In case we hadn’t heard, Thing #2 screamed once more, “I don’t want it!”
The “it” he referred to was the very large needle in the hands of the very patient dentist, who was trying to inject additional numbing medication so she could move on with the extraction. Her partner, the other dentist in the practice, tried saying lots of encouraging things to #2 in an effort to calm him down. These things were being said in rapid-fire Spanish, and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that #2 probably wasn’t picking up a lot of what was being thrown down.
I’d once again drawn the short straw on the parenting front and was using my hands, and my girth, to pin #2’s hands to his sides whilst trying to avoid catching one of his flailing knees in my face. No one was having a good time here on the dentist’s chair, least of all the patient.
“I don’t want it!” He screamed again, causing the dentist to jerk back the needle lest it become impaled in #2’s nose.
All the screaming lured #1 in from the waiting room for a look. #1 had already completed his exam/cleaning and had emerged unscathed. Feeling quite proud of himself, #1 stuck his head under my arms and stared intently at his flailing brother. Before I could say much about the fact that the chair meant for one patient and one nearby dentist was already at 200% capacity, #1 pulled his head back, announced “Yuck!” and slunk back to the waiting room–pausing only long enough to ask me if this was a good time for him to use my phone.
I then experienced a flashback (not about #1 asking to use my phone as this happens so often that it’s not possible for it to ever be considered the past) of the last time I’d attempted to pin #2 to a doctor’s chair. In that episode #2 was four-years-old, and had unfortunately been bitten by a dog that was roughly three times his size. The bite had, luckily, just missed the eye, but as our friend the plastic surgeon tried to stitch up the ragged gash just above #2’s eye I had been tasked to use my body as a human blanket to keep the patient glued down to the chair.
With the needle and thread hovering just above his eye, #2 had thrashed his head about whilst using his small hands to grab my fleshy parts so he could draw blood with his tiny, but quite sharp fingernails. I’d said all of the nice things that I thought were good to say in this situation, but had received just one response, over and over, “I don’t want it!”
The only thing that had turned the tide on the stitches episode was the ice cream that we gave #2 post-op. Kind, reassuring words (in English even) were one thing, but ice cream took things up to an entirely new, infinitely more desirable level. Within seconds of receiving the ice cream all crying had ceased and the perpetual look of pain had turned into an overly large grin. Because of this positive reaction to ice cream I believe I can be forgiven for going to this same well during the invasive dental procedure and blurting out, “If you stop fighting it’ll all be over soon and we’ll get ice cream!”
That declaration had no impact on #2, who was still ogling the giant needle, but earned me a dirty look from both of the dentists. A look that said, “Ice cream? Really? You may have forgotten already but we’re going through all of this because your son has a cavity the size of Nebraska on a baby molar that hasn’t been successfully flossed since the Kennedy administration.”
I cowered, embraced the pain coming from my thumb where #2’s nails had found a way to the bone, and resigned myself to my fate. Twenty minutes later my bride arrived at the dentist’s office and was given a hero’s welcome by what remained of #2’s fragile psyche. I, in turn, received: the bill, looks that could kill from #2 as he embraced his momma, another request for the use of my phone from #1 and the knowledge that I would volunteer my bride for all future opportunities to bring #2 to a medical establishment. Trip to the doctor? I don’t want it.