My children both went to the dentist today. The five-year-old who is a lover of all types of doctors has been a big fan of dental visits since his first one. The three-year-old had his first visit today and I was a little concerned because he's never been as eager with doctors as his big brother. But it went great.
Yes, there were some differences. For example, when my oldest went for the first time at three, I didn't even go back with him. When they called his name, he just went and I figured that was best. My baby...well, he needed his mommy...and I went. But once we were back there, he was so big. He talked to the hygenist, climbed in the chair, opened wide, had xrays, got his teeth cleaned...well the uppers anyway.
He was doing great. Then something happened - I'm still not sure what - she was spraying water in his mouth to rinse the polish and I suspect it hit him wrong and startled him. There he was doing so much better than I ever expected when he suddenly started to cry. He pretty quickly got over it and when the dentist came in he still let him look in his mouth. But he never did get his lower teeth cleaned.
And this is why...because he said no and they listened.
And I have to admit part of me thought maybe we should try a little harder. I don't want to hold him down or anything, but he calmed down for the dentist, so he might have been talked into finishing his cleaning. But that isn't their approach with little ones.
No, instead, they listen to the child.
And, even with my first instinct to talk him into it, I appreciate that.
I appreciate that my three-year-old can go to the dentist and help shape his experience.
I appreciate that he knows that the dentist's office is a place where if he's uncomfortable, then whatever makes him uncomfortable will stop.
I appreciate that he knows that at the dentist's office his voice will be heard.
I was reminded of something today at the dentist...sometimes we just have to listen to each other...sometimes we just have to listen to our children.