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The Inevitable Zag

As in, just when you expect them to zig...

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They zag. In the most dramatic, bone-meltingly way possible.

I took Noah and Ezra to the dentist this morning — usually I only attempt one child at a time due to my lack of seventeen arms and super-human strength, but thanks to some scheduling weirdness the boys ended up with back-to-back appointments.

But last time things went pretty well, and everybody knows that things like childhood visits to the dentist always move in a logically linear, upward, it-can-only-get-better-from-here direction. Right?


Monsters. Both of them. Boys, I adore you both and am no big fan of the dentist myself but MY HEAVENLY WORD, you were completely ridiculous today.  And are maybe kind of lucky that I did not abandon ship at some point during HOUR TWO of the x-ray protest and leave you there. 

There was a Chipotle like, two minutes down the road. Don't think I wasn't tempted. 

Ezra, being three-and-three-quarters, basically behaved like he was three-and-three-quarters. Everything was suspicious and he refused to cooperate and kicked and thrashed around while the hygienist calmly completed the cleaning like it was no big deal. Sure, I will willingly stick my fingers in the mouth of this small raging helldemon. Do it all the time, whatever.

Noah. On the other hand. *presses temples with fingers, scrunches eyes into permanent wrinkles*

I think Noah kind of...broke her, a little bit. (And yes, this is a practice that specializes in special needs.) He kind of broke ME. At one point the hygienist excused herself (probably to take a breather, as I assume throttling your patients is probably looked down on in the dentistry field) and I put my head in my hands and sighed. 

"Are you sad, Mom?" he asked.

Oh, God, child. I sighed again and admitted that I was a little disappointed in him, and embarrassed over his behavior, even though I really understood that this wasn't fun for him. But he needed to sit and get the x-ray done, and that was all there was to it, and I couldn't change anything about it, and we couldn't leave until he agreed. So please, buddy. PLEASE. JUST LET THEM TAKE THE PICTURE IT WILL TAKE THREE SECONDS I PROMISE.

"NO! I DON'T LIKE YOU." he screamed, and took off down the hall. 

(I should note that this was NOT his first-ever dental x-ray, and that the last time he had one done he behaved ABSOLUTELY IMPECCABLY. Because. I. Just.)


Eventually I simply picked him up, sat down in the chair myself, wiggled a protective cape on underneath his protesting, crazy-strong 50-pound body, and locked him in a full-body death grip while the hygienist slapped another cape on him and finally, FINALLY got him to open his mouth and bite down on the film.


But hey! No cavities for either of them! So we're good for another six months. Except for Noah, who has to go back in three for a panoramic x-ray.

(He's got an adult tooth that's refusing to cut through, probably because there's not enough space. Which I had too! Which lead to this story. Which is something you probably DO NOT want to read about and oh God, OH GOD if Noah has to go through what I did I would just like to go ahead and quit life right now. Or scream "NOT IT!" and make Jason take him to the appointment while I weep at a nearby Chipotle,)

"That x-ray isn't nearly so bad," the dentist assured me. "We could do it today but I think...I think we've all had enough for one day." 

Speak for yourself, man. Imma take these kids out for extra immunizations and tattoos this afternoon, just for kicks. Maybe after that I'll stick thermometers in their ears while force-feeding them brussels sprouts. 




I was figuring your linked story would be something like mine, where I had to get 13 teeth pulled because the baby ones refused to come out and there wasn't even enough room for the all the adult teeth so 4 of those got pulled, too.

All that is to say, I very ill-advisedly clicked over and NO, NO, OMG, WHY DID I HAVE TO SEE THAT????


I...oh...ouch. There are no words and I'm sorry doesn't come anywhere close.

I think we all would be weeping with you at Chipotle because yowza.

Thrift Store Mama

Oh dear, I'm so sad for you that this happened. We've had successful visits at the dentist and non-successful visits. I think you have to figure out whether the presence of a sibling will comfort a child or make them more emotional. For my two, they feed off of each other's hysteria so it's easier to take them to stressful situations (lab work or for immunizations) by themselves.


They're really just acting the way we wall wish we could when we have to see the dentist. I'm a little jealous they can get away with it. Kids, so lucky sometimes.
So would you recommend your practice? Looking for somewhere in Montgomery County to take my two-year-old for his first check up.


I know this was seriously no fun for you, but the last two paragraphs really cracked me up.


My oldest, who was/is so Noah at that age, had to have braces at age 8. In addition to (or because of whothehellknows) having SPD, he has the WORLD'S MOST SENSITIVE GAG REFLEX. So you can imagine how unfun the orthodontist office was -- for the THREE YEARS it took to correct his crossbite.

At one point, we got a new hygienist, who took one look at his chart and said, "I don't think this is right. This says he gets a nitrous dose that would knock down a grown man. I'm going to ask the doctor." Two minutes later she comes back and says, "He said they give him that dose because they CAN'T give him anymore," and I laughed and laughed. Because, yeah. You're still going to get puked on, honey. That dose is to keep the fighting down to a dull roar.

If I liked Chipotle, I'd be there weeping with you.


meh. i sit on my kid all the time. seriously. i do.


meh. i sit on my kid all the time. seriously. i do.


I... have nothing to say about the dentist, because my daughter is all weird and LOVES going to the dentist. Like, gets excited. But... I do have something to say kind of about Chipotle. Get in your car and go to District Taco - the original is in Arlington, but I hear there is now one in the district, too. I used to be a Chipotle devotee. Now? I swear there is crack sprinkled on the food at District Taco - maybe in the sour cream? It puts Chipotle to shame.


Call me a bad mama, but this is why I didn't take my kids to the dentist until they were in kindergarten. No cavities yet, so I must not have done irreparable damage


So weird about your chain/tooth story because I had the same thing!! Only my chain came off without the bracket. But we still had to do the whole surgery again. Gah...I seriously hope dental technology has changed because that ordeal sucked. A lot. As you already know.


After back-to-back ear thermometer/immunization hell the last few days, I so appreciated this post.


@maura Yes! It's a very good practice. Kids Teeth Llc in Rockville.

Today's...unpleasantness was just one of those things. (Next appointments will be SOLO AFFAIRS so they can't feed off each other or whatever the hell was going on.)


Living the dream. Living. The. Dream.


I will admit to having been a dental wuss. It wasn't until that I was 16 and had all 4 wisdom teeth pulled, was scheduled for only 2, hadn't been numbed on the other side, and the dentist thought I was just "jumpy." Afterward, as he removed his knee from my stomach where he'd had to hold me to get to me stay in the chair, when I told him why I was trying to get out of the chair -- PAIN, MOTHERFUCKER! -- he said, Seriously? No one numbed that side? You took that well. I said fucker but it sounded like bubble and to this day I am pissed that my last word to him sounded like bubble and now I want a drink and Chipotle and to scream and yell I DON'T LIKE YOU for making me relive this.

Separately, I had Chipotle for lunch today. There's a new one at Eastern Market. Meh. They need more people.


Oooh, and while you're at it, trim all three kids' fingernails and toenails. For kicks, like, literal kicks.

Becca Lynn

I haven't attempted to take Midget to the dentist yet. She fights PICTURES. She fights EVERYTHING with EVERY OUNCE IN HER TINY LITTLE BODY.

And we're sure quitting isn't an option? Okay then. I'm gonna need a LOT more vodka. Jus' sayin'.


My daughter was (is) very high-drama (now 15, so duh. Obvious drama!) What you are describing? Imagine it was an enema. Because said 4 year old refused to poop for 6 days. Just because. I tried pinning her down, that didn't work. Finally the nurse gave up on us, handed me the home enema kit and wished me well. The glares as we left the Urgent Care and walked through the waiting room? Because they were pretty sure a child was coming out with a foot sawed off, based on the incredible screaming they'd been listening to for 20 minutes....And i was crying. We also had a similar dentist visit but it involved pulling teeth. He thought he was going to put a needle in her arm and I was like, "Dude, are you serious? You wanna try to get a vain on this flailing kid? Get the GAS!" She proceeded to refuse to breath through her nose so she couldn't inhale the gas. Oh, that child...


Oh lordy, so sorry. I hate days like that. (But if it's any consolation it made a great blog post!)


Oh, honey. I'm sorry. No matter the underlying reasons, those days are just so hard. I like ("like") to come home, burst into tears and pour a glass (or seven) of wine.


Long time reader and infrequent commenter, here.

I work in a dentist's office that specializes in pediatrics (vague veil of internet anonymity BE LIFTED!,) and trust me when I say this: what happened with your kids today is perfectly NORMAL. I know it was a hard experience for everyone involved, but please please please don't beat yourself up about it.

We deal with behavior issues every day from every kind of kid imaginable. You know why? That shit is scary! Yeah, we try to make it into a fun tooth counting game, but in the end, it's still about a virtual stranger invading a tiny person's personal space to invade their mouth with shiny, pointy, threatening looking things.

That being said, we have found that it's better to schedule appointments for these kind of patients super early in the morning--like as soon as the doors open--so that they don't have a whole lot of time to think about it and get worked up. If Noah learns visually, Google "pediatric bitewing x-rays" before your next visit and let him look at pictures of other kids' teeth. That might get him used to the idea that everyone gets their picture taken and it's the cool thing to do.

I hope you have a better experience next time. If you ever have any toothy question goodness, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. I'm passionate about my work, and um, I like to talk about it. A lot. Obviously.


One of my adult canine teeth was impacted on the roof of my mouth - so they pulled the baby tooth and did the bracket and chain to pull the tooth from the roof of my mouth into where it was supposed to be. This took about 2 years. At one point in this process, they let the gum on the roof of my mouth grow over the chain and bracket because they were working on other things, so I had to go to an oral surgeon again, except this time they didn't knock me out, they just gave me Novocaine and then removed the gum from over the tooth.


Dear God. Why didn't they offer to sedate YOU? That's just poor hospitality, right there! My mother said that when I had my tonsils out, it took a doctor, two nurses, and an intern to hold my little ass down, just to give me a shot. (Yep, I made those bitches EARN their money that day.) When my sister had her tonsils out, the hospital had to call my mom to tell her that they seemed to have misplaced her daughter. They'd looked for hours and couldn't find her anywhere. She was hiding in a closet, listening to their frantic search. Why? Because they wouldn't let her watch cartoons, that's why. At the time, I was four, and Kelly was three. We have not improved with age; we still don't know how to act right.


Long time listener, first or second time daughter is perhaps the worst dental patient ever. At age 4 she spit in the hygienist's face, while I pinned down kicking legs and an assistant pinned her arms. The dentist's office requires two hygienists for her at each appointment, even now, at age 8. They LOVE it when we come in. Ha! She is still a total dental phobe, but in her defense, she has had to have a lot of work done, teeth that fell out in an accident, spacers to hold the missing spots (that fall/ get yanked out), etc. And you know what? It is still is terribly traumatizing for me. I always work up a sweat taking this kid in. Her dentist swears that she was a worse patient as a kid, and that my girl will grow up to be a pediatric dentist!


I've been in that position, where you know that someone got home from work and was telling their significant other about their day and it was all about you and your kid. But in a day or two, it's going to be about someone else's kid and you'll be a distant memory.

If it helps, I had a hygienist walk out to take some deep breaths on ME when I kept gagging during the Xrays and ruining them. And I'm 40.


Hey, this sounds awful. I am wondering when you are supposed to take your kid for the first dental visit? My boy is 18 months. Not looking forward to it:P


hahahahaha...been there done that...a stiff drinks is usually in order after a visit to the dentist. We went through a spell with our boys were I made my husband take them to the dentist. I was a basket case after one appointment so I called him on the way home and basically said "I'm not taking them ever again!" I do take them now.


I have been there too. The dentist is the worst thing we do. Last time I took him they gave me a Valium to give him before we got in the car. Surprise! It had the opposite effect and made him even worse!! They said next time they are giving him Versed to knock him out. I think they were half way kidding but I told them I was totally fine with this idea!!


We got to the same practice and I simply don't go anymore. I send my husband. Who isn't quite sure why I refuse to go anymore because the kid has been an angel for him. (Also, I think they are using twice as much laughing gas as they should because he is totally drugged out of his mind when he gets home...) Which reminds me that we have a checkup scheduled. I need to make sure my husband is taking the day off for this.

(In other words, I totally feel for you. Don't forget the Krispy Kreme is right down the road too...)

Plano Mom

Yep. And my kid doesn't have any "special needs." I will admit to you that I have fantasized of doing it my Grandmas way many times. (Grab them firmly by the earlobe and twist until they say Uncle. Then let them know the spanking they would get would hurt a lot more.)


LMAO - the last line for me just sums it all up! Motherhood really is a total mind F@&k eh? I get it ... I totally get it. I got three just like you, but the youngest is a girl.. and all three are just about one year older than yours.. all with something SPECIAL about them. I love special, I love my kids ... but I also love to drink! lol
Sometimes it is just nice to share and realize we are not the only ones with these 'wonderful' memories... and some day at the Christmas dinner table when we are looking at our adorable Grandchildren we will start to tell stories of "when your father was younger...".

Amy - have a glass of wine for me ;-)


LMAO - the last line for me just sums it all up! Motherhood really is a total mind F@&k eh? I get it ... I totally get it. I got three just like you, but the youngest is a girl.. and all three are just about one year older than yours.. all with something SPECIAL about them. I love special, I love my kids ... but I also love to drink! lol
Sometimes it is just nice to share and realize we are not the only ones with these 'wonderful' memories... and some day at the Christmas dinner table when we are looking at our adorable Grandchildren we will start to tell stories of "when your father was younger...".

Amy - have a glass of wine for me ;-)


I had a horrible day today with my 2 kids. The morning was fine. It was hell in the afternoon. Your post made me least yours behaved badly at the dentist! Sigh...drinking a glass of wine now....motherhood IS such a rush isn't it.

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