It turned out not to be a good idea. Not a good idea at all.
I wasn’t able to get an appointment within the planned window of time when I called. I had to wait until after the new year and slots were few. I just took the first available. I figured when it got closer I’d either ask someone to watch him or I’d take him in the stroller. He’s pretty mellow most of the time. I felt if he was in the stroller, it would be doable as long as I had access to YouTube on my phone.
Atlanta was entering a week of Seattle-esque weather so I was a little cranky to start with the morning of my appointment. As I began to put our stuff in the car, it hit me. The stroller was in Chris’s car. My husband mostly works from home, but today he was at the office.
There were lots of four letter words as I realized that this appointment was going down like the Hindenburg. A toddler at an appointment is one thing. A free and unconstrained toddler is another. And with less than an hour until appointment time, there was no way I’d risk a cancellation fee. Emotionally that’s akin to paying to park, when walking a couple blocks will get me a free space.
Ah yes, the space saver high chair that fits on a regular chair. He could be locked into it off to the side of the dentist cube, yes? That’ll do. I was feeling very MacGyver and brilliant. Connor is always fascinated when the chair within a chair is placed on the floor. He will sit in it just because of the novelty.
Problem solved, we headed off.
First he decided he was not sure he wanted to walk into the dentist office so he plopped down on the ground outside the door. I was losing my grip on the chair at this point so I set it inside the hall so I could encourage him to keep going. He came in the first door and then decided he wanted to hang out right there outside the actual office, so he plopped down again. He was eventually coaxed into the waiting room by the sight of his magical throne…on the floor.
My dentist is never on time, no matter what time of day the appointment is. I will say that this particular morning they were only 15 minutes behind, but Connor’s unwillingness to settle on one place to sit made it feel like much longer. At one point I thought he was going to try and make off with an older woman’s walker.
When the assistant finally came to get me, I made a point to loudly blame my husband for the odd situation. The part about him unexpectedly going to the office was a lie. The part about him making off with the stroller was true. A lady laughed and I could tell she was admiring my brilliance in the face of such hardship.
First problem was that they needed a full set of x-rays, probably because I have forgotten to go since Connor was born. So he had to sit in the chair outside the cube. He didn’t care for this plan and he let it be known. Loudly. One of the hygienists walked him around the cubes while my gag reflex went into the most overreactive state I have ever experienced. It was seriously ridiculous. Every time she stuck that cardboard in my mouth, I felt like a cat with a hairball.
Connor returned for my cleaning and he was locked into his precious chair. Except apparently he only likes the chair on the floor if he’s not locked in. And it’s his decision. Toys got tossed, his new toothbrush gifted by the hygienist got tossed — come to think of it, I haven’t seen the toothbrush since. Guess it got tossed in a corner somewhere. Or it’s at the bottom of my purse. Either way, gone forever.
I could hear myself thinking from just a few short years ago from another cube. “This lady seriously brought her kid to the dentist? It’s called a babysitter. I will never do that when I have a kid!”
My hygienist tried to get him to color, despite my explaining that with his delays, we weren’t quite there yet. But she did give it the old college try. She was very nice, considering. I think it helped that her first, now adult, child had special needs, too. Another employee came to walk him around and keep him busy while I was being cleaned. He returned for the wait for the final check by the dentist. He explored the mechanics of climbing on me and jumping off me in great detail. When the dentist finally came, my hygienist corralled Connor for the check, where once again I was encouraged to remove the partially emerged wisdom tooth that didn’t make an appearance until my 30s (it is my only wisdom tooth, even on x-ray). I would have asked a couple of questions about my teeth, including if I should do anything about the one I recently chipped. It’s really small and Chris swears it’s not noticeable, but I’m kind of obsessed with it. But he took off before he could be handed toddler duty. Probably for the best, as one of my questions would probably have been answered with, “Stop drinking coffee.” That’s never going to happen. In fact, I chipped my tooth on my coffee mug.
Now that the visit was over, Connor decided to be cooperative and did a good job of waiting while I checked out and following me to the car. I congratulated him on the success of his mission. I will never try this again. But that’s okay. Vengeance will be mine.