Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Two-fers. Not what you thought.

Scene: Orthodontist's office at 3:52 pm. I am filling out a ream of paperwork asking invasive questions about my two eldest children's dental health, history and... preferences? What the crap does THAT mean?

A smiling lady bursts through the door to the waiting room and basically shouts, "HEY KIDS! LET'S GO!" and waves us in.

We follow her back and she introduces herself as Mildred, the dental assistant, and then points to my son, calls him by his sister's name, then does the same with my daughter. My daughter giggles and corrects Mildred, who is enjoying the joke. I smile and look at my 10, then immediately bug my eyes out and step back, for my 10 looks like he is going to MURDER this woman where she stands.

A moment.

These two kids are seventeen months apart, which means for the first 8 years of their lives they were best buddies. Then, something shifted and now they are constantly at each other's throats. I don't know what changed, really. The tide? A door slammed somewhere and one of them got pissed? I am forever being reassured that they are going through a stage and will eventually work things out and I remember my childhood with six kids in the house and what we put our parents through. I can't believe Mumsie made it out of there alive. But. I am forever lecturing, disciplining and redirecting these two when it comes to respecting each other and the like. I pray every night that they make it through the following day, but sometimes I wonder if they will ever be able to fully tolerate each other again.

Anyway. Back to the Ortho's office.

The 10 is absolutely fuming, so I grab him around the shoulders, tousle his hair and shuffle both of the kids into the room as I whisper threats into my son's ear not to embarrass me.

My daughter plops herself into the chair and goes through her exam. Mildred is taking the appropriate notes and trying to engage my son in some witty Tooth Banter or something and my son's responses are like darts to her face.

Mildred: Are you in sixth grade this year?

10: [barely audible] Mrhphth.

Mildred: What was that, hon?

10: [stares at her, replies matter-of-fact] I said YES. You should have heard what I said because I said it loud enough.

Mildred: Oh, my. Little spitfire, aren't you? [laughs, looks at papers] Do you ever suck you thumb?

10: [genuinely offended as though Mildred had asked if he ate puppies] Do I LOOK like I suck my thumb? I mean, that's the 9 [points to sister] and she does that stuff. Not me. Why are you asking me that? I'm not a baby. You should be asking HER that question. Not me.


10: What.

Me: You are being rude.

10: I am?


Mildred busies herself with adjusting her gaze.

10: I'm not trying to be rude.

Me: Silence. NOW.

10: [pouts]

We go on to complete both exams without further incident and then Mildred shows me some figures.

Milred: Blah cuspid retract yadda dental yoodle novocain braces molar TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.

Me: [chokes on gum, needs to be airlifted to nearest hospital] What did you say?

Mildred: Well, that is for both children.


Mildred: [surprisingly without empathy] It's five thousand per child.

Me: Okay, thanks. BYE.

So it looks like two things are happening. My kids will learn to smile with their mouths closed and I think I just found my new career. 

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