It’s Not All Mary Poppins

How do you spell “Exciting”?

“I’ll be picking her up at 12:30 today. She has a dentist appointment at 1:00.”

I look up from our joint project of unpacking the child from her snow gear. “Is this her first visit?”

“Yes. It should be exciting.” She gives her little girl a quick hug and a beaming smile. She really is excited, the crazy woman. Not “crazy” because she’s excited about the dentist. One of my kids just loooved the dentist when he was little, and I wasn’t about to pollute his enthusiasm with my marginally less sunny attitude. So, sure, she’s exuding enthusiasm. She is being a Good Mommy.

No, it’s the timing. 1:00 p.m.? One in the afternoon? It’s a sign of my true professionalism (and basic kindness) that I did not allow my jaw to drop to the floor.

Oh, it’ll be ‘exciting’, all right, taking a two-year-old to her very first dental visit, scheduled at THE VERY BEGINNING OF NAP TIME. What could be more fun than taking a sleep-deprived two-year-old to the dentist for the very first time? ‘Exciting’ is one word for it.

You’ve got to wonder what the thought process was that resulted in that lunatic decision. Mom has morning meetings? Reschedule them! It was the only dentist visit available for the next month? SO? I’d wait a whole lot longer than a month to avoid taking a sleep-deprived two-year-old to see the dentist. For her very first visit.

Were I a dentist, I think I’d have a policy: No toddler appointments between the hours of noon and four. Is this a family dentist, or a pediatric dentist, I wonder? And if she specializes, doesn’t she know better than that?

Oh, but I forget: she has a business to run. If she specializes in children, she can’t refuse appointments for half the day to a large section of her clientele. She has a business to run, AND she has access to sedatives. Lots and lots of calming, soothing drugs.

I’m thinking mom will need them before this is over.

March 25, 2008 - Posted by | health and safety, parents


  1. Our dentist visits have been great so far – but I usually head for about 9:30! I won’t do ANYTHING during naptime, even now that we don’t have real naps. There’s still quiet time to be had, and I need the down time AT LEAST as much as she does!

    Always do the morning. Soooo much easier! Even when it’s only quiet time. I love quiet time.

    Comment by kittenpie | March 26, 2008 | Reply

  2. I just took my son to his 4yr checkup. For some reason when I made the appt (two months ago) I chose Friday afternoon at naptime. He got four shots. I held the loud end and the nurse held the kicking end. Not sure who had it worse, him, her or me. I will plan better next time.

    My kids love the dentist’s.

    My son loved the dentist. My daughters tolerate her. My husband hates the dentist – but he makes his own appointments!

    “Loud end”, “kicking end”… LOL

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | March 26, 2008 | Reply

  3. As a data point, whenever I book Drs appointments for my 20 month old son, we are always offered only afternoon appointments. Because his father and I both work, what we really need is 8 – 9 am or 4 – 5 pm appointments, but they’re always full, out months and months in advance. I believe, actually, that my MD’s office holds the 8-10 am slots exclusively for “same day/emergency” visits. The two times we have gotten 830 am appointments scheduled, they’ve both been canceled about a week or two before the appointment date (His 18 month checkup was canceled in this way, actually, and I’ve never gotten around to rescheduling it. I should probably do that.)

    So, it may not be the mother’s choice. At least where I live, my son would need to be in an emergency case to get a morning appointment.

    An odd way to set up a practice, but that’s the perk of being self-employed! You do it the way that suits you. However, it’s not the case here. You may have to book the appointment 3 or 4 weeks in advance, but you can have it any time of day that suits you, at least if my other clients are anything to go by. If this doctor has a different policy, he’s an anomaly.

    Comment by anastasiav | March 26, 2008 | Reply

  4. Hmmm…well, in truth, I think “exciting” is a pretty apt description of taking a “due for a nap just about now” toddler to the dentist. For their first visit.

    However, I would hasten to add…dangerous, uneccessarily stressful and silly to the list.

    Loved Jill in Atlanta’s “loud end, kicking end” comment.

    I went through the same thing when son was 3 1/2 and I had to get a friend to help remove a splinter from his foot.

    Only a parent whose been there can really appreciate…”No really, it’s okay, you can have the end with the mouth.”

    In my case it was the teeth I was worried about more than the screams.

    I’ve always thought that toddler teeth probably constitute one of the most significant risk factors of that profession. I wouldn’t want to be puttin my hands in the mouth of a distressed tot!

    Comment by Sheri | March 26, 2008 | Reply

  5. this reminds me of something that happened recently to me. i was rehearsing a song with a few other people (for a wedding we were singing at), and we were in an outdoor walkway near the church while the ceremony rehearsal was going on inside. the wedding coordinator came out and asked us to move somewhere else because “there’s a preschool here and babies are sleeping.” as she walked away i looked at my watch – 5:45pm. i said, “why are these children still sleeping?! they’ll be up ALL NIGHT!”

    yeah, that’s where my mind goes.

    My mind would have gone exactly the same place. Now, if they were babies, tiny babies, then they might well be sleeping that late, but if it’s a preschool — with toddlers? Good grief. They’ll be up ALL NIGHT! LOL

    Comment by Lara | March 26, 2008 | Reply

  6. We have a pediatric dentist, and he pretty much sees kids up to high school, I think. He wisely insists on scheduling the wee bonnie ones before noon. He’s always booked; he just books wisely.

    Smart man. That’s certainly what I’d do in his position!

    Comment by midlife mommy | March 27, 2008 | Reply

  7. I just booked our first appointment. I tried to get one right after breakfast, but that was a no go. So, I tried for a safe distance after nap – 4:30pm. I hope it goes okay.

    Comment by nomotherearth | April 3, 2008 | Reply

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