Yesterday String Bean had her dentist appointment, and next week it’s Peanut’s turn. We’ve had moderate success with previous dentist trips. The girls are fine with the tooth cleaning part, since the spinning little tooth polisher feels just like the spinning toothbrushes we use at home. And both girls are so obsessed with floss that I actually use it as a reward for good behavior. But that doesn’t mean they don’t get nervous at the sight of that big reclining dentist chair with the spotlight above it. And neither one has ever had a decent set of X-rays taken. Something about the funny thing in the mouth, plus that heavy lead apron, plus having Mom and the tech scurry quickly out of the room while the big machine at their side beeps at them, is just too much to sit through.
This time, to better prepare them both, we had a mock dentist appointment at home. I set up a chair, and had them take turns leaning back for me to poke and prod in their mouth, brush and floss their teeth, then take pretend X-rays. At the end, I rewarded them each with a balloon—just like their pediatric dentist does—for being so well-behaved. Really, we couldn’t have been more prepared. Except that String Bean was up in the night, and was already cranky and tired before we even got to the dentist. When they tried to get X-rays, and instead got a very tearful, terrified four-year-old curled into a ball and pleading to go home, we gave up on those (again). She refused to sit through the polishing, which last time was the easy part, until we all agreed they could clean her teeth from my lap. I know they do this with small children, but String Bean is only 18 inches shorter than me, probably less by now, so it was a little ridiculous trying to hold her across my lap like a baby. But her teeth got cleaned, she got her balloon and a toy (actually she insisted on two, one for her sister as well, which just warmed my heart), and by the time we got home she was all smiles again. Maybe next time, when she’s five, we’ll finally get those X-rays.