Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dr. Aspes and The Sugar Bugs

Today was Cade's first trip to the dentist. I've heard plenty of horror stories from friends whose children have to be dragged kicking and screaming, or worse - sedated - into the dentist's chair, so I was amped for battle. Especially because it was an appointment for Cade. As my friend Amanda aptly put it today, "When Cade decides something's over, it's over." I knew there would be no sweet talking this boy back into the dental chair.

I started laying the groundwork several months ago when I took Cade with me for my last checkup. He sat quietly and patiently and watched my dentist poke around and then happily left with the booty that he charmed the hygienist into giving him - a Tigger toothbrush and a mini tube of toothpaste.

Aaron and I were both blessed with great teeth and are quite vain about them, so we make a big production of dental health in our family. The boys have toothbrushes in every bathroom for easy access, along with two kinds of paste - "too spicy" (which is what they call adult toothpaste) and "paste" (bubblegum flavored toddler toothpaste which they have now both abandoned in favor of too spicy). They brush twice a day (sometimes three if we happen to walk past a toothbrush and they get the urge to brush) and I brush after them to make sure the teeth are thoroughly cleaned because I'm pretty sure that the brushing process for them is all about the taste of the toothpaste.

A few months ago, they started battling me about brushing after them. Running away, gagging on the toothbrush, clamping their lips shut, you name it. So I did what any reasonable parent would do. I started screaming and yelping about the sugar bugs crawling out of their mouths. After that, they were quick to open up and let me brush around whenever I want to to be sure that the sugar bug extermination process has been completed satisfactorily. I realized this may not have been one of my finest parenting moments when a few weeks ago Cade noticed a dead fly in the dining room windowsill and commented that it was a "sugar bug that flew out of my mouth". Um, yeah.

Which brings us to today. The eagerly anticipated trip to see Dr. Aspes, who, coincidentally, just happens to be Julia Robert's childhood dentist. I felt confident we would be in good hands since she has turned her smile into a multi-million dollar industry in and of itself. I just hoped against hope that Cade would not have a meltdown that would get us permanently evicted from the office of Dr. Million Dollar Smile. As it turned out, I needn't have worried. The guy was a real pro. And my kid was an angel for once! Between the working traffic light and airplane propellers in the waiting room, the handheld games in the chairs, and the marble runs by the cashier/appointment desk, Cade thought he was at the Children's Museum. Half an hour later, we were pronounced cavity-free and sent on our way with a sparkly toothbrush, a mini tube of too spicy, and instructions to report back in 6 months. If only everything were this easy.

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