I brought my two kids to the dentist this afternoon for their first ever visit.
I had done some research and this dentist came well recommended as being good with kids.
I had been bigging up the visit in a calm and casual way all week, talking about how this kind lady was going to count their teeth and give us advice on how to brush well etc.
I expected her to introduce herself to us, to take a minute to chat to the kids, maybe let them press the button to make the chair move. I had hoped that they would take to her, as they take to most people.
I'm afraid the visit didn't go like that. No introductions, no chat, a little conversation mostly about how the payment would be arranged. On entering the surgery we were greeted by the small tray of instruments, the hooks and picks and sharp god knows what. Her mask and that of her assistant were on most of the time in the surgery which my eldest said afterward was a bit scary.
We were asked which of us was going first, we had decided in advance that I would so my son could suss it out and see what was involved. I had a few teeth checked but then my 2 year old's lip started quivering and he started asking to go home.
I abandoned the chair and we asked my eldest would he like to go next. For a couple of minutes he was asked and cajoled to sit in the chair by myself and the two dentists. When it was obvious he wasn't going to do it I asked had they any ideas for a way to relax or prepare him a bit more. I was met with silence.
I suggested coming back another day and was told that would make a bigger deal of it and we should just get it over with today. We packed up and left a certain froideur behind us.
We still went and bought the promised magazines with toys. Went to a cafe so we could relax a bit. While in the surgery I had been a bit embarrassed and felt a bit like we had wasted their time, on reflection I'm really proud of my eldest for not consenting to have a stranger poke and prod inside his mouth. Especially a stranger who didn't take one minute to get to know his name, age or one thing about him. I found her abrupt yet friendly, but a kid, my kid, needs a smile and eye contact if he's to trust someone.
I've promised my son we will find another dentist who is fun and friendly, and I will keep searching until I find them. I've also told him I'm proud of him for saying no to something he's not confortable with. He knows I'm on his side. At least our trust is intact even if his tooth enamel isn't. Ps this wasn't an emergency visit, he has a couple of cavities but no pain.
How do your kids cope with medics and exams like that?