Today, my warm-up activity for my sophomores was to write about their first memory. We are reading short stories about different societies and their norms, and this opener was supposed to lead into discussing how we decide what "normal" is. So many of my students' first memories were of something tragic--like being wounded--or something magical--like Barney coming to their third Birthday party. After yesterday's debacle, I am afraid that when asked this question as a sophomore, Addison would describe her first trip to the dentist.
Don't let this pretty smile fool you...
[Photo credit: Aaron Yung Photography]
It. was. awful.
Worse than tubes.
We had been talking to her for awhile to her about going to the dentist and about getting her teeth cleaned and how Mommy and Daddy and Savannah go to the dentist and how big girls get to go to the dentist. Addison is someone who needs to process things. She likes to ask questions and feel comfortable with something before it is thrust upon her.
The night before we went, as I was tucking her in, she said to me, "Mom, are you going to leave me at the dentist? Will you hold my hand the whole time? Mom, I am going to try not to cry, but if they turn the lights off, I probably will. But I am going to try real hard." I reassured her, and said goodnight.
When we walked into the office, she was ready to go. As she saw other children go back, she looked at me and told me she was going to go all by herself. She even tried to go back before she was called.
As soon as she heard her name called, however, she clung to me for dear life, and I went back with her.
It started off well enough. Though her fingernails were digging into my arms, she was fairly compliant with the hygienist until she wanted to get her back teeth. Patrick and I have noticed and been a little concerned about some dark spots on her teeth, and though she is just shy of three, we wanted to make sure she didn't have a mouth full of cavities.
Once she was done, she was done, and there was no rationalizing or negotiating with her. She locked her jaw and clenched her teeth, but still managed to scream at the top of her lungs. In the end, her physical strength, strength of will, and fiestiness resulted in all hands on deck. It took three people holding her down to get a good look in her mouth.
Luckily, she has no cavities. It is a different bacteria that just sticks to her teeth. The dentist says that during her next growth spurt as her body composition changes, the stains will probably go away. Never heard of that.
When we left, I hugged her and told her that next time wouldn't be so scary. She asked me if it was okay to be afraid. Bless her. I hugged her again and said yes.
She was quiet the whole way home, but as soon as she walked in the door, she ran to her daddy, gave him a big toothy grin, and exclaimed, "Look at my princess teeth!"
After all that, I told him he could take her next time.
We gave our sweet girl some extra love and reassurance last night.