'll gas him up for the rest of his xrays and we can bring in his xmas movies and she'll haul him off to another room without me to drill as fast as she can, with him all loaded up on nitrous and rudolph.

we got out of there with a green balloon and he seemed rather unscathed by the experience and still under the general impression that going to the dentist is AWESOME and FUN and he asked if it would be the monkey dentist who will clean out his cavities.
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