So, I was sitting there, staring at my computer, wondering what in the world I should write about. I just updated y’all on the progress of the house. And to be honest, there’s not much else to talk about right now concerning the cutest lil red house on the planet! 😉 The project is underway and we are so thankful for that, but there aren’t any other major progressions I can show and there are very few projects we can start working on ourselves until we actually move in.
But as I sat, watching the minutes tick by, I could feel a nervous anxiety building my stomach… Like, my arm pits were sweaty. (Gross, sorry. Just layin’ some truth on ya) Why you ask? Because Preston, my four year old angel (and this may seem extremely minor to most of you reading this) had a dentist appointment. He would get 2 cavities filled in about an hour from then. No big deal right? Wrong….ooooh, so wrong!!
Exactly 6 months ago, the boys had their first RI dental visit and poor Preston had a monster of a cavity! This was surprising to me since their last visit to the dentist was 6 months prior in NC and there wasn’t any sign of a cavity. So, I was told I had to bring Presty (that’s what we usually call him) back in a couple days. Since the cavity was so gigantic, they would have to literally dig out MOST of his lil tooth and put a silver cap in its place!! No joke! For the next couple of days, we all joked about it, calling him “P. Diddy Presty” or “P nice” or other rapper pseudo names. I also joked about getting Preston a tag to wear that said, “I promise I did not give my child Mountain Dew in a baby bottle!”
So, I brought him in to get his grill set up all shiny… or fixed with his “robot tooth” as the dentist called it, which went over well with Preston. He seemed, before the whole procedure started, to be excited about having a robot tooth. The dentist also said, they don’t like to put lil ones under or use laughing gas if not absolutely necessary. The procedure should only take 15-20 minutes and Preston would be completely numb. “Great,” I thought, “Let’s get this over with.” I imagined having to calm him down by reassuring him it was almost over, remind him to keep as still as possible, and hold his hand as reassurance that mommy was there. That is far from what actually happened!!
At the start Preston was nervous and uncomfortable about the dentist messing around in his mouth, which was totally expected. Poor Preston had this rubber guard over is mouth with the one little tooth that was being worked on, sticking out through it with a clamp type tool holding his mouth open. His general nervous disposition and uncomfortability shot right up to all out panic in seconds! He was screaming, kicking, crying, and shaking himself into a full frenzy. It was too late to turn back… everyone in the room just buckled down to get it over with as soon as possible. The dentist had to hold Preston’s head between his legs in a vice grip while working in his mouth, I had to get on top of him and hold down his legs with my legs (which didn’t stop him from kicking his shoes off), hold his arms down, and lean on top of his chest to stop him from jerking around frantically. The nurse darted in and out with the tools needed with lightening speed. The procedure ended up taking almost 30 minutes and Preston screamed for help and cried the entire time while giving super human effort to shake everything and everyone off him to escape the torture.
After it was over, I felt high for the rest of the day from all the adrenaline pumping through me! And for the next two days, my biceps were literally sore from the amount of muscle effort needed to hold 30 lb Preston down. To this day he tells me, “you held me down and they hurt me.” Mom guilt is nothing compared to this! His feelings and sense of safety were seriously damaged and he felt genuinely betrayed by me… mom, who’s supposed to be there to protect him! Not hold him down so other people can hurt him. I was crushed. And Preston has such a sensitive soul, he holds on to emotional hurt for much longer than you think a 4 year old is capable. So, you can now hopefully have a better appreciation for my sweaty arm pits. 😉
Cut to today: 2 more cavities! Aaaaaahhhhh! They were small ones, and just needed the typical dig it out and fill it with white stuff method. Easy right? The dentist asked if I wanted to try the laughing gas this time, considering how the last procedure went. Apparently the whole thing is now legend in the office… everyone remembers, or read the terrifying details in his “file”. I said yes, of course! Buuuuut…when we got there with this other dentist who can administer the nitrous oxide, he felt like it wouldn’t be necessary. He said Preston was a very good listener, which is true, and seemed to be pretty relaxed, which was true. Also, this other dentist had an obvious gift with kids; a soothing voice, very patient, related really well to Preston, and had a calm demeanor. “Ok,” I said, “if you think he can do it.”
It was going along swimmingly, until the part with the numbing shot arrived. Preston, didn’t even know it was a shot. His teeth and gums had already been put to sleep with a numbing gel and he was laying back with cool shades over his eyes, but he could tell there was something different about the tool that was in his mouth this time. The dentist remained calm, talking in that soothing voice, and trying his best to distract Preston with little stories about his favorite super heroes. The real panic set in when he started drilling. He would only drill for 10 second intervals and count down with each one so that Preston could anticipate the break point… Preston didn’t care about the countdown or the upcoming drilling break.
I was having a definite flashback from his robot tooth appointment. Again, I had to hold down his arms, and this time I just had to lean on his legs to keep them still. It wasn’t an all out exorcist moment like last time, but still, to have to physically hold your child down while someone else is essentially hurting them, is horrifying. The worst part was the screaming. He was gargling on the saliva accumulation while screaming, “HELP ME! HELP ME! STOP! LET ME OUT!” He would then almost choke while struggling to breath as the nurse sucked out the saliva blocking his throat. Tears were pouring down his temples, and we were all trying to tell him to calm down and keep still so the dentist could finish “giving his teeth new muscles.” (Trying every trick in the book to make him relax.) Every once in a while he’d open his eyes just a tiny bit to look at me… I thought to make sure I was still there. I was wrong.
When his cavities were filled and the procedure was done, Preston flew out of that dentist chair, leaping into the air like deer leaping over the Jersey barrier on the highway. I quickly realized that the reason he kept opening his eyes to look at me, was anger. Straight up anger. “I DON’T LIKE YOU! YOU’RE MEAN! THIS IS BECASUE OF YOU! I’M NEVER COMING HERE WITH YOU AGAIN! I DON’T LIKE YOU, MOM! I BLAME YOU MOM!”… as he shoved me, while I tried to hug him. I’m not even exaggerating… he said all of this and more! The dentist said he had never seen a kid so angry at their parent before. (Thanks Doc!). So it was pretty clear, Preston blamed me for his pain, and didn’t take my presence as reassurance, but as proof it was my fault he was in this situation. It was terrible.
But what else could I have done? There was no way getting around it, right? He had cavities that had to be addressed in no other way than they were. And I am mom. The one who does all the doctor appointments because Dad’s at work, so there was no way getting around that either. And, despite his anger toward me, I want to be there, whether or not I feel like running from the whole thing too. I felt like I had done a pretty good job of preparing him for the visit. I told him what was going to happen, why it needed to happen, and that it might hurt a bit. And he did do much better than robot tooth day… maybe it was because of the preparation? But all the preparation in the world can’t relieve that feeling of wanting something painful to stop, and wanting to go back, forgetting the whole thing. When Preston started screaming, I started screaming in my head, “Just forget it. Stop hurting my boy! Its fine, they’re just baby teeth, lets just let them rot out. This can’t be worth it!”
But that’s what we do as parent’s. We’re there. Regardless of the outcome, the reaction, the reward… or lack there of. After Preston calmed down a little… maybe an hour later. He wanted no one but me. He needed his mom and the reassurance that I was still there. I know many people reading this can relate on different levels; whether its a medical procedure or condition, getting through a test or educational challenges, social challenges, or confidence issues… whatever it is, the basic elements of helping them conquer, endure, or get past the obstacles of life are the same.
Whether we realize it or not, this thing we do as parent’s, being there, is demonstrating God’s love for us. Our heavenly father is the same kind of parent… He’s there. And we lash out at him sometimes too, don’t we? We’re in it; something painful, something, hard, something we think we could do without and we get angry with Him. Just like Him, we are there, holding their hand, encouraging them through the toughest part; letting them know that even though we can’t save them from the pain or the situation or the procedure (even though we desperately want to) we won’t leave their side and will do anything to provide the support they need. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”