(getting on our coats)
Hank: Mom, I am beyond anticipation.
Me: Are you now nervous?
Me: All people fear the dentist. Everyone. The dentist will not take it personally, unless you bite them. Never bite your dentist.
Hank: That’s not what I am worried about. They are all very nice.
Me: Then what are you worried about?
Hank: (pause) Will it hurt?
Me: Would you like me to lie to you or do you want to face the truth?
Me: I need to know the level of preparation you can handle, because regardless you will still be having this procedure even if you cry, especially if you cry.
Hank: Mom, will it hurt?
Hank: (groan and buckle with a nervous giggle)
Me: They will entirely numb your upper lip, but that injection hurts, like a vaccine. It is a pinch and a burn and then they will be working in your mouth with bright lights and pressure for 30 minutes, but I promise you that you can handle it.
Me: You survived mononucleosis. You have gotten IV’s. You have been sick for weeeeeeks at a time with high fevers and whole body pain. This will be 30 uncomfortable and probably scary minutes of your life but it may save you years and years of painful braces.
Hank: 30 minutes is better than years.
Me: Yes and this will be the worst experience you will ever have at the dentist. Every other visit will be like a spa day. This is not typical. Do not judge the dentist based on today. Go in, be as brave as possible and know after 30 minutes you will never have to experience this again.
Hank: And I get to eat ice cream.
Me: I got two huge cartons just for you. No one else.
Hank: But what if I need braces?
Me: Then I will get you braces.
Hank: But they are so expensive!
Me: And I will gladly pay any price for your smile! I love your smile! And besides you take care of yourself and I want to invest in that. Most other 10 year olds need to be reminded to take care of their oral hygiene, but not you! Twice a day, every day and flossing without me saying a word!
Hank: I like to take care of myself.
Me: And I like to support that. So… are you ready?
Hank: No, but I am going anyway.
Me: Brave people are just as scared as a coward, they just do it anyway.
Hank: Will you hold my hand?
Me: I will hold your hand and won’t let go.
(Hank endured the cutting of his upper frenulum with only tears and minor wailing. I myself would not have done as well. Three hygienists were in the room to restrain him, but he sat still as a stone and everyone was beyond impressed with how he endured while they completed their work. Hank has ten stitches and earned himself an extra carton of ice cream and a day off school. It was not easy for him, but I held his hand the whole time which he said helped.)