Today the kids and I survived something I'd been dreading for weeks and avoiding for years. That's right, they each had their first dentist visits today. *scream*
Since Lydia is under 18 months she only had a quick little exam in which they counted her teeth (she has seven), and brushed them quickly while she screamed. It wasn't that bad, but she was stuck to me like Velcro afterward (what else is new?).
Ian, on the other hand, was way overdue for a first dental exam. His pediatrician had asked me to schedule him for a dental exam before his two year well visit. That was two years ago. Though she continued to ask me about Ian going to the dentist, she didn't really make me feel bad about not taking him, so I just kept avoiding it. Like a lot of kids, I'm sure, Ian hates having his teeth brushed. Once we've muscled the toothbrush into his mouth, it's a fight to keep it in there. Most of the time it ends with Ian gagging, and occasionally throwing up, because of his very sensitive gag reflex. The thought of letting a stranger poke around in his mouth and try to brush his teeth with that spiny toothbrush-thing while he's choking and gagging was enough to make me "forget" to schedule the appointment for the last two years.
My other hang-up (and I don't know if this is my being selfish for me or for Ian, but it's probably both) was that Ian already has so many appointments and doctor visits that it was hard to bear adding another one. It seems like every week I am dragging him to a doctor visit, a testing appointment, a brace adjustment, an orthotic fitting, or a specialist consult. And that's on top of his schooling and out-patient therapy appointments. He has to endure a lot of things he doesn't want to do at these appointments, so to add one more to the docket just seemed cruel, to him and to me.
It had to be done though. We went to the dentist today, armed with noise-reduction headphones, his blankie, and an extra shirt in case of throw-up. We needed none of them. Ian was allowed to sit on my lap and the hygienist cleaned his teeth with minimal guff from him. She was very nice and patient with him (and me!), and tried to put him at ease before she did something. At the end he happily accepted a prize from the treat bucket (a little orange dinosaur which Lydia now loves and will not part with) and had his picture taken with the dentist. Only six more blissful months until we go back and do it again.
Ian's fourth birthday, as well as his four year well visit, is fast approaching. This year, instead of looking at the floor and mumbling when the pediatrician brings up the dentist, I can proudly say Ian went, didn't throw up, and didn't bite any one's finger off. That's the measure of a successful dentist visit, right?