Keep On Smiling
A trip to the dentist proves an adventure for this young family.
Everything a young family does together is an adventure. Recently, we went together to the dentist, and it was no exception.
My wife and I have a three-year-old boy. It was his first visit to get his teeth professionally cleaned. We also took along our nine-month-old son. Of course, the baby isn’t old enough to get his teeth done, but was very interested and more than willing to sit back and watch the hygienist dig into our mouths with all of her fancy tools. In fact, his mouth, equipped with just five teeth, remained in a cheerful lopsided grin throughout the entire visit.
My older son was equally enthralled. He wanted to go first, and was so adamant about keeping his mouth open wide that he had to be reminded he could close it when no one was working on him. He was observing the scene and every detail carefully, looking cool and relaxed in the sun glasses they had given him to keep out the bright overhead lights.
So far, so good, I thought to myself. What were we worried about?
Up until this point I had been holding the baby. He’s just under 20 pounds so I had to switch arms frequently. My wife had been called into another room to get her teeth cleaned and I wanted to keep the eldest company. But there was one catch. I had imagined my appointment was scheduled to take place after my wife’s, but instead, I was to follow my son and no one was there to hold the youngest.
No problem, I was told. A receptionist was called in and she was more than happy to hold the child. She did this while answering questions from my three-year-old, who, at this point, was beginning to become quite comfortable in the dentist’s office. Meanwhile, my mouth was pried wide open so I could only listen and trust my son to be polite. It turned out well. The receptionist explained everything in detail to my son and even took him into the room where he could see the x-rays of my teeth when they were ready. This lady, I decided, was a saint.
Meanwhile, the youngest behaved well too. After about 15 minutes, the receptionist handed him off to another co-worker and he “helped out” at the reception desk for a while. Apparently, not only did he smile at patients as they arrived, but he also assisted the staff by spontaneously lunging at the keyboard and somehow, with his tiny fingers, booking an appointment on the computer screen.Oh dear! Saints, indeed.
Back in the dentist’s chair, I sat quietly, listening to my eldest who had befriended the hygienist and was keeping her occupied with countless questions as she did her job. He leaned over my left side while she worked from my right. “What does that do? Is Daddy a good brusher? How many teeth does he have? Does he taste your gloves like I did? Do pilots go to the dentist?”
And so on.
The hygienist seemed to enjoy the conversation and I had to keep still and not chuckle with the sharp instruments in my mouth. And believe me, it wasn’t easy.
In my peripheral vision, I could see the baby arrive back in the room, this time in his mother’s arms. She was immediately brought up to speed on the procedure by my older son; he also gave his approval on her choice of a red toothbrush.
By the time we were ready to leave the office, the boys had made many new friends. I was exhausted. But I knew when we went home there would be no rest. It was time to lie down, mouths open, and let the three-year-old dentist clean our teeth. Over and over again.
The baby sat on the carpet next to us, playing with the red toothbrush and laughing with his five-toothed smile.