“She’s got to get used to it…”

I took E to the dentist today. It’s the second time we’ve been and the main purpose, apart from to check her teeth, is to familiarise her with going to the dentist. So wouldn’t you, if you were a dentist and had that stated purpose, make some kind of effort to treat her accordingly?

I realise you shouldn’t expect too much from dentists – never has a song been more apt than Dentist! in Little Shop of Horrors – but really, you can’t just sit down beside a two-year old, start to stick a mirror in her mouth and expect her to behave unless you talk to her first so she’s used to you.

It was a stark contrast to our trip to the hairdresser the other day, another experience she’ll have to get used to. The hairdresser said hello, didn’t wave implements about, and had a chat before we got anywhere near doing her hair. She also didn’t seem to mind too much when E wriggled so much, despite it mot making her job easier. At the end of the haircut E gave her a massive hug and waved goodbye.

She wouldn’t have done that to the dentist. The lady wasn’t imposing, but just could have been friendlier and had a bit more common sense. E clamped her mouth down, I had to explain everything to her, she kept her frowning eyes on the dentist at all times and the second the dentist had done a hand appeared from behind us and thrust a sticker into her hand. These people aren’t used to children.

The people in the waiting room, however, loved her. This was partly because she’d made them all laugh earlier while we were waiting. It was crowded and she’d been catching people’s eyes while I filled out her health form (The form contained questions such as “Do you chew tobacco? I was tempted to tick yes just to see if they were paying attention…) A toilet was situated just off the waiting room and a patient came out from the examination room and used it. E looked up and announced loudly, “That lady’s having a poo!” The family at the end cracked up. Luckily the lady in question didn’t hear…

For some reason all the first experiences books about dentists all contain a scene where the dentist removes a tooth. None of them talk to you about brushing properly. Why is this? As a first experience, I didn’t have a tooth removed until my 30s.

Which reminds me, I’ve not done a ‘we read’ column lately. Here you go.

I’ve been reading: Unexploded by Alison MacLeod. I think I liked this. It was slow. It was a little predictable. I think I liked it because it was set in Brighton and the wartime experience of Brighton was interesting. The writing reflected the period of waiting the town experienced before the Battle of Britain, when no one was sure where or when the German invasion would come. So the storyline of a fearful housewife stuck in an odd marriage, and her husband, Superintendent of the internment camp for enemy aliens, was rather languid as a result.

E is reading: Aunt Amelia by Rebecca Cobb. Luckily E hasn’t noticed I’ve had to take this back to the library. It was a great hit with her – the story of two children whose parents go away for a night and leave them in the care of their mysterious Aunt Amelia, a crocodile. They go through their parents’ list of what not to do and have a lovely time. E finds it enchanting. The author is the illustrator of The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson and the pictures have a similar quality to them.

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