The following is adapted from my original column “Visiting the Dentist” published May 18, 2005 in the Daily Corinthian.
The Day We Were Banned From The Dentist
Okay, we weren’t really banned from the dentist, but we probably should have been! One thing I will never forget about having four kids, as what a challenge it was to take most or all of them on any kind of outing. The following is a recollection from a typical outing (in this case, it was the dentist’s office) for three of my four kids. Re-reading this memorable day, I laughed so hard I almost choked on my breakfast. I hope you enjoy it, too. (Without the choking part, of course). I will also advise to treasure these memories. Those crazy kids grow up way too fast and the laughter is just an echo far too soon. Enjoy:
It has been a while since I had nearly my entire gaggle of children with me in one public place. There is good reason for this as many will attest. They are an unruly bunch and age has not changed that. It’s just some of the antics are more outrageous and, even more frightening, they are also carefully thought out. My children scare me. I never know what they will say or do.
For instance, Dr. Vicki Gann’s office was brave enough to handle three of my four children on the same morning about a week ago. I arrived with Whitney (17); Samantha (15); and Jordan (10). Things were going along well because we had arrived in the morning hours. I had hoped that, because it was so early, and the kids were too dazed and sleepy to cause much trouble.
I was so very wrong.
We were sitting quietly, very quietly, in the waiting room. For several minutes, there were no sounds but some faint rustlings caused by the movement of my increasingly restless brood.
After a few moments, I noticed Whitney was wriggling in her seat. She squeezed her arms against her sides, whispered to Samantha, and shrugged her shoulders up and down repeatedly. She and Samantha burst into laughter.
“Okay, what’s so funny?” I asked, dreading the answer.
“Have you ever noticed that Wal-Mart underwire bras creak when you move? If it’s quiet enough you can hear it,” Whitney answered.
Actually, I have observed this phenomena before, (it had brought me several seconds of joyful entertainment one day when I was bored) but I did not care to discuss this in a dentist’s office!
Samantha and Whitney then proceeded to do the up-and-down shoulder thing. Yep, they creak. Again, they burst into peals of laughter. I sighed.
Finally, an eternity later, the kids were called back. Jordan only had sealants put on his teeth. He came back out first with a new toy he had picked out for “being good.” It was a Styrofoam airplane and he proceeded to put it together as we continued to wait on his sisters.
After several more minutes had passed, Jordan spent his time sailing his airplane across the waiting room. It flew surprisingly well for giveaway toy. It even had a little propeller that spun as it flew. The successful flights of the little plane excited Jordan and he got more aggressive. The plane had a hard little nose piece for balance and it could be heard hitting the waiting room walls every once in a while.
“Jordan, calm down!” I hissed.
Samantha came out. She’d had a couple of fillings done. One on each side … so both sides of her tongue was numb. These were the first cavities she had ever had so she was not used to the “fat lip” illusion.
“Mom, doeth my faith look fat?”
“Huh?” I realized her tongue was numb and it made her sound like Sylvester the Looney Toons cat. “Oh. No, dear. It just feels that way.”
She kept feeling her face. “It thur doeth feel fat.”
Jordan sailed his plane and hit Samantha with it. Samantha’s outrage was disarmed by the fact that her words sounded wet and mushy. “Shordan! Thop it!”
Jordan thought this was funny. He threw his plane again then ran in the small space to catch it. He ended up falling on the little plane.
Like any good sister, Samantha ridiculed him for it. “Way to go, shenius.”
He repaired the plane as best he could but it refused to fly straight after that. It hit walls, pictures, people … After it had been damaged a few more times, he finally gave up.
Samantha decided she wanted a prize for being good and Jordan asked the receptionist if he could pick out a present for his sister. He was allowed to pick it out and he came back with an outrageously gaudy plastic ring with a sapphire blue stone.
Samantha tried it on. “Thith ith neat. I think I like it.”
Whitney’s procedure took a while as the dentist had to work on a difficult tooth. She emerged from the dentist’s chair without her sense of humor.
I was grateful when we were told we were ready to go.
I keep trying to tell myself to enjoy these times while I can. One day, visiting the dentist will not be nearly as entertaining. I also highly recommend asking for a prize afterward.
(L.A. Story is a fiction writer and poet. She is a resident of Glen where bras are regularly tested for special sound effects. Her blog posts appears somewhere AROUND Wednesdays.)