You see, the Mad Hatter is one of those kids who is fearless. She totally beats to her own drum. We think it's great - she is outgoing, caring, full of personality, and not afraid to try new things. The scary thing is, sometimes she's too fearless and I worry how we can teach her about safety for her own good without crushing that amazing spirit that is the essence of the MH.
The flipside of this fearlessness is her strong need for nurturing that sometimes extends to the point of coddling. Not coddling in a bad way, but as in a pick your battles, "Mommy can't feel good about having a martini at 9AM so we need to stop this fit before it happens" kind of way. Part of me thinks on some level it's insecurity. My back problems started before she was two, so all she has ever known is that Mommy has a back boo-boo and needs a lot of rest. As much of my undivided attention as she gets (and believe me, she gets as much if not more than I can physically and emotionally give), it seems like it's never enough. And since she's certainly not going to have any siblings for some time, Hubby and I are concerned that this is the age where we really need to crack down because if everything goes her way, we've got a spoiled brat on our hands. So, we continue to pick our battles and stay tough when we need to.
She's a paradox (find me a 3 year old who isn't). She's so independent, yet if something is out of place, or not done in the right "order" we're doomed. Example: bedtime routine is lamp off, turn on white noise machine, start CD. Usually. Then, of course, there are the variations. Sometimes SHE wants to put on the noise. But, uh-oh, Daddy did it. Even though we always start snuggle time with song # 3 (who doesn't love Skiddamarink-a-dink-a-dink?), tonight she wanted #2 first. And instead of expressing her feelings, she melts into hysterics, and the only way we can appease the situation is to start the whole routine over again. Maybe this is typical behavior for a 3 year old. Maybe she has OCD.
Regardless, I was unsure of what lay ahead at the dentist. Would she embrace it with open arms or flip out the second they tried to touch her? With the MH, you just never know. DH and I spent a few days talking about the special doctor called the dentist, we practiced opening our mouths super wide, I told her about the magic toothbrush they were going to use. By Tuesday night, I heard DH threaten her behavior with "If you keep it up, I don't know if Mommy's going to be able to take you to the dentist tomorrow" and she snapped right into shape! Still, I wasn't exhaling just yet.
Yesterday morning came. She couldn't wait to go. Armed with the help of Sweetheart, off we went. We got there and walked down a long hallway to the bathrooms - it was hand-painted with an underwater scene not unreminiscent of The Little Mermaid. MH WORSHIPS Ariel. A variety of fish, including a Sebastian-like crab were all holding toothbrushes. Woo Hoo! More ammo for Mommy to keep going on about the excitement that is having clean teeth! Oh, the little things it takes to make me happy.
The hygienist calls us, and we're through the ocean and into the Jungle, where the whole tooth business takes place. Every jungle animal under the sun was brushing their teeth. There were tropical flowers. There was a 3-D monkey on the wall wearing ginormous sunglasses. I asked if I could have my teeth done when they finished up with MH.
The staff could not have been better - MH got to see and touch everything. She got a brand new Ariel toothbrush. Fabulous shades so the light wouldn't bother her. A mirror to check out her teeth. A ride up and down on the chair. Her choice of toothpaste flavor (strawberry) and flouride treatment (orange). They were SUPER fast with the cleaning (and showing Mommy how to get around that mouth as quickly as possible at home). A prize bag (hand decorated, with her name on it) to take home. Did I mention they were FABULOUS? Well, they were.
She had a BALL. She was slightly apprehensive when it came to lying her head back in the chair, but other than that, she would have stayed all day if they let her. The highlight of her day was showing Daddy her new toothbrush and toothpaste when he got home.
We shared a celebratory lunch (after waiting, of course, the requisite 30 minutes past her flouride treatment)
She has brushed about 6 times since yesterday afternoon. She has not stopped telling anyone who will listen (including those men who came to cut down our trees this morning) about her trip to the dentist. We had a Skype chat with my SIL in MN, and she insisted that we bring the laptop into the bathroom so Auntie P could see her new toothbrush and watch her brush her teeth. And of course, she has the flashing those pearly whites move down perfectly.
I'm thrilled. The unknown had a great outcome. Will I be holding my breath for our appointment in 6 months? You betcha!