It’s that time. It’s time to give my children the gift my parents still refer to as my most expensive possession, a gift my kids will use every single day of their lives. I will now give to my children the gift of good teeth. I will give to their orthodontist the gift of a Hawaiian vacation.
We’ve been putting this off for years, as friends all around us are getting their kids in braces younger and younger. I don’t see a point in emptying my bank account into my kids’ mouths, only to have to do it again when the rest of their permanent teeth come in. But recently our dentist suggested we get their oral weirdnesses looked at.
So, yesterday we found ourselves in a big cheerful office with a huge Nemo tank. Aren’t all fish tanks Nemo tanks these days?
“Great fish tank, but where in the world has Nemo gone? We have to find him!”
I started off my relationship with the desk staff on an awesome note by complaining about the repetitive nature of the online paperwork we filled out.
The paperwork was super annoying and redundant, but if you’re beginning a multi-year relationship with a team of people who are the gatekeepers to your children’s highly-expensive, highly-skilled health care provider, it’s probably better not to alienate them at first go.
“Welcome to our office! Thank you so much for filling out the paperwork in advance.”
“Thanks. And, about that paperwork, it’s the worst. I challenge you to go through and pretend you’re a new patient filling it out for her two kids. I had to type out my address no fewer than six times. It is the worst. Did I mention it is bad and I did not enjoy filling it out? I’m not a complainer, though. I only complain because it was bad with a great badness and not the eighties Michael Jackson kind. The ungood, opposite of awesome, super annoying kind of bad. Nice to meet you.”
They seemed to take it in stride, but then when the treatment coordinator came out to greet us (she wasn’t there for my tirade), she apologized for my negative experience with the paperwork. Word had reached her. Not good. You don’t want to be THAT lady.
We were taken into an office and that’s when the gifts began, t-shirts for all the kids, balloons, tooth brushes, gift cards. I was even entered into a drawing for a mother’s day basket by having my kids write nice things about me on paper flowers.
I like this one from Magoo that says I’m the best mom in the world because I let them stay up late. This was written in direct response to me stupidly letting them stay up way too late last Friday watching old episodes of Star Trek until two of my three kids ended up having nightmares about salt monsters. I’m the best. It’s the truth.
I know the swag is just a normal thing at orthodontists. When I was in high school, my orthodontist’s office was like a luxury playground. But am I the only one who gets nervous as her kids are picking prizes out of a basket, their new dental wardrobe slung over one shoulder? Someone is paying for all this. Wait. It’s me.
Laylee and Magoo both desperately want braces so I told them not to get too excited because , “Each set of braces is roughly equivalent to one trip to Disneyland for the entire family.” Disney has t-shirts too and the rides are way more fun.
But our doctor seems cool and is not one to rush things so we ended up with an order for a tooth extraction, a retainer for Magoo, and Laylee gets to wait six months or so because apparently you need to have teeth to receive orthodontic treatment. She lost six molars in a 48-hour period last week and is drinking her food these days.
Laylee was disappointed.
Magoo is counting the days until he gets his glow-in-the-dark retainer with the spider on it. We pick it up on his birthday.
“Mom. It occurs to me that now I have three awesome things to look forward to on my birthday this year. One – well, it’s my BIRTHDAY! Two – I get to have a tooth extracted. And Three – I get to start wearing a retainer.”
“You don’t get the tooth extracted on your actual birthday.”
“Oh,” he looks disappointed, “Well, two awesome things then.”
Awesome as a tooth extraction.