Taking my children to the dentist usually gives me mixed feelings. On the one hand, I feel kind of elated because I know I’m about to enjoy twenty-three minutes of quiet me-time. Score! As an added bonus, I know that they can’t fight from their adjoining dental chairs because their mouths are going to be cranked open as far as a small child’s mouth can go in a sort of socially acceptable torture. Stretch your mouth out to capacity right now and try to say “Jerk!” Just try it. I tested it just to be sure. Can’t be done. Double score! That is where the good times end though my friend because after my time in introverted fun land I’m going to be graded.
My children’s dentist office clearly prides themselves on perfection and seem to think that oral hygiene is the ONLY THING in life that matters. Granted, it’s important. I’m not saying it’s not, but they have a grading system for crying out loud. They would tell you it’s so that you can measure your child’s needs. The truth is that your parental abilities are what is really being graded. As a compliant first-born/ people-pleaser by nature, I want to do well. I was always a good student. I want the A. I want three A’s as a matter of fact.
I have never gotten the three A’s. I’m the mom all of the hygienists talk about at the oral hygiene convention. I picture them huddled together with sugar-free, tooth friendly cocktails with cute little toothbrushes instead of umbrellas and their talking in hushed tones. Today I got my gently worded, semi-annual lecture and promised that my children would do better and prepared to sulk out of the office with my head hung low after purchasing forty-five dollars in high-octane, super fluoridated (I pray miracle working) toothpaste. I think the worst is over and then notice that two of my three future denture wearers are missing.
I feel a hint of panic in my throat and make my way for the restrooms which is the only logical place they could be and call there names from outside the single restroom. My nine-year old daughter opens the door and I can see my son standing behind her with his hands over his manhood and his pants around his ankles.
“Jackson needs help wiping,” she says as she flees the restroom while rolling her eyes as big sisters do. I breathe a sigh of relief and then turn around and to find Jackson has already assumed the position (Bent over as far as he can for easy access). This is not his first rodeo. Goodbye momentary sense of relief. I go to lock the door so that no one else has to endure this shit show. Guess what. No lock. Fabulous. I race to get this done in mock speed. I can just see someone walking in and getting an awkward eye full. I proceed to fight the toilet paper dispenser because the cheap paper wants to break at every perforation and this isn’t a two square job. I break out into a cold sweat. Pull gently. Pull gently. I have him almost clean when I look down and find that his underwear are soiled.
The voice in my head is saying “What the F—! Why me? Why? Expletive. Expletive. Expletive. Did he get the poop sweats in the dental chair. WTF. WTF. WTF.
My outside voice says, “Son, Why?”
Jackson starts singing while wiggling his butt,” Because I’m a man. Because I’m a man. Because I’m a big ‘ol man.”
I can’t help, but laugh a little because sometimes you have to laugh or cry and this was one of those times.
“What are we going to do Jackson?” I said.
His response, “Don’t worry Mommy. I’m wearing two pairs of underpants.”
Sure enough his underwear were layered.
“Why are you wearing two pairs of underwear?”
“Grandma told me to put on clean underwear this morning.”
Of course. Why didn’t I think of that. The answer should have been obvious. He then prided himself on his preparedness for the situation. He brought it to my attention as if he should be rewarded for shitting his pants and having clean underwear on standby. Kind of like the one time in sixteen years of marriage that his father did the dishes. Chris made sure to get his pat on the back. Do I get a pat on the back for doing dishes twice a day, every day. No, but I digress. I took a deep breath and crammed the forty-five dollars worth of toothpaste and free toothbrushes and floss into one of those tiny bags they give you and put the Pikachu boxer briefs that will never be the same in the other. I got him dressed in the clean extra pair and calmly walked out the door and back into the lobby. Nothing happening here folks. Just keep looking at your phones. I’m half way to the front door with a minuscule level of my dignity still intact when Jackson grabs the bag with the soiled underpants and tries to rip it out of my hand because he wants his bag of treasures. Not the underwear. His five cent prize for holding his mouth open compliance.
I blurt out, “No Jackson! That’s the dirty underwear.”
Ooops. (My brain – Expletive. Expletive. Expletive.) Every parent in the crowded waiting room turns to stare at the crazy woman with dirty underwear in a toothbrush bag.
I took a deep breath and did the walk of shame all the way the minivan. It took a Starbucks and a tooth decaying cake pop to help me shake it off.
“Can we have a cake pop too Mommy,” they said.
“Sure. Why not?”
If you enjoyed reading this considerably more than I enjoyed living it, then you want to check out my book Puppy Love: Life Lessons In Disobedience.