Greenhorn

Y’all, I made a classic rookie mistake today.

My oldest son had an adult tooth barge in before the baby tooth was ready to depart, so he had to have the little guy pulled today. I had never heard of such a thing until his best friend had the exact same procedure, but apparently it’s fairly normal. Baby teeth aren’t connected to deep roots like adult teeth, so it’s actually a pretty simple process to just yank it out, especially when it’s already a tad loose.

Urgent affection at Urgent Care

Jackson is seven and has to my knowledge never done any illicit drugs, so I was kind of watching the nitrous oxide situation to see how he handled it, and I have to say it’s super weird to see your elementary school kid high as a kite. Last time I had laughing gas I thought I had landed on Mars (the dentist’s light is kind of orange and I could hear myself breathing like I was in a space suit) and my husband thought he was a robot (a machine was beeping in the background and he thought he was beeping). When Jackson finally cleared the drugs from his foggy little brain, he said he thought he had eight eyes. The moral of the story here is nitrous is fantastic and makes all procedures easier and more pleasant and it should be standard, but also kids doing drugs is very uncomfortable.

I had sympathy anxiety at this appointment and was all tense and clenched and really wished they’d give me a little laughing gas just to take the edge off. You know when you have to take your kid to do something unpleasant and you want to just say, “never mind, let’s skip it,” but you are the adult so you have to force them to get their flu shot/have a cavity filled/have their tonsils out? Yeah. He had a cleaning a couple months ago and was told to wiggle that tooth like crazy so it would just fall out, but alas, it refused. It’s been the same amount of “loose” since January, and the big tooth just kept plowing through until it got harder to wiggle the baby. He said it was uncomfortable to eat apples and corn on the cob, so we had it evicted today. It took thirty seconds and he was so high he didn’t know the doctor had done it. All in all, a successful visit to the dentist.

We put off a lot of stuff during the pandemic because we were so high risk. I called the pediatrician when it was time for their well visits and the office confirmed none of my children were due for vaccines and the checkup was just a chance to discuss my concerns, and at the time my number one concern was my kids contracting COVID-19, so we postponed the visits until about a month ago. Those visits led to blood work for all three kids to check on their allergies, and then the dentist visit followed, leading to this extra appointment today.

What was the mistake I made, you ask? On the way home from Jackson’s dentist appointment, like some kind of new parent, first time mom, first day on the job IDIOT, I said, “whew, glad that’s over! No more appointments for a while!” Like, what did I think would happen? Veteran parents know you never voice your relief that a difficult phase has passed. Ever. Do not say that shit out loud. Definitely do not congratulate yourself on getting all that awful adulting out of the way so you can really enjoy your summer at long last.

I was feeling so confident and pleased that the appointment had gone well and my son was feeling great that I decided to bathe the kids while my husband was working so he wouldn’t have to do it in the evening. Just a little light martyrdom on a Wednesday afternoon. My five year old said he felt like he had water in his ear after the bath, so I convinced him to let me put a little Swimmer’s Ear in there to dry it out. Archie has always had trouble with sensory stuff, so it took some convincing to get him to agree because last time we tried the drops he complained they made his ear too cold. I assured him I had warmed the bottle in my hand, but not too warm, as that was also a concern, and he finally laid down in my lap.

I got one drop in his ear and he absolutely hit the ceiling, screaming and holding the side of his face. Swimmer’s Ear does not hurt, so I waited for him to take a breath and calm down, thinking his reaction might be colored by his distaste for new sensations, but he only grew more insistent. He wailed and held his ear and told me it hurt so badly and it was only getting worse, so I tried to talk him down and get him to show me where exactly it hurt. He wouldn’t let me near his ear and continued to howl and sob, so off to urgent care we went.

The doctor found inflammation in Archie’s ear, probably from his seasonal allergies, and it was a bit raw. Swimmer’s Ear is mostly alcohol, so I pretty much set his ear on fire with those drops. All that work reasoning with him and explaining that we needed to put the drops in so he *wouldn’t get an ear infection* and then I go and pour acid on a wound in his ear canal and set us back a full year of sensory progress. The poor kid. Unfortunately, one of the medications the doctor prescribed is ear drops, and Archie has already declared he will abstain.

The alcohol finally dried out and he is feeling better. The only issue he had before the drops was a clogged ear, so once the drops were gone he was much happier, but jeez. I was ready to spend the afternoon watching movies with the kids curled up on the couch after the trauma of watching my son have a tooth ripped out of his head.

Parents with multiple kids or kids over the age of four know you can’t say stuff like “that phase is behind us!” out loud. When your first kid’s tooth finally breaks through and you’re thinking, thank God now we can get some sleep, do not say it out loud! It’s best not to think it at all, really, because after that tooth there’s another one, and then a growth spurt where they’re always hungry, and then those middle of the night scream sessions that accompany learning any new skill. Learned to sit? Scream all night. Learned to crawl? Scream all night. Learned to stand? Scream all night.

I remember after my oldest turned two and I had the nerve to say, “well, I guess we got lucky! He’s not terrible at all!” Yeah. The Terrible Twos don’t start the day they turn two. In fact, both boys were kind of ragey at eighteen months and then again at two and a half, so don’t count your chickens, man. Even if your kid doesn’t go through a Terrible Two phase, maybe when they turn three you’ll find out they are a biter at school. There’s always something, and it’s usually multiple somethings.

I love my kids, and I’d absolutely do all this over again if given the chance, but seriously, don’t come visit and say, “aw, that daughter of yours will always love you,” because things are just going too well with her and we are due for a wretched phase any minute, so don’t speak it into existence before we’re braced for impact.

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