Quick bite tonight-- DEADLINES! They're screaming my name.
Squish and ZoomBoy went in to their dental checkups today. They have had the same dentists (a family-- mother, father, and their daughter, who is a little younger than I am) since they were small. We found these dentists when Big T was five, because he had nursing caries.
Yes, I know--put on your judgey faces. He was five, still drinking from a bottle at night, and he weighed a good 60-70 pounds. He was a pre-schooler as tall as your average fourth-grader, and that was the year his IEP read, "By the end of the year, we hope he only has one fall-down screaming tantrum per day." Of course, T BEING T exceeded all hopes in that way, and he only had one fall-down screaming tantrum per every two weeks by the end of that year, and they were almost completely extinct by Kindergarten, but the beginning of pre-school was rough. He was in a program the combined with HeadStart (a low income program that we qualified for at the time--Mate was still in school) and when my part-time teaching job turned to full time so we could get insurance and finally get him in to see a dentist...
Well, we had no idea where to begin.
So we looked up children's dentists on our health program-- and the first place was a complete bust.
"So," I said, trying not to sugar-coat things. "He's got special needs, and he's ginormous. He weighs 65 lbs, and he's as big as a fourth grader--"
"Not a problem."
"And he throws giant screaming fits. He's communicatively handicapped--you can't tell him to just stop. It doesn't work."
"We can handle it."
"He doesn't calm down at all--transitions are a nightmare. And he might need to be strapped down into a cradle board."
"Please tell me you believe in drugging minors."
"The dentists here are very good."
So we arrived, and waited an hour while I filled out paperwork. Then the dentist shows up to take T by the hand.
She is 5'1 and seven months pregnant.
I stare at her for a moment. "Did your receptionist tell you what our special needs are?" I ask delicately. "This could be a very physical thing."
"Well, let's just get him in the seat first."
"Okay, Big T, maybe--"
Imagine a fourth grader having a giant screaming flailing fit on the dentist chair.
While his mother and a tiny pregnant woman try to restrain him.
This was worse.
I finally pull him away, screaming. "What you need is a dentist for special needs children," she panted.
"I told your receptionist EVERYTHING!" I snapped. "That's what I thought you were!"
"You need someone licensed to give narcotics to children."
"THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT YOU WERE!"
"Well the only people who do that are in Roseville! Let the receptionist give you their number!"
I wasn't sure I could trust the receptionist to take a dump at this point, but she gave me the number for the dentists we have now.
They gave him a popsicle that put him out like a light, strapped him to a board, and filled in his teeth. And told me what a good boy he was, because he woke up and hardly cried at all.
So, yes. I love our dentist.
They were even sweet to me when Big T's tooth wouldn't fall out. They hate to charge us extra for that--most of the time, kids' teeth fall out on their own, but MY kids... well, T was in 6th grade (and the size of a high school student at this point) and he had one...last... tooth.
His adult tooth was already grown in, and this one just stuck out from his gum line like an enamel wart.
It was disgusting and distracting as hell.
I remember talking to his 4-6th grade teacher (Mr. Vianelle, bless his soul-- awesome guy!) He had just finished telling me that Big T was a wonderful student and an amazing young man, and T ran in, said something, and smiled. He ran out, and I looked at Mr. V and said, "Uh, you ever want to sit on his chest and yank that thing out?"
"Every damned day," said Mr. V--with intense feeling, I might add.
I really adored that teacher. Missed the hell out of him when T moved on.
And I'll miss this family dentist business when my kids move on from there too-- they're truly awesome. They believe in magic popsicles and toy surprises and in strapping a kid down when he's not gonna do it on his own.
And on being nice and enjoying watching your kids grow up.
Good dentists--they're a blessing.