I took my kids to the dentist the other day. Things didn’t go quite as I had planned….
Once upon a time there was a farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
“Maybe,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“Maybe,” said the farmer.
I took my kids to the dentist the other day. Normally these visits are very short and go very well. This time, however, things didn’t go quite as I had planned.
Turns out, BOTH of my kids have cavities on their baby teeth.
I felt blindsided. I never had any cavities growing up. I never flossed and I brushed my teeth only very irregularly as I remember. I don’t know if I was just lucky or if X-ray equipment has gotten a lot better, but I always just assumed my kids would be the same. Yuck!
I went through the usual stages of parental bad news:
Denial – No! This can’t be happening. All those nights of haranguing the kids to brush their teeth and this is what I get?
Guilt – Oh my gosh! WHY didn’t I make them brush AND floss twice a day?
Shame – The dentist must think I am a terrible parent. Can she report me to CPS for not forcing them to floss? (I know I should, but it’s all I can do to get them to brush. I just can’t bear the fight over flossing too.)
Acceptance – Okay. What’s it gonna cost and how soon can we get it done?
It wasn’t until we got home from the dentist and I was walking into the house that I saw the silver lining on this dark cloud of plaque.
Maybe getting a filling on their baby teeth – the sharp needle full of Novocaine, the weird sensation of not being able to feel your mouth, the uncomfortable feeling of a drill boring a hole in your tooth, and the residual pain of the procedure – will be all the incentive they need to do anything they can to avoid another cavity.
Maybe I’ll may never have to say, “BRUSH YOUR TEETH OR NO TREATS TOMORROW!” again.
Maybe they will take charge of their own dental hygiene from now on.
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