Monday, August 27, 2012
Looking After Number One.
When you go to the dentist as an adult anticipating a procedure involving anesthesia and drills your preparation probably goes something like this:
Get up and brush your teeth. Eat a light breakfast of easy to chew foods without seeds. Clean your teeth again. Floss. Rinse with mouthwash. Shower and apply clean underwear (in case you end up in hospital after some unforeseeable dental emergency.) Clean your teeth one final time, rinse again with mouthwash. Look up your nose to see if there are any boogers that need to be removed before your dentist spends a lot of time staring closely at your face in the reclined position. Drive to dentist.
When you go to the dentist as a full time mom:
Get up and make the kids breakfast. Check your email for one last time to see if anyone has stepped forward at the last minute to help with childcare while you are at your appointment. See that no-one has. Sigh.
Pack a snack pack and backpack full of toys, crayons, books etc to keep kids occupied. Ask them to go and get dressed. Make yourself a cup of tea. Take tea with you upstairs in the full and certain knowledge that kids will be playing in their pajamas in their room. Help them select clothes and ask them to put them on. Stay nearby so you can remind them to apply each item to their bodies. Grit your already sore teeth. Set up toothbrushes with toothpaste so the kids can clean their teeth. Realize you might want to do that too. Head to the bathroom - get interrupted by four year old who needs her buttons buttoned and her zippers zipped. Get yourself dressed with less care than you intended. Referee an argument about who needs the step stool at the sink to clean their teeth. Remind the nine year old of her height and abilities. Ask the kids to brush their hair. Return to bathroom to clean teeth. Get interrupted by four year old needing help with changing her doll's dress. Remind her that dolly is not going to the dentist so doesn't need a new outfit. Deal with ten minute meltdown because dolly is not going to the dentist. Put dolly, in new outfit, in backpack.
Realize you need to leave NOW for the dentist. Run into the bathroom and swirl mouthwash around your mouth and grab a toothbrush to go. Ask the kids to put their shoes on. Run a comb through your hair in an attempt to look 'polished.' Go downstairs to find kids playing in the living room. Shout at the kids to get their shoes on THIS MINUTE and get in the car. Spend several minutes apologizing and comforting the four year old who "doesn't like it when you shout mummy."
Get in the car, now late, and drive to the dentist. 'Clean' your teeth with a dry toothbrush while driving. Deposit already squabbling kids in waiting room with strict instructions to be good. Feel frazzled and weighed down by kids when you just need to take care of yourself for this one hour. Listen as at least three people in the waiting room and four dental office staff tell you what sweet, well behaved angels you have.
Go in and get your mouth assaulted by needles and metal instruments in the name of good dental care. Listen to the hygienist lecture you about cleaning and flossing with more 'integrity.' Feel like a five year old child with limited motor skills. Listen to your children in the background of the open plan office whilst noting your blood splattering out of your mouth onto various surfaces. Hope your children can't see you. Start to fret that if your children can see and hear what is happening to you they will never go to the dentist willingly again.
Finally finish and slap your brave, happy face on before greeting your children and their long list of needs and requests - you were unavailable to them for 60 minutes after all. Sigh. Carry on with the rest of your childcare day regardless of any swelling, pain or bleeding, unless of course it is happening to one of your children - in which case apply enormous amounts of care and concern.