Typically dentist appointments wouldn't be on my list of Stuff I Love, but today's dentist appointment was a good one. (I also wasn't the one in the chair. I find that I enjoy the dentist so much more when my visit is limited to the waiting room.)
I have one sweet little head-strong daughter who DOES NOT like to brush her teeth. I know, who really enjoys doing that? It's one of the necessary evils of life, though, and unfortunately the consequences of not doing it can be pretty severe. How many mornings have I said over and over again, "Brush your teeth, please" "Brush your teeth, please." "BRUSH YOUR TEETH, please." This is a straight A student who likes to help her teachers and babysit in her spare time. She showers multiple times a day, spends hours doing her hair, and can organize a silverware drawer in 5.7 seconds. But there is no amount of cajoling or bargaining, chart making or rewarding that will get this girl to brush her teeth. She's beyond the point where I can go in the bathroom with her and do it for her. (And she's taller than me now, so that would just be ridiculous.) So, most days, I remind and remind, and she walks out the door pretending she hasn't heard me. I cringe when I think about all the people she comes in close contact with during the day, and hope that they don't have super sniffers like I do.
I cooked up a plan before we got to the dentist today for her semi-annual check up. Typically, I like to just let the consequences speak for themselves, but her teeth must be made of steel because she's NEVER had a cavity. While she was in the restroom, I secretly took the hygienist aside and mentioned my dilemma and asked for her help. She assured me that she would take care of it.
About 30 minutes later, they both came out with a glowing report of NO CAVITIES (of course!) and glowing teeth (finally!) The hygienist gave me a knowing smile and we were out the door. And then on the ride home, my head strong little thing said, "UGH! Did you know that sometimes people's gums, like, disintegrate!" "And did you know that you can get diseases in your mouth??" And apparently the hygienist had illustrations to go with all of those terrible things that can happen to you if you don't brush your teeth. I happily smiled at that sweet hygienist's efforts to support me.
I know, scare tactics are drastic. (But, you don't have to sit next to the "unbrushed" in the morning during scriptures!) The situation is beyond desperate. And desperate times call for desperate measures. And sometimes it does actually "take a village" to raise these kids.
I loved that dentist appointment today. I love that sweet hygienist. And I love that there are compassionate people willing to reinforce the things we try so hard to do at home. Hopefully the message will sink in, and my non-tooth brusher will soon be able to add "ridiculously clean teeth" to her list of amazing qualities.