Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Dentist

His appointment was May 1st.

We've been practicing for a month.  Literally, a month.

First there was "The Dentist Story."  It was a handwritten story that one of his therapist wrote.  It laid out  how we were going to practice going to the Dentist, what the list would look like on the big day of the things we would do at the Dentist, and how he will be a big boy.  He was OBSESSED with the book.  Took it to school, made everyone read it, and even took it to bed with him.

Then it was practicing Dentist during therapy.  The therapists made video models (where we tape them doing the desired activity for Jonathan to watch).  He would watch the videos over and over and over.  He had them memorized.  Then he wanted to perform them, like a little play.  They would practice during therapy too.  He was letting the girls brush his teeth and count them.  He even wanted to play Dentist at school.

Then we hit a snag.  When it was time to brush his teeth in the morning and at night, he HAD to do it like the video models.  I don't blame him.  This was his current favorite thing to do. But lately he's been getting stuck on activities, so brushing teeth before bed would take an hour sometimes.  In frustration when trying to get him to lay down to sleep, I would grumble, "Lay down!"  He would respond, "Open mouth!"  Touche, young man.  Touche.

So the big day came.  He was ready.  I left work early to go pick him up.  One of his therapist had a bag ready for me with all the practice items...Handy Manny, toothbrushes, a blanket to lay down on the chair, his book, the lists....we were set up for success!

We arrived at the Dentist.  Stephanie, Jonathan's senior therapist, was there to help too.  Jonathan was reading down the list, crossing off completed tasks.  He was excited!  We even got to the part of "going into the Dentist's room and sitting in chair."  We were rocking the list!

And then.....lay down.

Forget it!  He wanted no part.  We let him practice on Handy Manny.  We let him practice on Stephanie.  But now, it was go time.  And he wanted no part. 

So what do you think I did?  What any mother would do of course.  I laid on his legs and held his arms while the Dentist brush, counted and did his thing.  Jonathan screamed the whole time.  But I have to say, he knew what he wanted.  "STAND UP!  ALL DONE!  STAND UP!"

The best was when the Dentist said, "OK, I'm going to count to 20."  And Jonathan yelled back, "26!  You want 26!"  (They had been practicing counting 26 teeth in therapy). 

So when it was over, Jonathan got up, gave the Dentist a high-five, and was ready to roll.  Tears were gone, and he was fine.  Except, there was an elevator under repair in the lobby.  He has a new fascination with elevators.  As a friend said, it was like salt in the wound because he could not ride the broken elevator.  The elevator repair man was there and let us look inside.  After that, we were good.

The appointment, with all the practice and preparation, was a little bit of a disappointment.  But at least we got over it.  And I can only hope each time will get better and better.  I'm glad I don't have to lie to my son about where we are going and what is going to happen on these appointments. And I"m thankful for the Dentist staff for being understanding.  And for all our therapists who let Jonathan brush their teeth and get all up close to them in practice.  Small steps.  Small steps.

Oh, and he still has to lay down to brush his teeth in the morning and at night.  And he does have 26 teeth.  He counts them twice a day too.

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