February 4th, 2011 | by Matt | Published in Uncategorized
Is there anything worse than taking a child to the dentist? I mean, it’s gotta be pretty bad for the kid, but for the parents—wow, the existential dread that arises when you wait around the office, anticipating the shitstorm that’s about to blow, the tears, the kicking, the cajoling, the misery. That is pretty awful.
Except that yesterday, somehow, it all went well. Not just well but perfectly. Sasha, who had the day off from preschool thanks to Chinese New Year, had her first real dentist’s appointment, on the 22nd floor of a building in downtown Brooklyn. The appointment started 30 minutes late, and during that time I began to worry. Sure, Sasha was having fun with the little plastic toys—fairies and ballerinas and dinosaurs and pointless half soccer balls—but there was no way that could last.
And yet it did. And when we finally got called in to have her teeth cleaned, then prodded and inspected, she was a model patient, opening her mouth without complaint, thanking everyone, and accepting her xylitol lollipop reward gracefully. I was stunned.
But no more stunned than I was throughout the day. We went to two—count ’em! two!—restaurants, for lunch and dinner, and at both she sat down and got to work eating pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, and, finally, Singapore mee hoon. At naptime, too, she lay down without a problem. What the fuck was up with this kid?
To be fair, this wasn’t the Day of No Tears I’ve been dreaming of. She was not particularly happy that I let her watch only one episode of “Ni Hao, Kai-lan!” But really, that was the only complaint she made in a very busy day.
Also: I certainly don’t expect this behavior to continue. In fact, I predict a tantrum or two this weekend. Not for any specific reason. Just because. But now, at least, when things go wrong, I can remember this day and the potential the kid showed for acting like a grown-up. Well, like a grown-up who enjoys a good fart joke now and then.