Saturday, January 31, 2015

My son, his filling, OUR choices

A few weeks back, one of my twin three year olds needed to have a cavity filled. Not a great feeling as a parent having to take your kiddo in for a filling, but it needed to be done. The initial consultation with the Doc went as well as it could, with her recommending the "happy air" to help him through. My wife and I said that he wouldn't need it, but she insisted we at least have it ready. And by insisting, I mean she made it perfectly clear that there was no way in hell he wouldn't need it. All the while, we could hear screams & crying from a child somewhere else in the office... Unnerving? Yes..

My wife and I didn't feel the best about working with this particular dentist, but we decided to at least try it. If he wasn't happy and they were pushing the happy air, then we would just leave and try again another time or find a different dentist. You see, for us it isn't only about the worry of what the gas is doing to our kiddo, but more that if he isn't feeling safe enough to be there then it's not worth it. The filling could wait another day when he felt more in control of what was happening, and not being pushed by the timeline and agenda of someone else. We want all of our kids to recognize that they're comfort and the things happening in their lives are in their control. That the push of outside forces shouldn't dictate their immediate and final decisions.  

Now, this doesn't apply to basic deadline responsibilities like homework, chores, and commitments. Only real life decisions where at times we allow ourselves to take paths forced on us by others, because we feel worried about saying, "no."

We also know our son well enough that he can handle anything as long as mom or dad are there. That "happy air" wouldn't be needed if all of the people in the room were calm.

So the day of the filling came, and our boy put on his favorite Snow White dress and happily climbed into the car. When he and I arrived at the office we ended up having to wait for much longer than necessary with sounds of crying and some screaming filtering to the waiting room (a la LittleShopOfHorrors). Thankfully my boy and I just sat together reading books and making each other laugh. 

When the nurse brought us back, she immediately wanted to go over the plan to make sure they understood that my wife and I didn't want the "happy air. " And that if things got weird, he and I would go. 

All was set, the Dr. came in and talked him through each step. I stayed in his eyesight and held his hands through out, and without a whimper, a cry, or fidget our big three year old had his cavity filled. The dentist and the hygentist were so impressed with him. I used the "I told you so" line multiple times, because I like being right. But it t felt good knowing that my wife and I told them that he could handle it. We believed in our boy and put that confidence out there for him to have as well. And that confidence even found its way into the Dr. She was a different person after that, so much so, she gave me a gift to say thanks... It wasn't free dental work.. Sad face.. But the Starbucks gift card was nice! All because we believed in him, and confidently held our ground on what we knew was best for his comfort. 

So how do you feel about "happy air" during dentistry work?... For your kids that is. Please comment below.