First things, first. My kids are not whiners. Okay, so we do have a bit of “She did that,” “He looked at me!” BUT they don’t whine about the big things. We play a game at dinner called “Rose and Thorn” in an attempt to get the kids to talk about their days to us. Your “rose” could be anything good, and then of course, your “thorn” is the frustrating/bad thing. Simple. Except, my son never has any thorns. Never. I’ve tried to point out things to him that could be considered thorns, like how he said he didn’t get to play four-square at recess, or that he and his sister had a big argument that ended with solitary cooling off in their rooms. He listens and nods, and then says, “No, I don’t have any thorns.”
My daughter is also not a whiner, but like me, she dwells and holds onto small slights for a looooong time. “What was your thorn today, honey?” “Zero thorns! ‘Cept that Alice was naughty that one time at ‘chool.” “You mean when she put rocks on the slide back in September?” “Yeah. Some kids need a long time to learn not to be naughty.” Okay.
So, we have it great. I mean, really great. (In so many ways.) The trouble comes when they don’t whine about important things. Like say, their teeth hurt, or they must have seeing that we’ve had six cavities filled and two crowns put on our six-year-old’s teeth in the last three months. That is correct. TWO CROWNS on a six-year-old’s teeth because the damage was almost down to the root. We’ll go back in two weeks to fill two more and put on one last crown.
I’m still blown away by this. How did this happen? Well….we took him to the dentist when he was two, and it was so, so terrible. He was mostly non-verbal at this point, and terrified. And even though the two-year check up is utterly ridiculous and in fact its main purpose is to get little kids comfortable with going to the dentist, we were unknowingly in the hands of a sadist. The dentist came in and the hygienist says, “Q here is a little worried,” (he’s crying and trying to climb out of my arms). So the dentist pulls a chair over, grabs Q’s mouth, yanks it open and checks teeth like being screamed at by a child and his mother is totally normal.
So we never went back. I mean, we brush his teeth and what more do you need to do? They lose all their baby teeth anyway.
We finally found a dentist with not just a modicum of humanity, but one who is actually a genius at working with kids, does a whole song-and-dance so that kids feel like a million bucks when they leave. And the check-up shows so, so much damage. Really tightly spaced teeth, no fluoride rinses and four years without a checkup will do that. Or really poor parenting. (We actually never brushed his teeth and would rub them with a sugar cube just before sleep.)
Don’t worry. I’ve suffered my punishment of watching my son go through three hour-long dental appointments and used his college tuition to pay for it. The first appointment was misery for me…and yet Q was totally fine. They turned on some kids movie on the ceiling and he zoned out and they could have pulled all of his teeth right out. I relaxed and the second visit wasn’t as bad (for me)….but today was just wretched for everyone. For the first time, he felt the needles when the gave him the nerve block and the Novocaine. And he cried. And I almost vomited. Then that stupid squirrel from Ice Age did something and Q laughed and laughed and we stayed to finish the appointment. Sigh.
You know what is great though? Not once has this tough little guy said a word about how scary and painful that appointment was. All he had to say was “Can we watch Ice Age at home some day? It’s really funny.”