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Posted on Mon. Dec. 17, 2012 - 12:01 am EDT

LIFE ... WITHOUT BUMPER PADS

Son teaches Mom a lesson about going to the dentist

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Editor's note: Jill Adams is a professional writer based in Fort Wayne.

My oldest son and I stood facing each other in the kitchen. Deep in the middle of a battle of the wills, I put my hands on my hips and looked him in his eye. He crossed his arms in response.

“You're going,” I told him firmly.

“No!” he exclaimed.

“Yes, you are,” I replied.

“I'm not going to the dentist!” he retorted. “It's terrible!”

“You have to go!” I said, exasperation sneaking into my voice. “It may not be your favorite thing, but you have to do it!”

“Why?” he whined.

I thought quickly.

“Because if you do not get your teeth cleaned, they will rot,” I said with a hint of dramatic flair. “And then, it becomes quite difficult to eat candy.”

This, I told myself, was not entirely untrue. My son looked at me thoughtfully, and with a great huff, put his jacket on. I suppressed a smile. Mom had won the battle.

Two hours later, one very proud little boy sat in the backseat of the car with a glowing report from the dentist, a bag of goodies, a balloon and an ear-to-ear grin. I glanced at him in my rearview mirror and a quiet chuckle escaped. Our earlier ordeal had been for nothing. Kids.

Two weeks later, I sat with my children at the kitchen table as we worked on an art project. My phone began to buzz and subsequently dance across the table, making all three kids giggle. As I laughed alongside them, I looked down at the number. It was the dentist.

“Just a reminder of your cleaning scheduled for Monday,” the receptionist informed me when I answered. I grimaced. Monday seemed a little too soon.

“Can we change that to two weeks from now?” I asked her.

“Sure,” she said cheerfully. Within minutes I had a comfortably distant appointment, and I hung up with a content smile. When I looked up, my oldest son was eyeing me warily.

“Who was that?” he asked me.

“The dentist,” I replied easily.

“You changed your appointment?” he asked.

“Yep,” I responded succinctly. I had a sudden sense of where this was going.

“Because I have a lot going on next week,” I added for good measure.

My son frowned, but let the topic go.

Twelve days flew by in a rush, and before I knew it, my phone was buzzing with another appointment reminder. I glanced at it, and then at my son, who was once again right by my side. Pursing my lips, I grabbed the phone and went in to the laundry room with feigned nonchalance, closing the door behind me.

“Just calling to confirm we will see you tomorrow at 2 p.m.,” the receptionist said.

I closed my eyes. I really, really did not want to go to the dentist the next day. I had forgotten about the appointment and did not feel … mentally prepared.

“Um, I'm so sorry,” I said. “Can I reschedule?”

The receptionist obliged once again, and two minutes later I had a two-week grace period. I hung up with a strange sense of satisfaction.

Then I turned around and saw my son glaring at me.

“You rescheduled your dentist appointment again!” he said with furrowed brows.

And with that, I arrived at a parenting crossroad. I could tell my son I was too busy for the dentist. Or, I could admit to myself and to him that I didn't particularly enjoy going. I sighed.

“You know what buddy? You're right, I did.”

“Because you hate going?” he said, now with an amused gleam in his eye.

I looked at him earnestly, and slowly nodded. To my surprise, he burst into giggles.

“I told you it was terrible!” he said through his laughter.

“No, it's not,” I responded with a chuckle. “The idea is worse than actually going, don't you think?”

He paused to ponder my question, and then nodded.

“So, I'm going to call back and see if I can get in sooner,” I told him. “If you're brave enough, then I will be, too.”

I winked at him and dialed the number. Just my luck, they were able to get me in the next day.

“I'm heading in tomorrow,” I told my son when I hung up.

He gave me a huge grin.

“Don't worry Mom,” he said. “I'll go with you and hold your hand.”

And that's when my super-cool kid got a super-big hug from his mom.

This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel. Jill Adams blogs at http://lifewithoutbumperpads.blogspot.com.


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