Friday, April 18, 2014

Tommy's #1 Enemy

Where to begin.......

When Tommy was around one year old, he fell and hit his tooth on a plastic storage bin. It chipped his tooth and eventually turned it brown. We took him to the dentist (which did NOT go well) and he said at that time, it was just a cosmetic problem and there wasn't any real damage to his tooth or nerve. As Tommy's teeth started getting bigger, the chip was less and less noticeable and the browness of it was pretty light. I was SO happy, because I hadn't wanted him to grown up with snaggly teeth, but also didn't want to pay a ton of money to fix a tooth that was going to fall out eventually anyways.

So we let it go.


About two months ago, I noticed that a large part of his tooth had chipped off further, making what was left of his tooth look very........hillbilly. He complained occasionally of tooth pain (although I was never sure if it was legitimate because Tessa happened to be getting new teeth at that time and God forbid she get attention for anything that he doesn't get it for). We scheduled a dentist appointment for both kids and they were scheduling a few weeks out. Then we got the first available date for Tessa's ear tube surgery and of course it was on the same day as the dentist appointments, so we had to reschedule another few weeks out.

Long story short, 1 1/2 months later, we finally made it to the dentist. I had my mom go with me because I had a gut instinct that it was NOT going to go well and I didn't want to have to wrestle Tommy and try to keep track of Tessa. I'd been prepping Tommy about going to the "tooth doctor" and how fun it was and how they had all kinds of neat tooth brushes. He would smile and get excited and laugh while we were talking about it.

And then we walked through their front door. And "it" started. The whining.....the fear....the uncertainty. I had a knot in my stomach the whole time because I just KNEW what was coming. I felt really bad because it was Tessa's first dentist appointment, but I was so focused on keeping Tommy from having a meltdown that I completely missed the fun of her seeing everything for the first time and getting to enjoy her experience. I didn't take one single picture of her the whole time. Mom fail.

Anyway, they called us back and Tessa sat in one chair with Nana while Tommy sat in the one right beside her. As soon as the nurse pulled out a toothbrush.....yes, just a regular, standard tooth brush.......Tommy was done. He clamped his mouth shut, wouldn't lay down, was NOT cooperating. I think I apologized to the nurse about 50 times in the first 15 minutes. We finally got him to just let her brush his teeth, but then she pulled out the electronic spinny toothbrush thing (I believe that's the technical term) and he fuh-LIPPED out. I think the phrases that came out of his mouth were, "Don't touch me, girl!" "Get your hands OFF me!" "I do NOT like dis!!" "Tell that lady to leave. Me. ALONE"


Even though I knew it was coming, I wasn't fully prepared for the frustration that comes with having "that" child. I knew people were staring but honestly, I think I've gotten to the point where I'm no longer embarrassed by outbursts. It was just making me frustrated that Tommy was acting like such a weenie (is it horrible to call my kid a weenie?) and we couldn't get done what we NEEDED to get done. I threatened no prizes, time out, calling daddy and no ice cream until the end of time, but he didn't care. I tried hugging, consoling, sweet talking, praying.........nothing.

She finally quit trying to clean his teeth and called the dentist over. It took all three of us to hold him down and the dentist managed to see his front tooth while Tommy was screaming at the top of his lungs. And he ordered an x-ray. And I was all, "Yeah, THAT will go over well." While we were waiting for the x-ray room, I was holding Tommy and trying to remember that while I was extremely frustrated, he was extremely scared. I was trying so hard to have compassion rather than annoyance. He kept hugging me and saying, "Why is this happening?" I had to keep myself from laughing and I think I actually said, "Son, if this is the hardest thing you go through in life, you're going to be a lucky man. We all have to do things we don't like at one point or another." He just stared at me with the eyes of a three year old that thinks his mom is crazy and started fake crying again.

The x-ray went about as well as the teeth cleaning. I had to hold him down on my lap and we both got covered with the heavy aprons. He yelled, "This thing is weird!! Get it off me!!" and was kicking and screaming the whole time. The nurse was trying to shove the thing you bite down on between his clamped down teeth and I was cursing Nick for getting out of taking Tommy to this appointment. After 5 minutes of literal blood, sweat and tears, we got the x-ray. The doctor said the tooth needed to be pulled because he was starting to show signs of infection. He gave us the option of pulling the tooth now or coming back another day. Pardon my French, but no way in hell was I going to bring my son back AGAIN and go through all this AGAIN. So I told the dentist to get 'er done.

The nurse put laughing gas on Tommy. It did absolutely nothing to calm him down. And the mask kept coming off his face, but the nurse didn't seem concerned about that. I appreciated her help but she was kind of rude and snippy towards the end. Granted, Tommy wasn't the ideal patient, but I would think that working in a pediatric DENTIST office, that's something that should be expected. Tommy was hysterical and I was almost crying--even if you know your kid is being unreasonable, it's still hard to see them that upset. With 5 people holding him down, the dentist gave him about 5 shots in his gum and then pulled out the worlds largest pair of pliers. I almost threw up. I looked away and he just ripped that tooth right out! In like, 5 seconds.

There was blood everywhere and they kept trying to shove those cotton pads in his mouth and he was saying, "Mommy! Dis feels funny! I don't like it!! MOOOOOOMMMMMYYYY!!!!" But it was over and I was SO glad. He ended up getting two prizes and was happy as could be that we were leaving. They gave him a big green plastic tooth to put under his pillow with his actual tooth inside it.
My sweet little three year old (turned temporarily insane due to his fear of.....everything) was back to himself in no time. But now I feel like he looks like a five year old with that gaping hole in the front of his mouth.
He was really grossed out by his tooth (so was I). He kept looking at it and saying, "Yuck!" and "What IS that?"

It was a super horrible, super traumatic, super frustrating experience for Tommy and I. Like, I'm already dreading his 6 month check up. But I'm trying not to think about it and praying that God gives him some kind of super bravery by then--it could happen, right?!
I was super excited though for his first experience with the tooth fairy. He wanted to write her a letter with instructions not to take the green tooth, just the white tooth inSIDE the green tooth. He was very worried she would be confused and take the whole thing. So he dictated this letter and I wrote it word for word.......
I will treasure this letter FOREVER. Take my tooth to the doctor and make a necklace out of it?!? Where do kids come up with this stuff? And he told me he thought the tooth fairy should leave him $5! Say whaaaaa?!? FIVE DOLLARS? And then everyone at work told me that was the standard!

So the tooth fairy decided that would be okay for the FIRST tooth. And then we she was going to go back to old-school...$1 at the most. What kid needs $5 for losing a tooth?

He was so excited when he woke up and saw his green tooth was still there and it had $5 in it!

It ALMOST made up for our horrible experience.

And now, when he's being naughty, I threaten to take him to the dentist and he straightens RIGHT up! ;) Just kidding.......kind of.

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