Posts Tagged ‘health’

Not actually from our dentist day, but a sufficiently toothy smile captured on camera by my friend Sarah.

A few months ago we got a letter in the mail from some part of the government (Centrelink? Department of Health? Ministry of Magic?) that offered free dentist visits for your two-year-old. I can’t remember if it was a particular amount of visits or if it was a particular amount of money, because we are children whose filing system is “throw it on the kitchen bench”, but either way we thought it about time to ship the Rocket off to get her fangs checked out, especially as everywhere we take her people are desperate to give her free candy.

Looking up toddler dentist visits online brought up some interesting info. Notes that seemed quite helpful suggested you play dentist with your kid, counting each others’ teeth, so we embarked on that immediately and it was quite fun. The internet also suggested things not to say to your child, like “It probably won’t hurt,” or “They shouldn’t have to use a needle” and the like. As it pointed out, those are your fears; your kid has no concept of them. The Rocket’s such a little ball of health we haven’t even had to take her to the doctor her whole life for anything but checkups, so she’s never been prodded by a doctor (though she has tantrumed at a Maternal Health Nurse who tried to measure how long she was.) She doesn’t know the dentist is a place for anything but a box full of toys we play with when picking Teach up from getting wisdom teeth out. So we just said the nice dentist would count her teeth and check they were healthy and that hopefully they wouldn’t notice we gave her a sip of Coke at the movies the other day like the A+ parents we are.

So she turned up cheerfully at the dentist and everyone greeted her with enthusiasm and in she went into the consult room. She sat on Teach’s knee as we waited, and we pointed out all the things in the room – cups of blue liquid, sinks, a moving rocket chair, lots of gadgets for looking at teeth, gloves and things. She was interested and fearless, but desperate to consume some mouthwash.

In came her dentist, Dr Waple, who is a bit handsome and rockstaresque as far as dentists go (though, in case you are wondering, he is Teach’s dentist – I pick mine based on names now after having childhood success with Dr Blase, aka Dr Whatever; my newest, I kid you not, I picked out of the phone book because his name was Dr Blood). He complimented her on her dress and was very relaxed and jokey; she smiled at him immediately. He showed her the little tooth-counting mirror, counted her teeth up to twenty, then told her she did a great job and gave her a pink balloon with a tooth superhero on it. And that was it. We didn’t even have to pay anything. The dentist explained that they like to start their dental experiences like that so kids have immediate good associations with them. And hell, it left us happy with them too; now we go back in another few months for a more thorough checkup. And I suppose, to demonstrate good dental care, we should book ourselves in too. Dammit.


This probably happens at every dentist, but ours is lovely, so here: Balwyn Dental Group

375 Whitehorse Rd, Balwyn

9836 3247



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on immunisations

Okay, just to be clear, this isn’t a post about the pros and cons of vaccinating your kid. Just do it, so that we can all not die. Great.

Anyway, so taking your kid to get their immunisations is about the most heartbreaking thing you can do. That first time, you take your tiny, titchy little baby–some potatoes are bigger than that baby–to a clinic (or your doctor; we always went to the public immunisations at our local maternal health centre) and you let someone jab it with needles until it cries. You did that, you monster! You let someone hurt your baby! Will they ever forgive you? Will they forever remember that you did that to them?

No. They will not. They love you. It’s okay. You are panicking more than they are. You really are.

So, in these public clinics, you walk in, take a number, wait, get nervous about your kid getting hurt. (Don’t forget, they have no idea what’s going on and are thrilled to be in a different place with new and freshly disgusting toys.) After a while, they call your number, get your kid’s health book, stamp some things, and send you into the next room. There are chairs, and a screen. Behind that screen, there are children who are yelling. On the chairs, there are children who are calming down. A health professional will appear from behind the screen and summon you in. Then there are needles and it’s a reality. Hold on, guys, it’s almost over. You’re doing fine. Your kid still has no idea what’s happening. Last time, the Rocket tried to grab the needle herself. Then, generally, one parent holds the baby, immunisations are administered (oral! needles! both! then another needle!) and if you can help it, don’t watch that giant needle go in your baby’s tiny fat thigh. Also, don’t watch their face transform from happy to distressed. Just look elsewhere. When the baby is good and hysterical, pass it onto the other parent for a hug. You are basically good cop/bad cop at immunisations. Except that sometimes it ends in a nurturing breastfeed, and that probably doesn’t happen often on Law & Order. (I could be wrong. There are a lot of episodes.)

As they get older, there are different tricks. The Rocket recently had her eighteen-month immunisation, which was just one jab in the arm. As soon as we sat down, the nurse gave her a swirly stamp on her right hand. The Rocket was as excited as is physically possible to be, and the nurse said to me, “Right. When I tell you, stamp her other hand with this flower stamp.” On the count of three, I stamped, the needle went in. The Rocket was again thrilled by her stamp. She paused and looked at her shoulder, then went back to looking at her stamp. Not a peep. No rage. Nothing. We went back outside to sit in those chairs for fifteen minutes–to wait and make sure there’s no adverse reaction–and played with the new things we bought her to make it up to her that we’d just caused her deliberate physical pain. She didn’t care, though she happily shared some of her space stickers with a new friend she made, then she and the friend nicked some other kid’s iPad and watched Charley Bear (a terrible, horrible, no good very bad show). Then, when we put her in the car to go home, we accidentally pinched her with the belt buckle. Then she cried.

There is no real point to this post. Immunisations are awful and necessary. Teach gets very anxious about them; I barely muster up any stress until I see the needles. The Rocket has held a grudge against me about a PlayDough incident that last longer than any immunisation-based grudges. They are horrible. And you are doing a marvellous thing.

A wild Immunisation Monster appears.

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