Riley’s fervent adherence to school rules has been a bit of a surprise this year. Given the two extremes, I’d much rather deal with a kid who is maybe a little too rigid about school than one who’s constantly getting in trouble, but his attitude hasn’t been without its challenges. At a recent parent teacher conference, his teacher confessed that she worried about him a little — he did just fine in the classroom, but in less structured environments (like the playground) he’s sometimes a little … lost at sea. He worries about whether other kids are doing the right thing, and has on occasion tattled on another kid for doing something he perceives as wrong — for instance, there was a blowup a couple weeks ago when a boy wasn’t “letting girls go first” on the tetherball, and being mean to one girl in the process, and Riley told on him. That all erupted in a giant freakout from the other kid, screaming he didn’t want to be Riley’s friend any more, and his teacher — bless her heart — actually ended up telling the other kid that she’d already known, to save Riley the trauma of being The One Who Got Him in Trouble, and …

Well. Anyway, so we’ve been talking a lot about problem solving (and it’s all so difficult, because he gets teary-eyed and comes back with “But the teachers say to tell when there’s a problem!”) but my point here is that Riley’s oddly serious about certain things, and one of those things is brushing his teeth. There was a program at the beginning of the school year, I guess it involved a film and other things, and ever since he’s been so, so diligent about brushing and flossing. “I don’t want to get cavities,” he says. “I don’t want to have to get that drill.”

Given this newfound focus on oral hygiene, it seems particularly awful that what I thought was going to be a routine dental checkup yesterday turned into Riley’s First Tooth Extraction.

He had this shark-row thing going on his lower front teeth — two loose but stubborn baby teeth, with the permanents crowding right behind — and while one finally fell out, the other was just hanging in there. We set up the appointment to have it looked at, and I told him that’s all they were going to do, but I was suuuuuuuuuper wrong.

JB took him to the appointment (he’s always taken the boys to their dental cleanings, because, I can’t lie, I’ve always been too terrified of their reactions). I got a few extremely tense text updates during the two-hour process, but the real story was in how he looked when they got home: white-faced, with a sort of ‘Nam thousand-yard-stare in his eyes. (I’m talking about JB, here. Riley was tear-streaked but already ready to show me his tooth.)

They’d decided that since the tooth definitely needed to come out, it’d be best to just get it over with, and as soon as Riley got wind of what was happening he completely lost his shit. There are times when my sensitive boy reacts to something (a scraped knee, say) with so much drama that I have zero patience for it, but a tooth being pulled? Yeah, that legitimately sucks a whole lot. I can’t even imagine what all went on in that room — the screaming, the panicking, the entire team trying to calm him, JB having to physically hold him down, the failed nitrous, the fact that some of the cherry-scented stuff they put in the nitrous managed to get in Riley’s EYE — but it took so much out of JB he said it was the hardest thing he’d ever done as a parent.

“When it was finally all over, I just … I don’t know, I hugged the dentist,” he told me. “I just really needed a hug from someone right then.”

Poor Riley. Poor JB. God, when you have a tiny baby and your entire being is dedicated to keeping them safe from harm, no one ever tells you that someday you will have to restrain their terrified bodies while someone pulls a tooth out of their jaw. PARENTHOOD, MAN.

PS: Here’s a picture Riley drew of some of the instruments they used. According to JB, the team tried to tell him one device was a “tooth hugger.” Riley shot back, sobbing: “THOSE ARE PLIERS!!!!”

Screen shot 2012-11-13 at 1.54.13 PM

The Tooth Fairy was woefully unprepared last night, but she rush-ordered this, because 1) he loves How to Train Your Dragon, and 2) c’mon. TOOTHLESS.


86 Responses to “Bad milestone”

  1. Jessica on November 13th, 2012 3:37 pm

    I’m (along with Chris) going to take our son to the dentist for the first time this week. I’m hoping there will be no freak outs, but luckily, it’s just for the 1st check so we don’t have to commit to anything. I cannot imagine a more horrible scenario than having to hold his body down while they pulled his tooth. Poor JB.

  2. Ang on November 13th, 2012 3:37 pm

    Poor, poor Riley!!! It probably was better to get it over with because I can see him losing sleep over WORRYING about the tooth that has to come out another time. I had 18 teeth pulled as a kid, my teeth did not want to come out!

  3. NK on November 13th, 2012 3:42 pm

    You could have said no. You can always say no.

  4. Tessa on November 13th, 2012 3:44 pm

    Man, at least I hope his dentist was nice. As a 3rd grader, mine scratched the shit outta my gum with the scraper thing, prompting me to clamp my mouth shut. He then told me that if I didn’t open my mouth, he would take me out to the waiting room full of people, pull down my pants, and spank me. I didn’t tell my mom until I was 30+ – we didn’t have much $ and they had invested so much in my braces, and he was the only game in town.

    Um…anyway. Poor Riley. Poor you guys.

  5. JudithNYC on November 13th, 2012 3:44 pm

    Poor Riley and poor JB but how funny (now) that Riley knew the real name of those pliers.

  6. Christy on November 13th, 2012 3:46 pm

    I’m not a mom, but this post completely made me tear up. Poor Riley, and poor, poor JB. My heart goes out to him, needing a hug from the dentist. It must’ve been terrible for both of them. Glad to hear that Riley seems to have rebounded well. Dragon well, WELL deserved! Maybe JB needs a fun surprise gift, too??

  7. Laura M. on November 13th, 2012 3:52 pm

    Man, that plier drawing is the stuff of nightmares.

  8. Linda on November 13th, 2012 3:56 pm

    NK: ah, it’s not like they did this for fun and profit. Sure, we could have said no, but then we’d have had worse dental troubles down the road. Come on, REALLY with the guilt trip?

  9. Meagan on November 13th, 2012 4:04 pm

    Oh man… That’s rough. I gotta admit, I cheered for him a little when he refused to take any of that “tooth hugger” crap, for all the good it did him. :-/ Sounds like his next trip to the dentist will require a sizable bribe…

  10. sooboo on November 13th, 2012 4:06 pm

    Man, I do not know how you parents do it. Poor J.B and Riley although I’m sure Riley will forget about it sooner than J.B. My mom had to help doctors put me in restraints when I was three in order to remove bandages from my eyes. I have no memory of it but my mom cried when she told me about it. Also, (and I’m saying this as a professional artist) that is a really emotive and awesome drawing. Talk about form and content coming together!

  11. bittenbyknittin on November 13th, 2012 4:13 pm

    I am 60 and just had my first tooth extraction a month ago and I am still not over it. My son had a baby tooth extracted (and I too left it up to his dad) – I’ll have to ask him if he remembers it and if he is scarred for life.

  12. Rachael on November 13th, 2012 4:18 pm

    Oh man, can I relate to this. We called Ian the Morality Police at about this age because he was so concerned with what the other kids were doing to misbehave. He would complain about these horrible kids in his class and I’d go to the school all Mother Bear ready to take on the bullies and the teacher would say, “That kid isn’t even in Ian’s class.” He was so sensitive that he felt like every injustice was directed at him, personally. So, yeah. Sensitive kids! And then one time he had to have an IV when he had the flu and the horrible nurses told me it would be better if I waited outside while they did it, and all I could hear was him screaming and sad. And now I feel like shit and also I made this all about me so I guess I am my mom.

  13. Christie on November 13th, 2012 4:20 pm

    OMG… I’m taking both my kids to the dentist tomorrow, and I’ve been having low grade anxiety over it for weeks. They are 8 and 10 almost and have never had any real issues with the dentist, but I have issues. Man, do I have issues! I hope both your men are ok.

  14. Maggie on November 13th, 2012 4:48 pm

    Poor Riley and JB! I have had some really bad dental experiences in my life so my husband takes the kids to all of their appointments because I just can’t. Something like that would have done me in.

    My daughter hates the doctor and always has. She is only 3, so I’m in the room with her the whole time and her doctor is the nicest person on earth. Doesn’t matter, she cries the second the doctor walks in and falls apart. Getting her shots is a hold her down experience that leaves everyone sad, sweaty, and emotionally drained. Damn does it suck to have to hold your wailing kid down while a doctor does something necessary. Emotional eating always results. Ice cream is my BFF for an hour or so.

  15. Katharine on November 13th, 2012 4:50 pm

    Oh, your poor boys. That’s sucky.

    But I guarantee you that you’ll laugh about this in a couple of years. Because I laughed when reading it, especially Riley’s you-can’t-fool-me retort. You got a great kid (and a great husband for taking the tackle on this one).

  16. Lisa on November 13th, 2012 4:53 pm

    I saw your Twitter feed about this and had been worried about Riley and JB since reading it. I am glad JB went through with it, because even though it was AWFUL, it’s now OVER. If he had said no and had to wait, the anxiety over that would be so much worse, I think. Riley sees through bullshit, and called the dentist out on it, which is great, in my opinion.

    I know you want to be a sponge and soak up all of his struggles,(or at least this one) but we can’t. Hopefully, handling those extraordinary experiences will help Riley down the road.

  17. Erin on November 13th, 2012 4:58 pm

    Oh dear, I’m taking my daughter Riley to the dentist on Thursday for some shark teeth herself. Tiny baby teeth are barely loose and the big teeth are already halfway grown in on her bottom jaw. I don’t think I can handle them deciding to pull them out without some warning. *gulp*

  18. Meg on November 13th, 2012 4:58 pm

    Oh man, that all is so sad. I saw your tweet last night, and now this post, and I’m so teary because I know how you feel, and how JB felt, and how horrible it is to see a sensitive little guy feel so scared and helpless. I love his no-shit reaction to the “huggers”, and holy crap that drawing is terrifying. Poor baby. I hope everyone recovers. And way to go, Tooth Fairy. :)

  19. Christine on November 13th, 2012 5:00 pm

    You poor things. All of you.

    I had extractions as a kid, but I was older and very blase about the dentist. Last year I had to hold down my just-turned-3-year-old while she got a filling, and that was horrible. (It was supposed to be a crown, but the gas wasn’t working and the dentist said “Let’s just make it a filling, kay?” because she was writhing and screaming so much. Such a horrible experience as a parent.

  20. ste on November 13th, 2012 5:06 pm

    Poor Riley. I got teeth pulled starting when I was in grade 2 (I’ve had 15 teeth pulled in my life). The second time I had to go in I wouldn’t stop crying and so they rescheduled and also sent me home with a prescription so that I’d be a little drowsy when I got there. I hope Riley is ok soon.

  21. Mariya on November 13th, 2012 5:24 pm

    Oh man, isn’t that the worst?! Then thinking of how scared they were makes you feel even worse for not being there but you know that if you were there you might have started crying too….ohhh the joys of parenting. Such a bittersweet experience. The Toothless stuffed animal was a total parenting win :)

  22. Danell on November 13th, 2012 5:54 pm

    *tooth huggers*

    I think you all should, from this point forward, call all pliers “tooth huggers.”

  23. Sarah on November 13th, 2012 6:09 pm

    ugh. My sister, to this day, swears that the numbing stuff (technical term) that my mom swears she saw them inject into her foot didn’t work and she felt EVERY SINGLE THING as the dr. dug a bee stinger out of her foot while my mom laid on top of her to hold her down.

    They DO NOT tell you these things in the baby books!!! We are all woefully under-prepared! Hugs to all of you. I have to take the 5 year old to the dentist next week. I’ve gone from nervous to terrified – JUST IN CASE.

  24. Anne B on November 13th, 2012 6:10 pm

    Maybe you’ve seen this a million times, but I teach 1st grade and I spend a lot of time teaching and modeling the concepts on this sign:

    The Harmful vs. harmless distinction is particularly difficult to get across sometimes.

    You’re doing such an awesome job understanding and dealing with Riley’s sensitivities. I see a lot of parents who really push their kids too hard. You are doing just the right thing by being firm but understanding.

  25. Courtney on November 13th, 2012 6:25 pm

    Oh!! Oh oh oh! Oh poor Riley! Poor JB, who in the long run is probably more traumatized than Riley (does he get a tooth fairy present too?)! Poor YOU!

    I had our first daughter yesterday. She’s currently about 8lbs of rainbows, ponies and sparkles. But thanks to your honest writing about your experience raising your children, I feel more prepared for this roller coaster. Thanks Linda for sharing the bad with the good.

  26. Navigating the Mothership on November 13th, 2012 6:29 pm

    Oh wow, this made me tear up. Glad Riley came home okay(ish) but I feel for all of you. And your husband just needing a hug at that moment? Ugh, tough stuff.

    I have only taken my daughter to the dentist once and apparently they do it in an open group setting so kids can see it’s not scary (!?!??!?!?!?!) How does this work out most days? I mean, SERIOUSLY? Given the unpredictability of children and the fact that the dentist is a place of scary instruments and painful procedures and !@?#?@#H(*FHJSDIJ

    Anyway, thank god my daughter didn’t fully get what was happening since she was so little at the time, but for months after she wanted to hear about the girl who was screaming at the dentist.

  27. Donna on November 13th, 2012 6:49 pm

    Omg. Poor boys…. I can’t imagine. And Tessa? WTF? Your dentist needed his ass beat.
    My grandkids, even the give year old are champs at the dentist, nitrous and iv drugs for pulling teeth. It’s good cuz it would kill me to have to fight with them like that.
    Your poor boys.

  28. SJ on November 13th, 2012 7:08 pm

    Reading this took me back to a time when I had a very similar experience with my older son; he was 4 and had a cavity ridden baby tooth filled. Dentist was worried that it would affect his adult tooth and so … yeah, it was horrible. I am the one who takes the kids to the dentist because my husband hates anything and everything about the place so yea, I’m virtually hugging JB right now for what he went through (not to be creepy or whatever, but OH BOY do I ever understand). Luckily my boy doesn’t remember the experience at all but the look of terror on his face when they numbed his gum with novocaine, the bulging eyes and look of terror on his face when the drilling started, I will NEVER forget the experience. Ugh, I’m so sorry you guys.

  29. Tracey (sparkyd) on November 13th, 2012 7:23 pm

    Gah. Horrible. Took me back to only a few weeks ago when I had to hold my (5 year old) son down – with the help of the receptionist in the doctor’s office – so he could get two stitches in his chin. The trauma. He didn’t want to be touched after the freezing needle (can’t blame him) and unfortunately said it hurt when the doctor touched to see if it was frozen enough to do the stitches. Of course it probably didn’t hurt, but his 5-year old mind just thought if he said that the doctor would stay away. So wrong. More freezing! While the stitches were going in my son was looking me in the eyes PLEADING for me to make it stop, and from his tone he was having a hard time understanding why I was letting this continue to happen. NOT a good feeling for a Mom. Quite horrible actually. At least I had the reassurance that no one was actually hurting him (post freezing, anyway). He got to do whatever he wanted that afternoon.

    Big hugs to you all. And good luck with the dentist!

  30. melanie on November 13th, 2012 7:43 pm

    OMG I think our kids are related… my oldest boy sounds so much like Riley, strict rule follower at school, very diligent about dental care and yet he has NEVER had a good check-up, and he’s walking around with 3 stainless crowns because according to his dentist “he got the short end of the stick in baby teeth” this last trip (he’d been using ACT for a year) the dentist announced NO cavities YAY first time ever, but there is a gum infection (WTF) he says 90% clear up with antibiotics come back in 14 days for recheck. I went home with silent tears streaking down my face because I KNEW he would fall in the 10% because thats just his flipping dental LUCK… so in the same month he fell awkwardly in one of those inflatable places and ended up with a cast from arm pit to knuckles, he also got his first tooth extracted and seriously I almost had to run to the bathroom to puke just with the anticipation. Drew took it really rather well, he held it together until we walked out the doors of the dentist and just LOST it, big big sobs. In the grand scheme of things, I know how freaking lucky we are… but damn, remember when they were infants and we thought shot days were AWFUL… yeah that was NOTHING.

  31. melanie on November 13th, 2012 7:45 pm

    oh and Drew got a lego kit after the appointment, he should have aimed higher I was ready TO PAY OUT!

  32. Lisa Ann on November 13th, 2012 7:46 pm

    I recently had a really bad extraction (bad because the tooth cracked into a million pieces and was lodged in my gum). DDS was afraid to give me any more novocain, I can’t stomach the gas…. it took over 3 hours and we all needed a hug when it was over. I feel for Riley & JB. The good news is that it’s over. Hopefully all his brushing & flossing will pay off and he won’t have further issues.

  33. Kami on November 13th, 2012 7:47 pm

    “When it was finally all over, I just … I don’t know, I hugged the dentist,” he told me. “I just really needed a hug from someone right then.”

    Totally just pissed em. Hilarious.

  34. NancyJ on November 13th, 2012 7:49 pm

    OMG poor Riley and JB! I’m glad they both survived and I bet he’ll love that stuffed animal thing.
    Only tooth pull my son endured was a baby tooth that got a filling and the sort of died! They pulled it but I think it came out really easily and he had a spacer for a few years til the adult tooth came in.
    Now ask me about the trip to the hospital when he fell off the bed and I drove so my husband could hold him and I left the freakin car RUNNING in the parking lot for about an hour because I was so freaked out!

  35. Josey on November 13th, 2012 7:56 pm

    Oh goodness…PARENTHOOD,MAN. This scares the shit out of me, and I only have a sick 11 month old right now. Poor Riley and JB. :(

  36. Amber on November 13th, 2012 8:40 pm

    It’s probably a good thing none of the parenthood stories sunk in before I had kids (8 and 6). I know I heard about all the “stuff” but some how, my pre-parent dreams had me cuddling the newborn then miraculously fast-fowarded to when they graduated from medical school.

    I don’t remember the visions involving me holding down a child at the dentist, doctor and ER; explaining what F-U-C-K spells and why we can’t use that word in everyday language; dealing with a child that suddenly doesn’t like the feel of any kind of underwear, pant or socks.

    . . . . .Parenthood, man.

  37. Morgan on November 13th, 2012 8:44 pm

    I too had a tooth extraction that required 4 dental hygienists to hold me down, and I was only about 7. To this day, I still HATE the dentist (seriously, tell me to scoot down and strap me in some stirrups; I’d still rather be there than at the dentist), but I seriously doubt it had to do with this one sole incident. I totally understand poor Riley’s pain, but I laughed so hard at JB’s need for a hug and Riley’s correct ID of the pliers. Does this mean I’m going to be a bad mom? Something tells me I’m going to laugh at really inopportune times…

  38. jonniker on November 13th, 2012 8:57 pm

    JB hugged the dentist. OMG, he hugged the dentist. I just . . . that’s all I need to know about the awfulness of the situation. Poor everyone. Poor JB and poor, poor Riley.

    But . . . he just really needed to HUG someone right then! OH!

    Oh. Oh how awful.

  39. Suburban Snapshots on November 13th, 2012 9:38 pm

    Those are definitely pliers. I hope recovery is going well, poor guy(s).

  40. Mary on November 13th, 2012 9:53 pm

    One of the worst moments of my parenting life was when my four year old was having stitches put into his split chin, while he SCREAMED, and it took five nurses to hold him down, and they made me go stand in the corner because I was crying so hard. I am NOT a person who cries and falls apart. It was horrible. Poor JB. Poor Riley. Poor you.

  41. gingerest on November 14th, 2012 12:56 am

    Aw, man, JB hugged the dentist. And I am so impressed that Riley was all, “NONE OF YOUR CUDDLY LIES, TOOTH PROFESSIONALS, I KNOW HAND TOOLS WHEN I SEE THEM.”

    My mother was scarred for life by having to hold me down for a spinal tap. I remember absolutely nothing of it but I am pretty sure she thought everything that ever went wrong between us arose from that moment. (It didn’t. And besides, you can get paralyzed if you move during a spinal tap, she totally did the right thing and the doctors didn’t really give her a choice.)

  42. Eric's Mommy on November 14th, 2012 5:39 am

    Oh your poor boys. My Son is not great about remembering to brush his teeth but every time he goes to the dentist his teeth look great. The last time he went though she showed my Husband his x-rays and he has top teeth coming in sideways that need to be pulled. Then there was mention of a pallet spreader and various other things :( The good thing is, HE isn’t the one worried about the whole thing, it’s ME.

  43. Antropologa on November 14th, 2012 5:48 am

    I once had to get my kid to let someone investigate her rectum. So I feel you.

  44. Ris on November 14th, 2012 5:59 am

    Oh god poor JB, poor Riley. If it makes you feel any better (I hope it does!) I had to get a tooth pulled for the same reason when I was in 3rd or 4th grade and I hardly remember it at all. My mom cried, of course, but afterward everyone was so nice to me and I kept thinking “Well, that wasn’t *that* bad.”

  45. Veronica on November 14th, 2012 6:37 am

    Oh, my. That sucks, and I’m so sorry you – all of you – had to go through that.

    I’ve had to hold my son down during a dental appointment. By the time it was all over and we could leave I was shaking so hard I couldn’t drive my car. We had to sit out in the stupid parking lot for 10 minutes while I calmed down.

    Thankfully kids are resilient and parents get to see that and know things will be ok… eventually.

  46. Christina on November 14th, 2012 7:04 am

    Gawsh I know how JB felt. My daughter recently tested positive for Whooping cough (OMFG RT?!) and a few weeks before that Strep. Obv. you know they swab the back of the throat for Strep. Whooping cough? They swab the inside of one’s nose for that test with an itty bitty teeny tiny q-tip looking thing. It took FIVE full grown adults including me (and one of the five was a male nurse) to hold down my four year old to get that swab. Just getting her to take deep breathes for the dr to listen to her lungs are torture. He was very patient unlike that bitchy NP we saw a few days before or helps her down and scratched her chest…

    Any who, after two doctor’s visits in less than a week (plus the Strep throat swab visit a few weeks before), I felt like the walking dead crossed with Mommy Dearest. GAWD. Needless to say, I am sending my hubs to the follow up dr. appt today. I cannot handle ANOTHER visit to the doctor with her. Total suckage.

  47. akofaolain on November 14th, 2012 7:46 am

    The same thing happened with my son, but luckily his baby teeth FINALLY came out the week before his extraction appointment. Now I know how lucky that really was. Poor Riley! :(

  48. MyFrogs on November 14th, 2012 8:12 am

    This is kinda good to reinforce the brushing, so they only have to go in for cleanings. My kids have been to the dentist SO many times, my youngest seems to have weak teeth. I think it helps that the staff is REALLY friendly and we’ve been going to the same place for years.

  49. MEP on November 14th, 2012 8:42 am

    Poor JB! Being the parent is definitely tougher than being the kid in these situations. I’m glad Riley’s not too traumatized. PS – I have forgotten to play Tooth Fairy at least three times the morning after my daughter has lost a tooth. Mom of the Year.

  50. Danyelle on November 14th, 2012 9:02 am

    Poor JB! My husband took my daughter to have warts surgically removed from her feet. (They wouldn’t have to do surgery and put her to sleep if she had been older/ more cooperative in the office.) But it was one of those things where once they wake up, they get to leave. She woke up screaming bloody murder that her feet hurt, but the doctor insisted it shouldn’t be hurting, she was just starting to regain feeling in them. He called me in a panic because he didn’t know what to do- listen to the doctor or our daughter. It was bad and we both felt awful over it.
    Now reading your story about Riley’s shark teeth, I’m nervous again because we just saw last week that she too has shark teeth and baby teeth that don’t want to come out. I do feel a little better hearing he was okay when he got home though.

  51. Bubbley on November 14th, 2012 9:07 am

    Riley is probably already telling his tale like a war story in school, so I don’t feel bad for him, ANYMORE. But I really, really feel awful for JB!! I don’t know if it will EVER be funny for him. :(

    I had to lay down on my then 6 year old while he was ace bandaged onto a board in the ER so that we could stitch his…I can’t even remember if it was his lip or his head. All I can remember is the big, sad brown eyes crying and him saying, over and over and over and over, “Mommy-please-don’t-help-them-please-don’t-lay-on-me-please-get-up-please-let-me-go-please” A THOUSAND times. It’s still not funny, three years later.

    On the other hand, he remembered his “please”s!!

    I lovelovelove that Riley wasn’t taking the “tooth hugger” crap. :) :)

  52. Halyn on November 14th, 2012 9:09 am

    Poor Riley, Poor JB! I bet the dentist needed that hug, too. I hate to admit it, but I had to laugh at Riley calling them out on the pliers. As soon as I read “tooth-hugger,” I snorted with skepticism and thought “Please-the son of JB knows pliers when he sees them!”
    I don’t what to tell you about the rules monitor thing that Riley has going on right now. Just keep doing what you’re doing–Riley seems to respond to your patience and kindness in the matter of his sensitivities. My daughter was just like that at his age, and it just took time and gentleness and understanding to get past it. She is a very typical 12 year old now. She’s still tenderhearted, but in a good way, not an oversensitive way, and has lots of friends and is very happy–so there’s a light at the end of this particular tunnel.

  53. Angella on November 14th, 2012 9:10 am

    Aw, man. Graham had to have a tooth pulled, and even though he’s as calm as they come, it was a little scary for both of us. Hugs to you all.

  54. Jessie on November 14th, 2012 9:15 am

    1)what the HELL, NK 2) I am so sorry that you all had to go through this, especially Riley but holy shit did the bit about JB hugging the dentist break my heart and 3) I was a very sensitive, very serious child who was always very concerned with right vs. wrong (I still am but at the age of 37 I can appreciate the gray areas) and I am not saying it has been the easiest way be (although it’s not as if I could help it) BUT I will say that I am a good, decent person and I am ALSO a barrel of laughs. For real! and totally modest apparently.

  55. Amanda on November 14th, 2012 9:29 am

    Whew. Dental horror story. I’m most traumatized for JB.

    What I really wanted to comment on is the rule follower. I have one. He’s in sixth grade now. He sort of relaxed as he moved on through elementary school and went more with the flow. He moved to middle school this year and holy shit we’re a mess. I know know know that his idea of rule following is his way of making sense and keeping control of a situation in which he feels uneasy. It’s just haaaard because it’s black or white for him. You’re either following the rules or you’re WRONG. And he loses faith in adults that he perceives as acknowledging the wrong but not DOING something about it. Oy. Our boys are just trying to put everything into boxes so that they can understand it all, but it makes me a nervous wreck and him as well.

    Riley is likely in full safety officer effect since he changed schools this year. He’ll probably ease up and then go at it again when there’s another change.

    Good Luck!

  56. laziza on November 14th, 2012 9:52 am

    Oh, dude. I’m so, so sorry. Those parenting moments are the worst. I literally would have been sobbing myself. Poor Riley, poor JB and poor you.

  57. Joanne on November 14th, 2012 10:44 am

    It’s so funny that JB hugged the dentist – my husband took my son, who is Riley’s age, to the dentist a few weeks ago because he had to have a tooth pulled. He had a baby tooth that got so cavitied (?) that it had abscessed, it was a MESS. My son has autism, so we are never sure how much it means to him if we tell him in advance what’s going to happen, so it felt sneaky even if it wasn’t. They gave him the drugs to make him sleepy and when he got really shlumpy, they had to carry him back into the dentist and strap him in so he didn’t fall out, ugh, ugh, it’s awful, right? But he was fine, and he had to go back a week or two after to get a checkup and he didn’t flip out or anything. Now my three year old has to go this Friday and SHE was such a kook during her exam that they have to sedate her and I am NOT looking forward to it but – I mean, I have to do it. I think it’s so much better in cases like this to get it over with. It’s not like you lied and tricked him, you thought they’d just look at it but he had to have it done and now it IS done, that’s what I’d focus on. Ay yi yi, it is literally always something with these mofos, right?

  58. Joanne on November 14th, 2012 10:45 am

    Oh! What I meant to say is that my husband sort of loved my son’s dentist, too. He kept talking about Dr. Kevin this, and Dr. Kevin that and I was all, jeez, okay, what did you go to war together or something? But they kind of did, ha!

  59. Susie on November 14th, 2012 11:17 am

    OMG, this post felt so real that I literally CRIED for all three of you. You’re absolutely right — nothing in parenting prepares you for having to watch and/or take part in something that HURTS your baby. See, now I’m crying all over again just thinking about it. Geez.

  60. Ginny on November 14th, 2012 12:27 pm

    I haven’t taken the time to read all of the comments, but here is one word for any future tooth/dental trauma that might come your way: SEDATION. It has saved my impressionable (& dramatic) daughter from scenes that would be just like this one.

    I really feel for all three of you, these are the heavy-lifting parts of parenting younger kids. I hear even heavier lifting will ensue when those teen-age years hit. I’m so optimistic huh? :/

  61. willikat on November 14th, 2012 3:11 pm

    Ok, I am sure that was HORRIBLE. I’m so sorry that had to happen. But I did laugh just a little teeny bit at Riley’s response to “tooth hugger.” No one is gonna pull the wool over that kid’s eyes! What a smartypants–I love it.

  62. telegirl on November 14th, 2012 3:31 pm

    When our son fell at age 2 and got a cut that needed stitches right next to his eye, we had to go from the pediatrician to the hospital. There, they actually had us help wrap him up in what looked like a pillowcase and my husband had to hold him down while he screamed as they gave him a local and then stitched him up. My heart died a little that day. Hugs indeed, being party to hurting your child–no matter the fact that it is for the better–truly sucks.

  63. Melissa on November 14th, 2012 5:12 pm

    Those are some of the worst moments in the life of a parent! When my youngest was 18 months he was hospitalized for complications with his asthma and it took me and two nurses to hold him down so they could put in his IV. He was screaming and gasping. Definitely one of the worst things I have ever had to do.

  64. Nancy on November 14th, 2012 5:32 pm

    If it’s any consolation, he likely has an extremely successful career ahead of him in quality assurance. (Speaking from experience, I’ve always been a rule follower, and now as Director of QA for a medical device manufacturer, I get paid $$ to tell people when they aren’t following rules.)

  65. Melissa on November 14th, 2012 6:21 pm

    OMG sounds like when I took my son to get tubes in his ears but much worse. Poor Riley and poor JB….I love that he hugged the dentist. And to the commenter that says you could have said no….WTF? Want to make things worse? They absolutely did the right thing. As terrible at that was, Riley will always remember how JB was there with him through it. In life you encounter awful things. Better to have a bad experience with your dad who loves you than to have some infection issues later. Anyway, stepping off my soapbox…

  66. Kate on November 14th, 2012 7:47 pm

    I really like your blog and my brother is a lot like Riley

  67. Anonymous on November 14th, 2012 8:55 pm

    wow. I’ve said it before but our kids are alike in so many ways. Rigid rule followers. It drives me insane because I can see the need to BEND! As a teacher: BIG vs. small problems (small cna be solved w/o an adult. BIG means somebody got hurt.

    Kelso’s choice=google it.
    My son needed stiches and was so hystercial the doc looked at me and said he would refused to do it, he needed to go to the hospital to be put under. I caught his eye and said, LOOK IT, I hold him down and you get in and just DO IT” Never pretty but then we turned it into a Star Wars episode and it ended well.

  68. The Digitorialist on November 14th, 2012 9:50 pm

    All that drawing makes me think of is the evil dental villain from that Dustin Hoffman movie, Marathon Man. :)

  69. Clarabella on November 14th, 2012 11:14 pm

    Man. That is ROUGH, but…at least it seems like Riley’s being a bit resilient about it? It always surprises me how resilient kids really are. Cliche, I know, but…true. As bad as I felt for Riley, though, I choked up when you said that about JB needing a hug. I KNOW that feeling. Like, I just need another adult to acknowledge that was traumatic for me as a parent. Phew.
    Also, I had to get my front two teeth (bottom) pulled when I was 6 (same shark-teeth reason), and while I had an AWFUL dentist (no, seriously, she was investigated for some kind of malpractice after I was her patient), I am not scarred for life. In fact, the babying I got for it is all I remember. Hang in there, Riley.
    (Also: aside: my 5YO loves How to Train Your Dragon too, and that exact Toothless is on his list to Santa!)

  70. Clarabella on November 14th, 2012 11:15 pm

    P.S. Is it weird that, for whatever reason, Riley’s drawing reminds me of Little Shop of Horrors? Yes? I thought so.

  71. Sarah on November 15th, 2012 6:32 am

    Oh!! This made my heart break just a little bit as I have a 3 year old who needs to be held down for basically ANY type of appointment where people he doesn’t know are required to come near him. It’s horrendous. It’s taken 4 people (me, husband, doctor, nurse) to hold his head still just so they could look in his ear! I die a little inside every time. My poor husband has actually refused to come to hair cut appointments because he can’t handle how upset he gets. Apparently the one time the hairdresser told my husband that if he maybe walked away our son wouldn’t freak out so much….the text I got was “he’s screaming and the hairdresser just told me to eff off. I think we need to leave before I punch someone.”

    Ah, parenting.

  72. Em on November 15th, 2012 6:47 am

    That’s it. My husband is going to take our daughter to all of her dental appointments!

    Gah! What a nightmare. I hope Riley (and JB) have recovered.

  73. Trina on November 15th, 2012 10:34 am

    Our sons sound like opposites with rules. I can tell you it is just as hard to be on the side where the kid sees shades of grey in everything. I would love for Riley to teach Coyle a little kindness, and in turn Coyle to teach Riley his laid back, let it slide a little attitude. I struggle every day to teach my son empathy and compassion, if anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them.

    I liked the idea above about small issue, kids deal with it, BIG issue needs an adult. Riley is super smart, I bet that would click with him.

    And Toothless is adorable!

  74. Susan on November 15th, 2012 10:51 am

    Parenting is harder than anything you ever imagined. But you will get through it. And, for the most part, enjoy it! Someday you will look back on experiences like this and say, “Damn, that sucked”. (unless you suffer from amnesia. Hey, I can’t lie). The good news is, as you already know, it’s so worth it!
    Oh, and worst advice ever to a parent (or a kid, or anyone else for that matter): “Just say no”.

  75. Amy Neto on November 15th, 2012 11:50 am

    Yeah, you could have said no and then you’d be faced with lots more treatment and money down the road. I used to work in a dental office and now work for a non-profit dental organization. JB made the right call to go ahead with it then, but it doesn’t make it easier. And the team is trained to deal with it, but let me tell you, it doesn’t make it easier on them either. An hour or so of stress far outweighs the alternatives!! And awesome tooth fairy save!

  76. Emily on November 15th, 2012 12:55 pm

    Oh, how awful. Poor Riley and poor JB! I think *I* need to go out for ice cream, just from reading this! Parenthood, man.

  77. Marcie on November 15th, 2012 4:06 pm

    This is totally unrelated to this post, but is this you?

  78. KIm on November 15th, 2012 8:11 pm

    We always tried to teach our daughter about telling by asking her if she was telling to get someone out of trouble or into trouble. If it was into trouble then she should think twice. We told her she doesn’t have to even out the universe!

  79. Tess on November 16th, 2012 10:38 am

    Totally off topic… but imagine my surprise at seeing one of my favourite bloggers.

    4 down, natch ;)

  80. sheilah on November 16th, 2012 12:44 pm

    I saw the buzzfeed link and wondered if you were aware of that as well. Hilarious photo, but…?

  81. sheilah on November 16th, 2012 12:46 pm

    They did credit from where they got the photo…

  82. Linda on November 16th, 2012 3:58 pm

    It’s credited now, only because a Stir editor got in touch with Buzzfeed on my behalf — prior to that, it’s never been credited in the many for-profit places it’s been posted. Not much I can do except wish I was getting a portion of that ad revenue … :)

  83. Erin@MommyontheSpot on November 17th, 2012 5:22 am

    Poor guys! I can’t imagine!

    As for the tattling, my daughter can be the same way. I gave her some guidelines for telling: if someone is being hurt, either physically or their feelings, it might be a good idea to tell. If not, just stay out of it. Pretty vague, but I think it might be working.

  84. Faith on November 17th, 2012 2:26 pm

    I just don’t know if there’s a painless way to handle a situation like this. You could maybe have postponed the procedure in order to prepare him a bit, but then would the lead-up have caused more anxiety? With a kid like Riley, it’s likely, so I definitely think JB made the right call. But I can’t even imagine, still, how difficult it must have been for him to push Riley through it. I guess some life experiences are just scary and painful, but we do them because they’re best overall, and that’s the takeaway lesson for Riley (and JB too, heh.)

  85. michelle on November 21st, 2012 10:52 pm
  86. Jo on December 10th, 2012 12:09 pm

    OMG- toothhuggers! TOOTHHUGGERS!! I don’t know him but that Riley man is cracking my Sh** up! Serious hilarity. I can just picture him all Dude. Seriously? Don’t mess with me. I know from PLIARS! I am so glad that this post has the redemption of humor- even if it was of the gallows variety. Cause I’m pretty much in JB’s camp (needing a hug) after reading this post! I’m totally sweating the fear of the experience JB had- when I take my 3 year old boy in to have 5 cavities filled on Thursday. Though I guess I could just say no to having the work done. But that doesn’t make sense- I mean if I could say no then he wouldn’t have cavities in the first place, right?

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