Noise with Dirt on It

Posted by on February 24, 2011

Yesterday, after school, I took my daughter to a new dentist…a grown-up dentist. Apparently our insurance thinks when kids turn 10, pediatric dentists are a specialty they shouldn’t have to pay for anymore.

This office was weird. It was so…mature feeling. And having just been at my son’s pediatric dentist last week, the differences were glaring—no toys in the waiting room. No kids shows playing on a TV. No balloons or goody boxes.

The waiting room was finely appointed in a way not suited for kids, the magazines were definitely of the non-kid-friendly variety (I’m looking at YOU, Cosmopolitan and Sports Illustrated Annual Boobies and Swimsuits Issue) and it was quiet. So very quiet.As my son and I waited in the tasteful tribute to solitude, glass and sharp corners, we were the only ones in there and we worked on his homework. But as we were wrapping it up, another mom and her two kids came into the waiting room. Like the dentist office, they were also tasteful and well-appointed, in addition to being perfectly, unseasonably tan…leading me to imagine an impromptu winter vacation in St. Barts, complete with professional spray tans for the whole family.

While the tween daughter read a book and the mom tapped away on her iPhone, all very quietly, my 5 yr old son began to get complain-y and squirmy. He was hungry. He was hot. He was bored. And it was then that I began to notice that he also was really dirty. Abnormally dirty. He’s NEVER this dirty after school.

And then I noticed that while he was squirming and probably disturbing the woman next to him, he was also kind of putting his shoes on the sofa. And I began to feel very self conscious—like I was that parent with the dirty, whiny kid that can’t sit still and puts his shoes all over your furniture.

He got up and helped himself to some water from the dispenser in the lobby and brought the cup back into the waiting room. When he started slurping his water and swishing it around in his mouth, I cringed inwardly. It was just so…LOUD…in this ridiculously quiet waiting room.

Or was it just me?

And when he burped, twice, I quietly hissed at him.

“If you’re going to burp every time you take a sip, you need to stop drinking”

He smiled good naturedly and with his mouth still full, pointed at the cup of water, as if to indicate that THIS water? Is known for inducing burps and it’s simply not within his control.

He finally swallowed. “But I said excuse me, mama”

And it’s true. He did.

And I was instantly ashamed that I’d let my imagination and my impression of these other people, who probably spray tan each other from a squirt bottle in their orange-stained bathroom and never took a fancy winter vacation anywhere, make me feel self-conscious about my sweet, kind, adorable 5 year old boy being a 5 year old boy.


In other news…my daughter had NO cavities thanks to my relentless insistence on nightly flossing.



  • Marianne says:

    Your kid is a perfectly normal 5 year old…as you know. He didn’t do anything wrong. You were just in a Stepfordland dentist office. Eff all that!

  • Apryl's Antics says:

    Some of my worst parenting has occurred when I was worrying about what other parents thought of me. Not that you were being bad or anything. It just reminded me how stupid I am for letting strangers’ opinions govern my behavior.

  • Jack says:

    Part of the joy of being a boy is the opportunity to be dirty…all day long. I still enjoy it sometimes, but then again I am a boy trapped in a man’s body. ;)

    • IzzyMom says:

      One day I’m going to write a blog post about how hard it is to get my kids to play outside and how happy it makes me when they do and get all dirty in the process. I might be romanticizing things a bit but it seems like something kids are supposed to do, you know?

  • roo says:

    I had no idea pediatric dentists were more expensive than the grown-up kind, in the first place! Insurance is weird.

    Sorry the office freaked you out. Congrats to your girl for no cavities, though!

  • mysuestories says:

    First? I love your writing…that’s why I’m here…even if I never post comments…I AM here and I AM reading…Every post…Love you…Now…….

    Second? Let’s just be happy for one moment that you HAVE dental insurance…AND dental insurance that covers both regular dental care AND pediatric care…..(so do we, by the way….but many of our readers? maybe not so much…)

    And as long as I’m on a roll ( and not likely to ever comment again…cause that’s not how I roll…but I WILL BE READING)))))
    No 5 yr old gets a pass on multiple public burps…my kids were always taught that one was an accident or beyond control…..but after that, they were expected to remove themselves from the table or room or whatever the PUBLIC boundaries were… i am proud to say my kids…..19 yrs later have never embarased us with “an act of nature”

    • IzzyMom says:

      Yeah, I know about not having dental insurance. My kids never had it until this year and I haven’t had in at least 10 years…hence the insistence on flossing!

      Good for you on raising mannered children. Mine are a definite work-in-progress.

      And thank you for reading (and commenting, even if this is the last time). I appreciate my readers so much :)

  • Bethany says:

    It’s amazing how quickly our insecurities can lead us to feel like that parent. And believe me, we all do it at one time or another.

  • Good for you for not letting the spray tan family get to you after all. The dentist office is a place where a kid (and a mom) should feel comfortable.

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