Wednesday, January 30, 2013

We Interrupt This Silence...

To talk about the fascinating subject of...

(Drumroll, please...)

Dentistry!  Well, maybe not the whole field of dentistry, but just the parts of it that set off me off in an hysterical crying jag when I was on the phone with my sister yesterday morning.

It all stemmed from the kids having their 6-month cleaning yesterday morning.  I was being a Good Mommy, so I asked for the first appointment in the morning, so the kids wouldn't have to miss any more school than was strictly necessary.  (Promptly negated by the fact we let Cheyenne go with Daddy this week to hang out with Grandma and see the house Daddy's building, so she missed school AND her dentist appointment.)  This early appointment necessitated leaving the house with all three kids in tow at a ridiculously early hour.  (We are NOT mentioning the hour, because I don't need farmers and construction workers hooting at my definition of "early hour").  Marilla was still sleeping up until the last minute, so I gave her a bag of dry Cheerios and a sippy cup of milk in the van for her breakfast, apologizing to the hygienist when we got there for the residual Cheerio crumbs.  Anyway, the kids were exemplary while getting their teeth clean, and I was keeping Lincoln quiet, so it was all a win.  Until the hygienist told me there were suspicious spots on Rilla's teeth.  When the dentist came in, he said they were cavities that were going to have to be filled.  My heart sunk.  Then, to really make me feel terrible about the state of my daughter's teeth, he asked how old Rilla was... then whistled at her diminutive size.  Okay, no mother of a four year old has ever had a cavity before.  Then the hygienist started an earnest little lecture about how these are the MOST IMPORTANT YEARS for a kid's teeth, and kids that get cavities young will have way more problems with cavities when they're older.  Then she told me part of the problem was letting Rilla eat Cheerios in the car, it is "much more healthy for them to eat while sitting at a table."  For the record, my kids eat at the table 99.99% of the time, it was only due to the Ridiculously Early Hour that Rilla ate breakfast on the run!  Then, the leading question... "Does she still use a sippy cup?"  Yup, guilty as charged.  I'm the weird mother who hates mopping up milk 3 times in the same meal.  Okay, that was contributing to the acid erosion on her front teeth, because apparently milk is something you only drink at meal times, never in between.  (And crackers are NEVER something you snack on.  Goodbye, preferred morning snack).  THEN, she mentioned Rilla's "black line staining" (something all my kids have had).  Thankfully, this sin could not be laid at my door, because the hygienist had just read that black line stains on the teeth may be connected to high iron levels.  However, the lack of parental flossing was certainly directly attributable to me.  Maybe I should buy her an electric toothbrush?  I already had.  Well, in that case, it was dangerous for kids to use them unsupervised, as they require a different kind of brushing action, and it can hurt kids' gums if used improperly.  Oh, great, there's even a learning curve for the incredibly boring task of brushing 4 children's teeth twice a day!  Soooo, an appointment was set up to bring Rilla in and scar her for life by sticking a needle in her gum when she was 4 years old.

This was all fairly depressing as a parent (Elliott getting to put his name up on the No Cavity Wall of Fame was small balm), but for some reason when I called to tell Bethaney the litany of my sins, I started blubbering like I was informing her of my terminal cancer diagnosis.  This led me to realize that A. I was wildly overtired, B. I really, really, really am having a hard time being a single mom as the third month of having Evan gone most of the time draws to a close, and C. I guess I am was more traumatized than I realized over my dental woes throughout the years.

So, I had to sign Elliott into school with rather red eyes.  (Sobbing: "I'm sorry, there's been a d-d-d-de-e-e-ntist in the family!")

Then to add to the Mother Shame, I took my kids to Wal-Mart.  This is one of the worst things about being a single parent-- having to shop with children.  There is something in the air at our local Wal-Mart that turns my children into fire-breathing demons.  I can do everything possible to assure they will behave (take them in the morning, well-fed [those noxious Cheerios in the car!]), but no matter what, they either run wildly up and down aisles, or fight, or attempt to stand up in the cart, or try to turn upside while hanging off the side of the cart... And every. single. adult. I encounter in the store seems to be looking at me with censure, or actually does come over and earnestly tell me the story of how their cousin's sister-in-law's hairdresser's kid died because they fell out of the cart.  I don't know why this is an arena that people feel perfectly free to give advice to others, but it is.  I should start wearing a sign that says, "I understand the risks inherent in children misusing shopping carts.  If it makes you worried, I will cheerfully let you mind my children while I whiz around the aisles, child-free for a brief period."

Anyway, after a lunch of teeth-foe food, I took a nap with Lincoln.  And that helped life considerably.  There was still the evening drama of supper not having defrosted enough, and of kids too silly for words.  After reading them two interminable books (Horton Hatches the Egg and The Diggingest Dog), I cut the boys' hair, bathed them all, clipped their fingernails... and then brushed and flossed the living life out of their teeth.  Apparently, this is the path to my Redemption.

4 comments:

Bethaney said...

Hahah! I would just like to point out, that you calling with "I am the worst mother in the world!" definitely prompted my hypochondriac mind to picture neglect leading to the ER, not a mother taking her kids to their six month check up (good mother!) and discovering a fearsome cavity.

And I have never, ever flossed my kids teeth. So I am worse than the worst mother in the world. Ha!

And just think, you have 1 more month of singleness. But only 1. Hopefully.....

Sheena said...

So sorry for your dentist woes. For the records I do not condemn you as a bad parent.

Also - I think people in the medical industry could use some help in the 'treating parents with respect' department. A friend of mine just had her 4 year old get his tonsils removed - Immediately afterwards, the 4 year old was scared and screaming and the nurse got all huffy: "Just stop! Listen to me! What's your problem?" etc and to the parent: " Ahhh! I just can't concentrate with all this crying!" !!!!The kid just had surgery!!!

Connie said...

If it makes you feel any better, I am right there with you for Terrible Parent Award in Denistry. Are you ready for a book? Here goes: I was in exactly the same situation (hysteria and all) when Tucker was a mere 3 1/2 year old. I was looked at like filth and reprimanded to tears by the dentist. Apparently you are supposed to start bringing kids in for their Dental check-ups when they are babies, like 1 year olds. Little did I know that at the time. So, when he had his first appointment I was horrified to learn that he had MANY cavities.(I won't say how many, because that is just embarassing) To make matters worse, there was so many that they the only way they would fill them was to sedate him. I had insurance through my work, but after that kicked in I was told I would need to come up with addtl $5500 out of pocket to cover the cost. I sat there in the office dumbfounded, and started to bawl right then and there. How was a 22 year old single parent, making $15 per hour supposed to come up with that kind of money out of pocket? Was I supposed to just sit there and let his little teeth rot out of his head for the next 3 years so I could save that kind of money? It was a horrible time for me. I am ashamed to say that I had to drop my position at my job down from full-time operations manager to part-time sales person just so I could qualify for Medicaid and get his teeth done. For me, that was such a rock bottom. I had prided myself in not accepting assistance and raising him on my own and I had GREAT insurance through my work. When I switched positions, I had to give up a job I had worked really hard to get. The crazy thing was is I called Medicaid to explain my position, told them my insurance capped out at $1500 annually, and told them I could pay $1000 out of pocket, and they said the ONLY way I could get them to assist was if I qualified (in which case they would pay the entire amount) Not to get political, but that is an example of what's wrong with our "welfare" system. Instead of them helping somebody who was doing the "right" thing by trying to support their family with OUT help, they insisted I make less money so I qualified for the entire amount. To boot, with my switch to part time sales, I lost all of my Blue Cross insurance benefits. So there I was, a blathering mess of a cry baby who felt the guilt of being the horrible, ignorant parent of a child who needed oral surgery by the age of 4. My wounds have healed over time, and when I see our astronomical quarterly IRS payments, I feel as if we have paid back that money many times over, so the guilt of being a user of the state's money to pay for my child's teeth is gone. None the less, it certainly brings back unpleasant memories. Moral of the story: You are not as bad as me! Hahaha. Love you.

Katie said...

And don't feel bad about the dentist......Oscar had FIVE cavities! But thankfully we have a great dentist that doesn't point out the faults in our parenting ;-) Hugs to you:-)