Wednesday, April 19, 2006

my daughter at the dentist

I sat in a chair by the window, trying to show by my nonchalant lounging posture, arm along the window ledge, that I was unconcerned. I didn't want to be an uptight mother, projecting my nervousness onto Laura. We were at the dentist yesterday, and Laura was having 3 fillings done.

I sat looking at Laura's big, puppy-paw hands. They are beautifully-shaped, slightly oversized hands, and they always make my heart melt. Laura's hands twisted just a little from time to time. She sat on her hands, and then took them out again. Her bottom was so far from the fold in the dental chair that Laura's coltish legs only touched the chair at the heels of her white sandals. It looked very uncomfortable. Yet this five-year-old girl of mine proceeded to sit in that chair for almost an hour, had 2 injections in the process, and had to 'open wide!' for the entire time, with not even a whimper of complaint.

As I gazed at my stoic little girl, I wondered why I get so impatient with her sometimes. I felt awful as I remembered being snappy with her the day before. Because she is such a well-behaved kid, who tries so hard to do the right thing. Even when she's been naughty, she'll often apologise later without being asked to. She is just that sort of child - anxious to please.

Always a bit more serious than her brother, Laura is slowly learning about joking around. Yesterday, though, her anxiety must have caused her innate serious nature to return to the fore. The dentist was trying to lighten things up the whole hour, asking Laura, "Are you asleep there Laura?" (solemn shake of the head), and "ZZZZZ......Was that YOU making that snoring noise?"(frowning..'No, it was you.') and, "What flavour fluoride would you like...squashed cockroaches, or mint?" (pause. unsmiling steady gaze. 'Mint, please')

I asked Laura afterwards how it went. She told me, "It hurt in my mouth like a sore. I tried counting to five in my head, but that didn't help. So I just tried not to cry." I hadn't realised she'd felt anything. She hadn't made a noise or shed a tear.

At times like these I feel a rush of protectiveness for my older, less vivacious child. She is quieter, and less attention-grabbing than her little brother. But she is a sweet, bright, brave little girl and oh I love her so. Puppy paws, colt legs, tousled hair and all.

13 comments:

doubleknot said...

Such a brave little girl. Most kids her age would still be screaming as you tried to get them in the chair and a shot too - Mom you must have raised her right - of course I know they all have their own personalities. Tell her one of your bloggers from the other side of the world thinks she is a very brave girl.

TUFFENUF said...

Very sweet post - I feel your pain! How brave Laura is! I think sometimes we underestimate our children's courage. They are more likely to whine to us but then be fearless in the face of strangers. The dentist is a scarey place, especially for a little child. I am sure you told her how proud you are of her!

shellyC said...

Not long ago I was the nervous Mother watching as Zoe had two fillings. She was brave and calm like Laura and coped so well..I couldn't believe it! the dentist could obviously sense how I was feeling and kept looking to me and asking if I was OK and telling me "nearly finished".....A month later i was at the dentist armed with my sunglasses, earphones and music and not wanting to see or hear anything!!!!

John Cowart said...

She's a treasure.
I sometimes wonder if we ever get to know our own children.

Alice said...

Such a brave little girl, and so is her mummy. Thanks for the memories, Jelly.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Laura was indeed a brave little girl. The dentist is clearly used to working on children...not all that stoic coldness that some dentist possess.

Franny said...

Your little girl sounds like a lion underneath that cuddly exterior. She will someday be a force to be reckoned with due to her courage and her heart.

You did good.

DayByDay4-2Day said...

She is brave. My thirteen old boy who is almost 6 foot and 190 lbs had to be gased and come in for two apponitments to get two fillings.

Be proud!

mackeydoodle said...

Oh how I agree with you JohnC!
I was just looking at my little(almost) 5 year old girl today wondering how I would see her if I wasn't her Mom.
BTW...hig 5 to Laura..what a brave young lady!

Wendy A said...

wow. I hate the dentist. What a trooper. My daughter also had a filling at 5. She didn't make a sound durning it but she was sure mad at me after. Thanks for the lovely story.

Val said...

A dentist who is good with children is a treasure. But hats off to the kids who just front up and open up wide. Our youngest has large teeth, not all of which fit in his mouth. He's had to have a number extracted over the years. One time the dentist rang to say there was an appointment free, could I get Ben there in an hour's time? I rang the music school where Ben was having a lesson, and asked them to tell Ben to get off the tram at the dentist's, and I'd pick him up there. Little did he know that he was in for yet another extraction on the way home from his music lesson! I've always been pretty stoic myself, but liked the days of laughing gas...

somershade said...

I love your spirit,your precious.

Kerri said...

I was always amazed that I could physically 'feel' my children's pain. If they cut themselves, for instance, I would feel this twisting pain...it's a strange sensation. I do it with my husband too.
Laura sounds so sweet and stoic. I'll bet she's a lot like her mum :) Loved your descriptions, as usual Jelly :)