#Mama moments : My Toddler’s First Trip to the Dentist

To be honest I’ve been putting off taking A to the Dentist for a while.

I imagined crazy screaming and that it would be absolutely unbearable alone, so simply decided that I wasn’t going to do it by myself. My plan was to wait until my husband was free. He has a knack for lovingly encouraging my daughter to do things that she is scared of. Great strategy. But I kind of didn’t check when my husband was free. I didn’t try to co-ordinate his work at home dates with dental appointment dates. In the salsa of toddler life, I didn’t make a Dentist appointment.

Months of procrastination and two whole years of A’s life later, I decided enough was enough. When brushing her teeth I noticed she had a molar coming in which had a flap of skin on it which looked a bit odd to me. She had also had most of her teeth for at least a year.

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I booked a dentist appointment for just us two.

To try to prepare her, I spoke to her about the ‘Doctor for teeth’; she likes doctors and has good understanding about what they do.

We spoke about how Dentists are really nice and help to look after our teeth. I even broke my basically zero screen time rule to show her a Youtube video of a child visiting the dentist.

This week we had our appointment.Everything was fine until we got into the Dentist’s room. As usual she keenly observed everything and seemed fine as I placed her on a chair with her favourite toys as my teeth got checked. With my limited vision, I noticed that she watched as my teeth were examined with a mirror and then cleaned. However,when I was done and  no longer horizontal, I could see that she had tears in her eyes as she watched me ardently. I think the noise from the cleaning equipment must have scared her; she hates the vacuum cleaner. She may have also been worried about me. She gave me a small, brave smile.

When it was her turn to get her teeth checked initially she did not want to go on the dentist’s chair with me although I managed to coax her onto it. She sat on my lap and did not want to open her mouth. She held ferociously onto ‘baby’, her beloved doll.

 

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Luckily the Dentist was good with children. She spoke to her about looking at her doll’s teeth. She asked her questions whilst managing to get a quick glimpse of her mouth. The dentist explained to me that everything she could see looked great. She also reassured me that the flap of skin on her molar was common when teeth are coming in. The Dentist did not want to push A further, as she was mindful that she wanted her to feel comfortable at future visits. My daughter got a sticker. We agreed that we would try again in 6 months.

I feel bad that I left the appointment so long. A part of me also feels a bit useless, as I did not manage to get A to open her mouth although I know that  I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.

Seeing the tears in her eyes after I got my teeth cleaned makes me realise that although my daughter is very independent and clever, emotionally she is truly 2 years old and needs my support.

We’ll try again in 6 months. Next time, I’m definitely checking my husband’s diary and will  be taking him with us. I’m also vowing to take some time out to schedule fixed appointments for the year ahead so that I do not get distracted by life and book appointments in good time.

Any tips for taking a toddler to the Dentist and  getting them to actually open their mouth?

I hope you’re having a good week

Nat

xx

 

A Wake Up Call: Time to start teaching my own child

So this blog post has been in my drafts for 6 months without getting published. This meeting was a pivotal moment for me in how I see my role as a mother and how I interact with my daughter, so I’m going to dust it off and publish it. Lesson learned, I will try very hard to make sure blog posts do not just fester in Open Office.

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So today I had a bit of a wake up call. A and I were at baby group; she was crawling around, exploring some books and I got speaking to another mum. Her daughter,who was notably older than A, was an absolute angel and I couldn’t help but watch her in awe. She would play with toys calmly, walk carefully around all of the other sprawling children and lovingly pat my daughter.

She exuded intelligence, great manners and a well developed character. My teacher antenna, which is usually very accurate, calculated that she was around three years old so I was even more astounded to discover that she was not yet two.

I spoke to her mum to try to work out what the secret was.The- not- yet two year old prodigy had older siblings which tends to boost development, however there was something else there. I dug further; her mum worked in early years and used what she had learnt in her job with her daughter.

The pieces of the puzzle seemed to fit but this left me feeling disappointed in my self. I am a Primary School Teacher and have been so for almost seven years, most of my experience has been in the early years foundation stage. For some strange reason I did not think I could do much of the early years stuff I had learnt with A as I am used to teaching those who are at least three years old.

I told the super mum this, she looked me in the eyes and said with her East African twang ‘Do not undermine her, she can learn, just do things at her level’. Now thinking about it, it seems so obvious.

I did begin on the path of at least thinking of using my carefully cultivated teaching skills with A. I made sure I had a copy of the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance for example but I never did anything with it beyond having a flick through and recalling my memories of all of the activities it helped me to plan.

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Meeting this little girl today changed all that. I am not going to try to make A one of those kids who goes to university at 10 years old, if that happens great (though I’m not sure if that life so young is so great for social development) but that is not my aim. However, meeting this girl and her mum has made me realise that I need to at least to try to use some of what I have learnt on my own child. Now I feel so silly that I overlooked purposefully using my teaching skills on my daughter. I am not going to make it seem like school, she is no where ready for that and when school comes she’ll have plenty of super structured learning in a pressured environment. However she is now interested in pens for example and pencils to grab them out of my hand as I write. I’ve let her dabble in mark making a little bit but the teacher side of me knows about resources and activities that can enhance her development even further so I will use it.

I have dabbled a bit in activities that have drawn on my teaching skills and knowledge but from now on I’m going to consciously do this.

I have now decided but every week I will focus on an area of development that A seems to be interested in or could do with developing. I will make the activities fun, easy going and in line with her interests. I feel like the ‘new mum, oh my god what am I doing?’ side of me has gone and the knowledgeable, experienced, conscientious Early Years Teacher side of me has emerged out of hibernation. I’m looking forward to looking after my gorgeous A with my teacher brain plugged in a bit more often.

Update on A

Age 9 months and 3 weeks

New skills: Crawling, lifting herself up whilst holding onto everything and anything

Recent i love being a mum moment: snotty, wet kisses all over my face yesterday as she held onto me

Current Quotes: ‘The hand of god can be in our lives in unexpected ways through unexpected encounters’

© Mummy Blossom 2018

Motherhood: sieving out the rubbish

Becoming a mother has changed me. I don’t have much time for myself anymore so now find myself evaluating what to do with the minuscule moments I can capture.

Before having A, I used to spend too much time with people who didn’t make me feel good. Now I literally don’t have time for that. Spending time with toxic people means I need to invest time in  washing all of their crap off of me after our encounter. It is just not worth it or sensical anymore. I don’t have time to see someone then spend even more time meditating their bad vibes away.

I used to put effort in relationships in which I was the only person putting effort in, the only one doing the ‘friendship work’, once again I no longer have time for that. I’m too busy making toddler friendly meals, running after A with shoes that she really is not feeling having on her feet or talking to her in detail about the 65th bird that she has noticed.

I now put proposed activities through a ‘Is it worth my time?’ analysis machine.  I am grateful for all of the ways motherhood has changed me and is changing me. Too often I just looked at motherhood as an amazing, sacred experience which simultaneously  robbed me of the time to have a simple shower or engage in basic human activities like watching four hours of Netflix  (this is me making a joke by the way).

I feel like my lack of time has had the unexpected benefit of forcing me to respect myself more and not engage in things that are not good for me. I find it ironic that having more responsibility and restrictions as I  look after my daughter has liberated me in many fundamental ways.

Have you found that motherhood has changed you for the better? Do you think having less time can actually be a good thing sometimes?

© Mummy Blossom 2018