Yesterday I remembered.
"We have to go to the dentist tomorrow," I said.
"Who's 'we'?" inquired Matt, with interest and suspicion.
"You and me," I said.
"But not the children? The children don't have to go to the dentist," he said.
"Well. But the children do have to go, if we both go," I said apologetically and tragically.
And so it happened that all eight of us went to the dentist today, me for a filling, Matt for a cleaning, and six children to "sit nicely and read books" as I explained in hopeless desperation.
I made them dress up and comb their hair and lathered myself with eye shadow and some other stuff. The thing is, I've been to the dentist a lot lately, as I've chronicled on Facebook. I've gone from being someone in mortal fear, through drilling and trauma, to being someone who just walks in to the Dentist Waiting Room like its no big deal. And that's largely because the Dentist herself and all the people who work with her are SO KIND, so extremely kind. As I said to Matt on the way home, "they don't make you feel like a worm and no man and a Really Bad Person" when you walk in and open your mouth. I mean, that seems obvious, that a Dentist shouldn't make you feel awful about yourself every time you go. But it Isn't. Every other dentist I've ever been to has not only inflicted physical pain, but spiritual pain to match. I've come to treasure the women in this office, and thank God that they send their children to regular school so that they're free on Mondays when we all come filing in. That was the substance of my lecture to the back of the car on the way there.
"You be obedient and respectful and kind," I waved my finger in the air, "because you're all eventually going to be sitting there with your mouth open and it's better if they generally like you and don't think you're awful." The children all cowered back and narrowed their eyes. "AND you can have a big handful of chocolate at the end if you're good." The looked vaguely mollified, "AND I'll give money to you older ones if you keep the babies quiet and happy."
I lay back in my perfectly contoured chair for an hour of blood, gagging and pain, listening to Matt in the next room "chat" as one chats to any dentist with the mouth wide open, "cragaouveaawwrhh." And vaguely from the Waiting Room came the sound of Elphine saying "shhh" every so often and then...silence. Real complete quiet. The only other sound? The many congratulations of everyone for how nicely they all "sat and read books" and also played with the iPad and iPods and all the other electronic devices I dragged along. I shouldn't have been so geared up. They're basically good children. But, you know, its the Dentist.