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.