I know some of you are thinking, "My goodness that is late! I went when little Johnny was 7 weeks old (exaggeration of course!)!" I know others are thinking, "Oh goodness! Why the stress? I waited until Johnny was four!"
So we should be in the middle of those comments and at a happy medium. And it was great timing for us!
I actually didn't talk it up too much. Mostly because I forgot to and ran out of time, but also because he just didn't seem that interested in finding out what it was. He's very inquisitive so I figured he would ask if he wanted to know.
I gave him a little overview and told him it was the dentist his cousins saw. And that was about it.
So we got there this morning and I reminded myself how thankful I was that we went with a pediatric dentist. Train table (Jay was obsessed), Wii, play station, books, ball toys, etc- and this was just the waiting room! The staff was incredibly friendly from the time I made an appointment!
Jay played and played and was so comfortable so quickly that he handed me his pappy (which is what he does when he feels "safe"- he keeps it when he is uncomfortable or scared). So this was a great sign!
They called us back and he popped up and said, "My turn!" Meanwhile, I was a nervous wreck. Talk about anxiety! I considered popping his pappy in MY mouth.
We went in and they wanted him to step on the scale and get weighed. I immediately thought, "Oh great- he cries at the doctor's office when we do this. Why do they need his weight at the dentist?!?! Does the fact that he weighs 33 pounds help his TEETH?!!!" Shockingly, he stepped right up and stood so still and so tall. I must admit, I got a little choked up. Then the tech asked him to go brush his teeth. He grabbed that toothbrush right out of her hand, stepped up on the stool and started brushing away. I asked if he needed my help and he said, "No mommy. I do it." Um, heart melting. Where did my toddler go?
He brushed and brushed and brushed away like it was his job. He was so proud and did such a great job. He got the cup of water and spit and hopped right down from the stool. He looked at that tech as if asking, "Alright. What next?"
He (and I quickly behind) followed her into the exam room. Alright... I knew it was just about freak out time. We talked quickly about pacifiers (I told her the whole truth- that he has it 90% of the day), bedtime brushing/drinking routines (yes we brush every single night.... no we don't put him to bed with milk or juice or anything), flossing habits (yes, a couple times a week), and a lot of other things I can't remember.
They warned me that he might not lay down at all, and that was ok. They also said that it is VERY common to not even be able to open his mouth for the first two to three visits and that was ok too. So if we can't polish his teeth or check them to not be worried. Phew. They also assured me there would never be any strapping down (I just heard about this last weekend!!!!!!!). They didn't even have that. I mean, who in the world thinks that's a good idea?! Talk about making a kid hate going to the dentist!!!! Basically, they were going to make it as positive an experience as possible! THANKYOUJESUS.
Toys in the exam room to play with while we talked!
Then the hygienist came in and showed him a stuffed animal dog with a mouth full of teeth. She gave Jay a giant toothbrush to help brush the dog's teeth. Then they used a mirror to look in the dog's mouth. I think what really won him over was the choice of three animal polishing heads. He picked the giraffe. Then they let him squeeze the head and polished his nails- demonstrating what it was going to be like on his teeth.
So far he was buying it. Phew.
Then they showed him the cartoons on the ceiling and asked him to lay down. He wasn't buying it. So he leaned back, propped up on his elbows, and looked up. They got him to open his mouth (very slightly, but they could see enough) and check out his teeth. Then they actually polished EVERY single tooth! No forcing, no ultimatums- all on his own. He eventually got tired and laid all the way back. We took a break halfway through and he wanted the polish off- he hated the granules on his teeth (can you blame him?!). They finished up, and then flossed his teeth! Perfect! I told them ahead of time sitting there that he was obsessed with animals, so everything they did they made an animal reference... "Oh, let's see if you have a tiger tooth back there." "Wow, let's polish your teeth like the zookeepers polish the elephants' teeth!" etc.... They were so so great!
The big toothbrush
Then the dentist came in for a checkup. He looked at everything and spoke some special dental jargon. The best part was how the sweet dentist would say, "Let me see if you have any teeth back there that look like Josh's. What about any that look like Jake's? Hey! I see a tooth that looks like Jill's (these are all his cousins.)!" It was perfect and Jay was so comfortable with him.
When they were all finished, the hygienist asked Jay if he wanted to go pick out a treasure- to which he hopped up and left me in his dust to talk with the dentist. Is this my kid?!?!?!
The dentist was so so pleased. He said it was by far one of the absolute best two year old first visits he'd ever had. Ever. He reiterated that many times and was so happy with Jay and how well behaved he was and brave he acted. I was so glad it went so well.
Jay's teeth are in great shape, spaced very well (meaning no need to floss!), strong, clean, etc.. He then gave me the pacifier talk- which I knew was coming. He started by saying, "I would like to see the pacifier gone by..." and I interrupted with, "6 months ago?" He laughed and said by age three. He said Jay has a slight overbite from it, but as soon as the pacifier is gone it will correct itself (itself is not actually a word- I know) immediately.
So basically, this was such a super experience. I was a nervous wreck and it was for nothing. Jay did so great and I was so proud of him. I'm so glad we waited until now- it seemed to all fall into place perfectly!
The funniest part was watching them clean his teeth. I felt a huge lump in my throat and my eyes fill up with tears. He just seemed so big. He was so independent, and doing so well with it all. I was emotional and I had NO clue I would feel that way!
I'm so proud of my big boy- he did great! :)