It’s almost that time again. Time to sweat a little. Time to question all the choices you made in the last six months. Time to wonder why you just didn’t take that extra minute each night to get certain tasks done. Yes; it’s time to take Son to the dentist for the fun game doctors everywhere love to play: How Good of a Parent Are You? For those of you who may not be familiar with the guilt trip accompanied by visiting any medical office pertaining to your children’s health, let me fill you in.
Here in Gelato Land, we can’t WAIT to visit the dentist! There are VIDEO GAMES! MOVIES! TOYS TOYS TOYS! And of course, the token GINORMOUS FISH TANK! It’s like a Wonderland of everything your pediatrician advises you to set limitations on. But the dentist isn’t worried about the pediatrician. The dentist has plenty of other things to make you feel bad about.
You will be interrogated. And as your children get older, the medical professional interrogates you through your child. Of course they don’t ask ME the questions because clearly I would lie and present myself as the perfect parent. These people aren’t fools; they realize kids don’t know they are supposed to lie about flossing yet. As the hygienist lets Son choose between 57 flavors of toothpaste and very thoughtfully asks him if he would like sunglasses on for his cleaning, I brace myself and send a telepathic message to Son begging him to please not throw me under the bus. While she cheerily chirps away asking Son how often he brushes, how much juice does he drink, are his vitamin’s gummy or crunchy, does Mommy help you floss, do you think you’re well-adjusted, what colleges are you thinking about, how much TV do you get to watch, do you like vegetables, do you eat dinner together as a family...I just sit there and laugh nervously while tiny beads of sweat pop out under my arms and roll my eyes at his answers...like, oh...kids. Yes of COURSE we floss each and every day and Harvard has been calling because they can’t believe the amazing hygiene this five year old boy has and did you know he has been accepted to the class of 2028? Then I whisper a silent prayer pleasenocavities pleasenocavities pleasenocavities because I HAVE ENOUGH TO FEEL GUILTY ABOUT, OKAY? It’s not that I don’t want my kids to have healthy teeth and gums, it’s just that sometimes at the end of the day, I want them to go to bed more. So until I go all Alpha Mom on flossing, I’m going to have to rely on my superior dental genes and hope that it got passed on to my kids. I mean, I did basically not visit a dentist for at least five years...those years when you have not one penny to your name and certainly not dental insurance...and my teeth not only survived but thrived. (Except for that one tooth I had to pull out. R.I.P.)
Just go ahead and accept that each trip to the dentist or doctor is a friendly reminder that, yeah, you could be doing things a liiiittle bit better. As a mother, I already live with great amounts of guilt about what I did do, didn’t do, should do, want to do, feel bad for thinking about doing...just go ahead and add that I suck because I can’t seem to floss my kids’ teeth every night. I’m going to be okay with that right now. And, fingers crossed, so will The Offspring's teeth.