On Friday night, Motorbike Man and I were rushing to pick up Spiderboy from school so we could watch his final ballet class of the term. As I was getting him changed, he smiled a toothy grin at me in answer to a question about his day and I noticed a gap in his front teeth - one that definitely wasn't there when I dropped him off that morning! I was aghast - how and when did this happen?! He calmly told me that his tooth had come out that day at school...I was beside myself, holding him by the shoulders so he looked me right in the eye, to ask him what happened. Again he repeated that he his tooth had come out. I could tell by the twinkle in his eye, the one he usually gets when telling me a non-truth, that there was more to this.
"It's in my bag mummy, wrapped up in tissue paper". I made a grab for his bag and rifled through like a woman on a mission. What was going through my head? The simple question of "How on earth could I have missed a huge milestone like this one"? Losing his first tooth...I still had the pattern I was going to sew for the Toothfairy Cushion I was going to make. Of course I hadn't gottten around to it - it was far too early...he has 5 years old for goodness sake! Arghhh...!!!
I dug inside his bag and found a piece of toilet paper which I carefully unwrapped. Inside, I found the tiniest little tooth, root and all, nestled inside. I wanted to burst into tears right there and then. MM couldn't quite understand why I was acting so strange. It was no doubt exacerbated by me going away on my first girly weekend away from my babies in just 45 minutes time - I was so unprepared for this! Whilst MM finished getting Spiderboy changed, I rushed to find his teacher. She told me that she had seen him fiddling with it and he had pulled it out...and there was a *lot* of blood! She had rinsed his mouth (was there anything else she should have done?...bloody hell, these newly qualified teachers!)...and calmed him down, as he was apparently screaming in agony, with promises of the tooth fairy visiting that night.
All through his ballet performance, he poked and wriggled his tongue through the hole as I watched him, sometimes mouthing at me "it hurts mummy!" With a swift chat about why he shouldn't pull teeth out if they weren't ready, I was dropped at the train station feeling like a failure while MM and the kiddos headed home for Movie Night.
To make up for my apparent abandonment, I called up on Monday morning for an appointment with the dentist. I was concerned that his pulling out of the tooth (I was pretty sure it wasn't wobbly) had caused damage, and wanted to make sure everything was as it should be. I got an appointment the next day.
Which leads us to today. We headed to the dentist this afternoon, with Spiderboy fully aware that we were going to ensure his mouth was OK after he had lost a tooth and not in the slightest bit concerned.
After a brief wait, we were called in. I quickly told both children to wait there while I spoke to the dentist. A pleasant lady, I have dealt with before for both mine and the children's teeth, I expressed concern that he had pulled the tooth out before it was ready and that I not only wanted her to check everything was OK, but suggested she could perhaps talk to him about not pulling teeth out before they were ready. I specifically asked if she had experienced this before (i.e. a child pulling their teeth out when not wobbly) and was met with a "well, lets take a look, shall we?"
I called the children into the room and Spiderboy hopped up into the chair. He wasn't nervous in any way, and was quite happy to open his mouth wide while she looked into it. The dentist recited information to her assistant, which let me know that the tooth next to the one that had come out was "also" wobbly. She then asked her assistant to prepare a fluid and a sealant, not once talking to me and letting me know anything. The dentist then briefly told me she was going to fill a tooth (one that she had been watching since last time we visited) and at that point, I came over to the chair and knelt down beside Spiderboy. I held his hands and told him what was happening, as I try to do in every walk of life - especially when something is happening directly to him.
"You see the stick the lady has in your mouth? That has a mirror on so she can see your teeth at the back. There is a little hole in your tooth, and the dentist is going to put some cream in there to make it better for you" I said.
Before I had even finished the sentence, she had already squeezed in the filling and Spiderboy clearly felt some discomfort, as he gripped my hands and cried out.
"OK, mummy needs to stop talking now" she said. Why? Why did I need to stop telling my child what was happening to him?
"Next time, I'm going to have to ask you to wait in the chair" (on the otherside of the room).
"Sorry?" I was confused. Why was comforting my child viewed as a bad thing? "If my child is in distress or discomfort, I will comfort him" I replied.
"Trust me" I was told, "I've been doing this for many years. Its better if you wait over there".
She then muttered something under her breath and Spiderboy was dismissed from the chair.
I asked her what had happened and why, and she explained everything fully...at that point. But I walked out there with a very uncomfortable feeling - not anger but a rather bewilderment. Why was I not able to sit with and comfort my child? Why was this viewed as a negative? But also, why was a procedure carried out on my child without even a cursory glance in my direction? What, because you are the professional you know best?
He is MY child, and I will make the decisions as to what is best for him. Of course I would have agreed to the filling but the utter disregard for my feelings or even presence, astounded me.
Have you ever experienced anything like this?