My poor son was cursed with an aversion to overly loud, bright, stimulating, uncomfortable situations. So much so he nearly has an anxiety attack when it’s time to buckle down and get ‘er done. This is combined with a need for early intervention for his mouth.

A Molotov cocktail

Each time we go to the orthodontist, it’s a pep talk. A barrage of nervous shaky questions about what they’re going to do, simply ending in a refusal to cooperate. Regardless of the procedure. They could be putting licorice in his mouth, and the fact that he has to lay back in that chair, arms down, defenseless, bright lights shining down, a chair that moves, strange faces near his own sticking unknown objects – some of which look sharp and scary – into his mouth does not matter. He will not do it willingly. At least not after at least five rounds and eight impatient exhalations from whomever is around trying to help.

Today we simply had to get his wires changed.

The boy has four braces. FOUR. No more than that. It’s two wires that needed to be switched out. These wires are held on by small colored rubber bands. Because it’s all small, the asst needed to use ‘the hook’ to take them off. Regardless of the reason, he was not having it.

This is the second thing in three days i’ve watched the people working with him give it all they had. First it was the lady cutting his hair on Saturday.

My kid comes at situations seeming inquisitive. Don’t fall for it! It’s a scam. He’s trying to find the scary thing or unsure thing in the mix that he can agonize over.

The boy has been getting haircuts regularly since 6 months of age. He’s a human Chia Pet. By now i had hoped it would be easy. We’ve just now graduated to letting the stylist use the blow dryer to get all the hairs off when the cut is over.

He’s 7, people. 6.5 years of training and he’s finally able to allow the blow dryer near him… for .5 seconds.

So when he goes in for these types of things, the people helping him are always open at first. They see an inquisitive, bright blue eyed boy who seems very smart and articulate – except for the metal in his mouth making him sound like he’s balancing marbles on his tongue – and they are tickled to be able to answer aaaaaaall his questions.

Then he finds the chink in the armor and begins asking about the one thing over and over again.

The person still hangs in there with him and tries different approaches to answer the same question. With the haircut, it was the buzzer. He knows it’s not loud, but he decided to harp on this subject with her. She took the end off, let him feel it. She showed him all the attachments, she let him feel the difference between the big one and the small one… he had her. She was reeled in. I saw that familiar gleam in her eye where she felt she got through and made a difference.

Then she went that extra mile and offered to set the timer so he’d know when she was done. He kept asking how much longer, so she logically thought this would work.

“Is it loud? When it rings, will i jump? How loud is it?”

And that was her breaking point.

“It’s a bell, boy, doesn’t your mom use a timer at home??”

Yes, but this is not MY timer. I use the microwave timer because it’s a pleasant ‘beep beeeep beeeeeep’ not an obnoxious alarm clock bell.

I just sat back and watched. She was very pleased with how she handled him up ’til this point. Then the impatience got to her. She wasn’t rude, she wasn’t mean, just ‘short’. She didn’t go out of her way out of wanting the challenge of making a difference. She was going out of her way to get him to stop questioning everything she did and to hush up.

I felt a little validation in that moment.

He rattles people when they hit their wall with him. It’s nice to know i’m not crazy. Well… i am crazy, but i’m not alone in the Gage-induced-craziness.

It happened with the orthodontist assistant today. She was patient and soft-spoken. I stayed in the waiting room to begin with to see if it made a difference.

It didn’t.

I heard her quiet voice raise a bit after nearly ten minutes of having him in the chair and getting nothing accomplished. I peeked back to see her look up with a relived sigh and instantly include me in the plan. “Oh look, maybe your mom can come in and help hold your hands down!”


I feel very bad for him, but a part of me wants him to grow out of it. I keep waiting for that to happen, and it just doesn’t. It didn’t help that this was our very early morning after a sleepless night due to his bad dream.

He came and woke me up at 4am to tell me he had a bad dream and needed his light on.
“Fine. Turn it on.”
“Can you cover me up, too?”
“you have to cover yourself up, buddy. you’re 7. Figure it out.”
kicking and yelling
I am not awake or rested enough to deal with this lovingly. Sue me.

I cover him up, turn on the music.

30 minutes later he’s back in my room trying to inch into my bed.
“Back to bed.””Can i watch a movie to get my mind off my dream?”
“No. Go back to sleep.”

More bargaining, more fits. I ended it telling him to have his light on however he wanted, music is on, now go to sleep. “And by the way, my door will be locked, so don’t bother trying to come in.”

I had an odd mixture of relief and expectation upon doing this. I have never locked my door at night and don’t plan to again, but if you give this kid an inch, he will jump, dance, roll and somersault all over you. and you know what? he didn’t even try. He actually went back to sleep. So much so, that when it was time to rouse him at 7 o’clock from a peaceful sleep, i felt a little evil giddiness. “I want to sleeeeeeep, mom!” “OOOh, you want to sleep and someone is waking you up ?!!? What does that feel like, son? I have NO idea.”

And now we get to figure out how we are going to get all the metal OUT of his mouth when he’s done with the expanders in November. They have already asked me to have him tranquilized by the dentist first.
God help us all

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