Today was an epic dental day for our little familia. One kid went to have two of his FOUR “abrasions” (aka cavities) cleaned and sealed, and my nearly six year old had a cleaning all while the dog was having his teeth cleaned. (and probably one infected tooth extracted)
That’s how it began. It ended with the dog not needing any of his remaining few removed, (we adopted him with only a half mouth of teeth due to some unknown injury) my son finished first for once, and my daughter was found to have SIX cavities. SIX!!!
Having never had a cavity myself, it was very hard not to react to the number 6. She isn’t even six years old, how does she have more cavities than years?!!
He showed me her X-Rays and truthfully, all I could see were dust speck sized areas on each tooth. It was explained her teeth are all right up on each other where most kids’ baby teeth have a little space. .. I think he was trying to make me feel better but simultaneously nailing me for not making her an avid flosser.
Driving home I tried holding it together. My daughter was unsure of how to feel about it all and my state of mind regarding the whole thing was not helping her. Total fail on my part. I wish so much I had been more supportive and proactive about it all. I was too disappointed and completely mad at myself to script a reaction.
We talked about how lately I have been very lax with it being the end of summer. No more sugary cereal and we are only going to be drinking milk or water. No exceptions. Juice and flavored waters seem to find their way into the fridge, and then into my kid’s cups regardless of my personal feelings and choices for what I want them to have. Debating with each of them daily over drinks is tiring enough, but it appears my energy for also fighting adults in the same house about it can be equally frustrating.
My daughter understandably began panicking and listing all the things this would mean she could never have again in her life.
We slowed the panic train down and I told her instead of thinking of all the things she was missing out on, instead to think about it like “I’m choosing to take care of my teeth and my body over eating/drinking junk food.”
I likened it to my not being able to eat lots of bread like I like and really missing it. Instead of feeling bad about it, I just started telling myself the choice is mine to do what’s right for my body and feel good about that rather than feeling deprived.
Who the hell knows if that sunk in or made sense. I was still reeling from my piss poor parenting job evidenced by 10 cavities sitting in the dentist office between two children all in the same day.
I had to also stop and talk to them about my reaction being disappointment in myself for not following up on them every morning with how they manage their teeth and not anger at them for what the dentist found.
… but really, I was kinda mad. Seriously, how many times does one have to harp on the importance of brushing and flossing twice a day?! In grasping at parenting point straws, I can at least say I never uttered a single “I told you so”.
Interestingly, I have a suspicion my husband does not feel 1/4 of the failure at parenting I am feeling at this moment. He just sort of shrugs his shoulders and is all about “let’s just move on and do better”. What is that like?
Perhaps the saddest moment was finding out that after coming home from the dentist, my daughter grabbed the little baggie of cocoa puffs she packed for our camping trip this weekend and threw them away. It is so hard not to tell her that it’s ok and we can go ahead and bring them. How hard that must have been for her! I cannot discount that ambition and just put that treat right back into her hands. … and that is the only reason I wont. If she can find will power at 5, my new mission – besides becoming a Floss Nazi – is to encourage and grow that characteristic I never had.