So we went back to the dentist yesterday. This time, we had to get two molds done and a quick bite impression. I’m so glad we practiced the molds before we went. We spent a lot of time opening his mouth, shoving his fingers in and holding the pose for 20 seconds. That was about the best we could do to create an experience close to what he was gonna have. We made the whole thing a game. We got a little silly with the counting and the sound effects for when we opened and shut his mouth. When it came time to do it, there was no whining, no crying, no screaming, no foot- stomping. Even as his eyes were watering with that goo in his mouth, he was a champ. It was a proud moment.
The bite impression, which was by far an easier process, was a little different. They hadn’t told me about that (and I had asked, a couple times, if there would be anything other than molds). He wanted no part of sticking that warm pink wax in his mouth. I give him a ton of credit though. With only a minor outburst or two, he let us put it in. He just didn’t understand that he was supposed to bite down on it. And we tried several different moves…modeling it for him, pushing up on his chin while pushing down on the top of his head. No luck. By this point, he was irritated. And I was slightly annoyed…if I would have only known they were gonna do that…
So we took a break. They left us alone in the room with him and I started digging through my purse. Gum. I had gum. Jakob has never put gum in his mouth before but it was the best shot I had. We needed that impression if we wanted to get that mouthpiece made and I didn’t wanna have to come all the way back for just a quick bite.
I took out a piece of Orbit, showed it to him and then stuck it in my mouth. I held it as I bit down hard on one side and I made some silly face and some weird noise (he likes that). Then I showed him “my teeth” in the gum. He checked it out. He seemed interested and didn’t scream “no teeth” at me. We had movement in a good direction so I did it a couple more times. With still no resistance from him, I got him his own piece and to my pleasant surprise, he let me put it in his mouth and he bit down on it. Several times. Willingly. Huh. Cool. I explained that that was what we needed him to do with the warm pink stuff and that it would be just one quick bite and it would be over. He seemed to grasp the concept so we grabbed the nurse and we got it done. Wow. That was awesome.
That hour at the dentist easily represented the whole of our existence in this journey. Preparation is key. Inner and outer calm is a must. Loving persistence while allowing him to do it in his own time is the only way it gets done peacefully. Fun and enthusiasm coming from a sincere place is golden.
When those elements are present, our odds of really connecting are pretty great. When I think about it, all those elements are exactly how I like to be handled, dealt with, interacted with. Whenever someone treats me with that kind of respect, I’m gonna like them and want to hang out with them more often.
It’s easy to lose sight of that in the craziness that life can be when I’m not being present. And who would’ve ever thought I’d be reminded of such valuable lessons at of all places, the dentist. I can only imagine how far we’ll go if I can be that present all the time.
I guess I know what to practice.