Archive for September, 2012
We went to the dentist today. It was a family affair as neither J nor I felt comfortable enough taking both girls on our own. Actually we were pretty petrifed at the thought of taking that on and figured one-on-one defense was a better plan.
This was Ava’s 432nd trip to her pediatric dentist, Dr. Bobby. Dr. Bobby is great and has shown untold amounts of patience as we have gently coaxed Ava along this process. Ava still deals with some oral aversion issues and trips to the dentist have always been, ummmm, let’s just say dramatic. Under Dr. Bobby’s care she’s come a long way even though we’ve still never actually managed a cleaning or polishing. Fortunately she has (mostly) good teeth so there’s never been a reason to force the issue. Every visit is a little better and we take another baby step in that direction. Today we started out with a full floss and a tooth brushing by the hygienist AND she allowed her to use the water spray and the suction tube in her mouth with no tears. Had we stopped there I would have been thrilled and called the day a complete success.
Merry went for the first time today. She did fine. Laid back on the table, put her sunglasses on, opened her mouth and was totally chill with the whole experience. That’s Merry for you. Pretty much how she approaches everything.
But back to Ava.
The lead hygienist was around today and seemed to take an inordinate interest in how Ava was doing – to the point of hovering a bit and even interrupting our regular hygienist as she worked. After Ava was done then we decided it was time to try for the x-ray again so lead hygienist takes Ava off to do the x-ray while Merry took her turn in the chair. Ava was hesitant but wasn’t outright fighting this yet so both J and I were coaxing her over (to include dangling my iPhone in front of her like a carrot). We got her into the x-ray room (again, I count this as success) when she finally balked. Lead hygienist tries gently talking her in, as were J and I, when she suddenly not so gently spouted out, “If you don’t go in here and do this then I will make your mommy and daddy and baby sister go up to the front and they will leave you back here all by yourself.” I amazingly didn’t smack her but quietly stated directly to her that no, we would not be leaving Ava alone. I did walk away at that point to deal with Merry but J stayed right with Ava and they managed to get the x-ray after all (special thanks to Apple and my iPhone and some free app that looks like a Spirograph).
In the meantime Merry is happily swallowing the bubblegum flavored toothpaste and holding onto the dentist provided sunglasses – occasionally putting them on and then taking them off and then putting them on while the regular hygienist cleans her teeth. Lead hygienist pulls up a chair beside her and lifts Ava on to her lap to hold her while we were waiting for Merry. (At this point I’m like all WTF are you all over my kid but I couldn’t do much about it being that I had my hands full of other kid.) She proceeds to sit there for the next 10 minutes playing with Ava’s hair, holding her on her lap, and trying to talk to me about what it’s like raising girls (she has all boys), telling me how much she wants little girls like mine, and calling both my girls ‘sexy little mamas’ with their sunglasses on. Yes. She really did say that – repeated it 3 times actually – to my 5 year old who repeats every.single.thing she ever hears. I’m sure the other kindergarten parents will be delighted when their kids come home with that new phrase. I relocated Ava from lead hygienist’s lap onto the chair with Merry as soon as I could
Dr. Bobby came out about this time and did a quick exam and fluoride treatment for both girls. Ava has a tooth we’re watching that may need treatment in a year or so and Merry’s teeth look pretty good (condition wise) with what looks to be only one missing tooth related to her alveolar cleft (we hope it stays missing and doesn’t show up since it would be *IN* her cleft if it does. Merry is getting ready to teethe her last two (lower) incisors and we should be good for a couple of months – or at least until the two year molars show up.
But then lead hygienist strikes again. She’s got her hands all over Ava again (playing with her hair) when she asks me if they are sisters. I answered in the affirmative. “Yes, they are sisters now.” That answer didn’t suit of course so she asked a second time. “But are they real sisters?” My answer is yes (again) which is when she asked for the third time, “No, I mean are they actually sisters?”. I think J started to realize that I was getting geared up to lose it big time so he answered. “If you are asking if they are sisters by birth the answer is no but they are sisters now.” I’m not sure if that is what shut her up or the daggers shooting from my eyes found their mark.
This whole experience just bugged me. A lot. So I thought about it and waffled over it and talked my co-workers’ ears off mulling over how I could have better handled it and I finally decided to call the practice office manager and tell her about our experience. I laid it out pretty calmly and stressed the following:
1. Ava has a relationship with her regular hygienist. She knows just how much she can push past Ava’s comfort zone and the lead hygienist was interrupting and disrupting that.
2. Calling my 5 year old a ‘”sexy little mama” just isn’t appropriate in my world. It’s just not.
3. Threatening my child with the loss of her parents’ presence to frighten her into doing something is not okay with me. Especially my adopted child who is already scared to death of losing us in any way, shape, or form.
4. The lack of personal and professional boundaries in the way she was talking to and touching my child (playing with her hair, etc) icked me out and irked the hell out of me. I am doing my darndest to teach Ava stranger danger and how people that we don’t know (or even those we do) shouldn’t invade her space or touch her. This lesson isn’t exactly reinforced when a person she perceives to be in a position of authority is doing things like that. (It did show me that we need to have more discussions on this based on the conversations I had with Ava after the fact).
In hindsight, I feel like I failed a bit. I wish I’d spoken out more firmly or more directly to the lead hygienist at the time – but then again I didn’t feel it was the proper space or time to do it since we had both girls right there with us. We have discussed some of the things that happened with Ava – we told her it was wrong of the lady to say we would leave her because we would never do that – and we now know that there are a few holes in our stranger/friend/acquaintance danger lesson plan that we need to patch.
The office manager was appalled, by the way. Seriously appalled. She apologized a million and eight times at least and seemed very concerned that this could be indicative of a bigger problem. She thanked me over and over for calling and I think she was genuine and didn’t think I was just a hysterical, complain-y parent. My only request to the office manager is that they mark the girls’ charts that their hygienist should always and only be K and that I don’t want lead hygienist working on or anywhere around either of them at any time.
So – what would you all have done? Would you have let it go? Not gone back? Called and complained? Did I overreact?
Oh, I do want to let you know that because Ava was such a big, brave girl and didn’t cry even one tear she earned herself a trip to Build-a-Bear this weekend to pick out any bear she wants. She didn’t manage to earn an outfit though (that would have required the cleaning) so it will be a naked bear for the time being. Next dental appointment is in 3 months so she might earn it some clothes then.