26 Weeks

Show Me Your Teeth

I took the boys to the dentist this morning. Because that's what you do, right? You have children. You take them to the dentist. 

And then afterwards you come home and lie down in bed and stare at the ceiling, utterly exhausted, brutally aware of every stressed-out muscle and amped-up nerve running through your core. All because you took your children to the dentist. 

Or maybe that's just me.

Everybody's teeth are just fine, though I have passed on BOTH of my own mouth weirdness issues to the boys -- one issue for each kid. Ezra's got the overbite, Noah's got the insanely crowded mouth with teeth wedged up next to each *likethis.* Perhaps the new baby will get my special trick of growing adult teeth underneath my gums, completely sideways.


But still. I am beat. We were late! There were forms! Then more forms! A misplaced insurance card! Wrangling in the waiting room! All this AND MORE, before we even got into the exam room where there was honest-to-God potential for BITING.

Ezra was a dream, as usual, once we acquiesced to his raging dislike of the paper-towel bib, anyway. He chose a dinosaur finger puppet and a Spiderman tattoo as a prize and that was that. 

Taking a kid like Noah to the dentist -- a kid who is still generally flip-outty sensitive about his mouth, and wary of the world at large, particularly parts of the world involving adults asking him to do things he does not want to do -- is a total crapshoot. Will he cooperate? Refuse to open his mouth? Cry? Panic? Knock over several thousand dollars worth of medical equipment on his way over to the windowsill in a desperate bid to escape? 

(For the record, yes, we take them to a pediatric dentist office that regularly sees special-needs kids. So they're used to it. Probably more so than I am, because OHMYGODIHATEIT.)

All things considered, he did pretty good today. I had to hold his body sideways and pry his fingers off the doorframe at one point, and then he figured out how to work the little water sprayer instrument and VERY NEARLY ALMOST doused the dentist's computer with it, and yes, he cried, and begged for us to stop touching him and and to just plain stop stop stop. He was utterly convinced that someone was going to give him a shot and no amount of reassurance from anyone in the room would change his mind about all of us secretly packing giant needles in our pockets, waiting until he let his guard down before poking at him like a soft, baby-skinned pincushion. 

But he did it. We did it. Teeth cleaned, polished, flossed and flouride...ed. He picked an Iron Man tattoo.

I came home and picked out an entire box of Girl Scout cookies, because compared to my kids, I am a giant-ass wuss.




Absolutely unrelated to anything else in this post. 


Pinkie Bling

Nice title! I think that's my favorite track on the album. Also your kids are cute, but I bet you never hear that. ;-)


Love that song - and the dentist for my kids stresses me out as well. Took my 1 1/2 year old a few weeks back because the pediatrician saw a white spot on her tooth and says that it could be a cavity. I knew it wasn't and wasn't going to bring her. Then that worrying and stressing set in - what if it is? I just ignore it then her tooth rots and falls out and it's all my fault because the pedi warned me. Anyway, she cried the whole time, I was exhausted, and it was nothing. I feel your pain.


I'm sorry you had to endure that, but at the same time I'm relieved that I'm not the only one who dreads taking their kids to the dentist.

The going home and collapsing, exhausted, thing you described is me every single time I have to take them for a cleaning. I have a 6-year-old and a 21-month-old. They both hate the dentist. HATE it. And we go to a wonderful pediatric dentist who does everything he can to make the kids comfortable and happy.

Still, they hate it. I'm just relieved to know I'm not the only mom who's left drained after taking them there. All the other moms there always seem to have it under control. They seem so WITH IT. Not me. We come in like a whirlwind and leave like the Keystone Kops. It just sucks.


Oh, I am dreading this. DREAADDD.

Thanks for the laugh, though. I'll make sure to pick up some Girl Scout cookies the week of the appointment. :)


I can sympathise on Noah's crowded mouth thing (and yes, my Mum had the same problem too). It's why I only have FOUR teeth on my bottom left side. I'm afraid I see extractions for spacing purposes in his future :-( Or has dental sciencey stuff moved on since I was little?


You should write a childrens book about the dentist featuring Bearius Care. Or Han Solo.

Jen K.

Umm, yeah. We've been twice with my 3.5 year old. All she could do was wipe floride on his teeth and check them out each time. Which in itself led to screaming and biting and tears (me and him). I don't know how long it will take for us to be able to use the whirring polishing tool.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Oh Ezra... Such a cutie.

Sounds exhausting. But Girl Scout Cookies are a good remedy for pretty much anything. Hope they worked!


I originally read that as "He picked an Iron Maiden tattoo." and I was all YES. Now I'm a little disappointed.


Oh my god, I hatehatehate taking my kids to the dentist. My daughter flips the hell out every single time, and my son is too young to understand why some guy in a mask is sticking his hands in his mouth.

I'm impressed that you took both kids to the dentist at the same time. So far, I've been able to avoid that. If there comes a day when I have to handle both of them and their screaminess at the dentist, well, I might just decide to let their little teeth fall out. I've heard a rumor they grow new ones when their around six or seven anyway.


First off, those pictures made me smile so THANK YOU! :)

Second, I totally feel you on the trips to the dentist thing. I actually got my husband to take the morning off work to come with me when I had to take both boys. I am that kind of wuss. And not sorry for it at all.


Sideways? Ugh. I'll take my five wisdom teeth over that any day. I'm like a shark - they just keep growing.


My kid turn 2 this month and I am so terrified to take her to the dentist. I might make my husband do it.

That play kitchen is adorable!!! Where is it from?


Oh Lordy, but that's me tomorrow morning. It's funny how my older son, the one with the sensitivity issues and whatnot, he's fine with it and lets them do whatever they need to as long as they explain to him clearly what they're doing.

However, my completely typical, easy going, little guy of 3 1/2 freaks out like nobody's business. The crazy part is, I know he'd be ok with it if I could walk in with him but the dr. in his infinite wisdom won't allow parents past the waiting room. AT ALL. Nor will he do anything to coax my son in any way. So we leave EVERY TIME with a shrug and a "we'll try next time when he's had his nap" Of course he's had his nap when we go there. One of these days when I get the bill I'm going to shrug and say, "I'll pay next time when he's had his checkup."


1. Yay for Costco, we have that same red kitchen. If it gets as much play in your house as it does in ours, then we'll agree that it's the best, what? $150? we ever spent.
2. My 5 year old is (obv) a very different child than Noah, but she's certainly not one that would ever be described as "easy-going," "laid-back," "in any way not freaked out by the world" (please to say with Chris Farly full-body air quotes). So, um. I waited until last fall to take her to the dentist. For the first time. Does that sufficiently horrify everyone in the room? Are we supposed to start taking them to the dentist, like, as soon as they have teeth? Well, let's call it a battle chosen, but I decided to wait to take her to the dentist until she was old enough to really understand my explanation of what was going to happen. Otherwise I figured it would be as exhausting as what you've described, with the holding down of a screaming child who doesn't understand why a stranger wants to prod her mouth. So wait I did, and now, post-first-dentist-visit, I'm very glad that I did. On that first visit, I explained what was going to happen, we chose a young and fun dentist, and I, embarrassed and chastened, started apologizing that this was the nearly-five-year-old's first visit, before the poor guy even had a chance to say "Hi I'm Dr. H." But after that, it couldn't have gone better. She sat nicely in the chair, did as he asked, let him do what he needed to do including x-rays, and was an all-around gem. Hooray for the age of reason!

And I got to leave feeling just a little self-satisfied that in spite of four years of actually having teeth but not visiting the dentist, she had not a single cavity and he said that we're doing a great job with brushing, her teeth look perfect. Ha.


Shout out to Sous Chef Ez! My personal miniature sous chef keeps the (actual) bagels in his (pretend) microwave because he never wants to be without a snack if he needs it.


Sounds like a completely normal day around here! Right down to the treat for mom :) Personally, I go for a stack of Oreos, but to each his own.


Heh. (1) Perfect Lady Gaga title. (2) OMFG you are brave to take them BOTH AT ONCE. I bow. (3) Girl Scout cookies fix everything. (4) THAT IS THE MOST AWESOME PLAY KITCHEN AND ITTY CHEF HAT. I want to come over and play.


So... That kitchen is so cute. Where on earth did you find a non-pink kitchen??


Just so you know, I have a person with sensory issues, and the dentist has always been bad (taking blood pressure too, but luckily that's less often). Last year we started with...cavities. And it was awful and terrible BUT. This last time, when we had to terrible dental hygenist who just started randomly squirting shit into my kid's mouth with no warning, causing her to freak out, afterward my weeping freaked out kid pulled herself together totally, went up to the evil hygeinist (of her own accord! no parental suggestion!) and said, "I'm sorry for freaking out before, I really didn't expect you to do that and it was hard for me." She was 11. And I am STILL proud, a year later. The issues don't go away necessarily, but they learn to handle them in a way that makes you proud (and kind of humbled).


So apparently you're supposed to take two-year-olds to the dentist? Hrmmm. That's... unnerving. My son is two and I can't imagine trying to get him to hold still long enough to let someone in a very scary looking paper mask use the business end of something pointy and stabby get acquianted with his back molars. That's right out of my nightmares.

So, uh, good job! You're a better parent than I am. Here's a shiny Super Man tattoo for your trouble, because I'm too lazy to hunt down a roving pack of Girl Scouts and divest them of a box of Samoas.


I have taken my oldest to the dentist twice now. She's eight. She loves it. I work really really hard at not passing on my irrational fear of dentists to her, and so far so good I guess. I also keep myself calm by admitting I need my own appointment, but postponing it until the toddler is in preschool, which gives me three years of calm before I panic about my own visit. Our dentist has a TV at every chair - yours should look into that. Kid was totally absorbed in iCarly during the whole thing. Good job getting it done at all, that's a feat all by itself.


What memories this post brought back. My now 16 yr old son never minded going to the dentist and behaved perfectly every time. Still, knowing that my now 13 yr old daughter is such a different child--very fearful of EVERY THING, very shy--I should have expected a harder time with her. Our first visit, when she was two, she screamed the ENTIRE VISIT, shouting "I WANT MY DADDY!!" over and over again. The only part of the dental visit that the dentist was able to complete was counting her teeth--which he did while her mouth was wide open in full scream mode. So, the next visit, I had my husband come along, and she was fine. So, I assumed that we had made progress, and let my husband off the hook for the next visit. . . and it was a repeat of "I WANT MY DADDY!!!" Damn. Anyway, she still hates going to the dentist but no longer cries (because she is THIRTEEN). Though she did cry when we went to the orthodontist and he said she would need braces. My life is a constant cycle of reassuring this child that the world is not out to do her in at every turn.

I wish I had thought of the box of Girl Scout cookie reward (for me post-visit, of course, not for her!!)


LOVE that kitchen!


Anon at 4:05 - my 8 year old had to have a filling recently and the dentist used gas to calm/relax him and she uses a laser instead of a drill!! It.was.awesome! He was always a bit neurotic about the dentist but has finally gotten better - he still complains about it but at least he doesn't cry anymore. And he said the filling was super easy. And he loved the gas. This tidbit goes for anyone out there with kids with dentist issues.

Amy - you are not alone! Mine are almost 9 and almost 6 and the appt in January was the first time no one cried.


I brought my son to the dentist a couple weeks ago. He sat on the chair when asked but moved as fast as I'd ever seen him (to the windowsill, LOL!) when the dentist moved the chair up. It was all downhill from there.

On another note, we brought him to kung fu. He spent the first class hiding under a chair... the second class, he spent half with his arms crossed and a mad look on his face. The second half, he actually participated! OMFG! So excited! Of course, I officially signed him up after that. Just have to see how it goes from here...


A dentist once told my adhd son to "shut up" because he talked too much, kicked my "now diagnosed) autism spectrum/anxiety/sensory issues son out of the exam room after wrangling with him for no more than 5 minutes and told me my kids were horribly behaved (they were 5 and 3 at the time). We complained, left, complained again to higher powers and by the following year he was gone and replaced with a dentist who is great with my kids and is a pleasure to see.


Really ? Both at the same time...I...I would need a VACATION, not just cookies after that. A vacation with an OPEN BAR.

And Aleks- Congratulations on having enough restraint to not just flat-out deck that dentist! What a total ASS!


Absolutely not for sensational effect, I waited so long to handle the dentist I literally feared CPS would cuff me at the door. Cannot tell you how much I loathed hearing, "There is no rhyme or reason to it." One daughter, the hyper-vigilant one, had multiple cavities, the second daughter who could give a rip, has indestructible teeth.

Teeth, man, tough stuff. The 3rd will throw all logic to the wind.


The appointment sounds like a nightmare...not that the kids did anything wrong but just a general no fun time.

And, OMG, those are the cutest pictures evah!

Bad Teeth

Man, I hate my teeth.


Your post reflects the countless mothers who share the same feelings that you have whenever you bring your child to the dentist. This is really interesting and I will surely be visiting this site from now on.


My kid with a sensory disorder needed his first cavity filled a couple of weeks ago.

All things considered he was really brave. I, on the other hand, took three days to recover.


I'm a bad mother. Maxx is almost 7 and hasn't been to the dentist yet.

But seriously? We have no dental plan and no local dentists that regularly deal with special needs kids. So the thought of taking my anxiously attached, sensory fragile, hyper shy FAS child to a STRANGER who will get up in his FACE and try to put his HANDS in his MOUTH and who will probably just get all frustrated, impatient and demanding with my boy and who will accomplish nothing and still charge us for it is just totally out of the question.

We are working on another attempt at an eye exam this month, though. We've tried it before - no one but us and his teachers can see the asymmetry in his eye because he won't LOOK at anyone.



One thing that might (maybe) help Noah next time is wearing sunglasses (if he will wear sunglasses) because it makes the whole office experience a lot more "chill." The light intensity of a dentist's office--you know, so the dentist can actually SEE--can really set people on edge.


OMG I can so relate! I have not been back in a year and a half because it was so traumatic for me!!! I have never heard my son shriek like he did during the exam and I was horrified and mortified all at the same time. I know we have to go back but oh my goodness I am DREADING it! And our ped. dentist deals with special needs kids too. He was wonderful in spite of my son's and my tears.


Amy, this is a little off-topic, but I wonder if you watch the TV show "Parenthood"? If so, what did you think about how Adam and Christina handled the Asperger's discussion with Max? (Both the first and second attempts.)

By the way -- loved this post, and I hope you enjoyed those Girl Scout cookies -- you deserve it!


Hola! Yep, the dentist is a nightmare. It doesn't get any easier, either. The older they are, the higher the bill! I've always taken both of my kids at the same time, too. It usually works out okay!


You are a brave woman.

Also, those pics kill me with their cute powers. So... what are your feelings on arranged marriages? My daughter, Mary, is 2 months older than Ezra and in my opinion, just as cute. I'll throw in a few goats and a slightly used Bop It. Deal?


Love that song! Great reference ;)

It's nice to know someone else out there had the weird adult teeth growing in the wrong way/place. I had two growing in the ROOF OF MY MOUTH. Lovely. The accompanying surgery is only one of 2 bazillion reasons I hate going to the dentist. I've already told my husband that HE will be the one taking the kids when it's time.

You totally deserved those cookies.


Little Joe pretty much always throws up on the dentist, so, yeah, I can feel your pain about pediatric oral hygeine struggles.


my 9 yr old nephew always pukes on the dentist! He usually has the first appointment in the morning and the dentist has informed him, no Lucky Charms before his appointment!


Okay, so I have 3 boys. The first two flipped the f out at the dentist the first 2- 3 times I took them. To the point that when I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd? The first thoughts that entered my mind were- Oh my hell, I have to potty train another one AND take it to the dentist??? True story. However that 3rd one, LOVED going to the dentist. Never flipped out once. I wish the same for you and your 3rd boy. :)


I quake with fear when thinking of taking our daughter to the dentist. I'm pretty sure she'll react like Noah, but for a different reason. She is Ethiopian and has had her uvula clipped (a common practice there for children who have a lot of fevers). I think I'd try to make an escape from anyone approaching my mouth if I'd had that done, too. Originally I was wondering how soon we'd be able to get her into the dentist since she was already 3 1/2 and hadn't had any dental exams, and now I'm wondering how long I can put it off. 'Til college?


Hi. I couldn't post on your most recent post about ADD and Noah but I wanted to say how much it meant to me. It made me bawl because it's exactly what we've gone through with our almost five-year old for the last six months. A school that was not right for him with a rigid director started us on the track of thinking he had ADHD and that there was something wrong with him. We were pressured into trying Ritalin and then Tenex neither of which worked but turned our sweet boy into either an angry/violent boy or a sleepy/groggy boy. He is now on homeopathic supplements and no prescription drugs and he's doing well. Does he still have focus issues and impulse control? Yes! But we're hoping with time he will improve. The last six months were a nightmare with exactly the same things as what you posted about...our son doesn't do well at karate because he can't focus on the instructions and then he gets discouraged and gives up, he doesn't like soccer because he gets distracted and never gets a goal, he can't seem to not touch things that he knows he's not supposed to (he would be Noah on that bus too), he rushes throw art and school projects, and that's just the beginning. I know the frustration, the pain, the anger of trying to figure it all out. I don't have any magical answers but if you ever are interested in what supplements my son is on just email me. He also started seeing a chiropractor six months ago and is doing a therapy called listening therapy that I can also email details on. I think our next step if his focus doesn't improve is removing all dairy and gluten and see what effect that has. Lots of hugs and good luck being sent your way, I've been there!


Couldn't comment on the ADHD post but wanted to reassure you. I was diagnosed with ADHD minus the hyperactivity last year as a 30-yr old, when I found a lot of my personality "quirks" were really symptoms of the disorder. I'm fortunate in that it's fairly mild - I did well in school. But it's been really difficult as an adult - forcing myself to do the boring stuff at work; controlling impulses like shopping or losing track of time. But it's a huge relief to know that I'm not lazy or have no self-discipline or inconsiderate. I used to think there was no way I had ADD because I can really focus in on things that interest me - but that's a characteristic too. I know Noah has a lot to deal with already but that fact that you're paying attention, that you're not dismissing this is huge. He'll grow up understanding what this is, how it affects him & you can give him the tools to deal with this early. It's not fair that he & you have this to deal with, but maybe the silver lining is that he will be a more compassionate person, more understanding of other's difficulties because of it. Wishing ya'll luck with the testing.


Hi Amy,

I know you closed comments on your ADD post because you don't want 4,000 bits of advice, but I wanted to add my two cents. Have you had Noah's hearing tested. My brother had some of the same behaviors when he was little. It turned out he COULDN'T HEAR instructions and rules and lessons. After my brother got his hearing aids, his behavior improved significantly. Sorry to add my assvice to the cacophony of "I know what you should do!" comments, but I thought it might be something to consider if you haven't thought of it. Good luck

Julie Smith

What a cute little one!

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