When your kids' life is great and you find that annoying

  • Posted on
  • in

FullSizeRenderdent3.jpgMy 5 year old  loves going to the dentist, and with good reason. Every single moment of it is a delightful experience for him, from the toys in the waiting room to the hero's welcome he receives when he arrives. Juana, his hygienist, has convinced him that when he presses his nose, the examining chair raises and lowers. He has his choice of DVDs to watch while he gets his cleaning. Throughout the entire visit, Juana and the dentist praise him for being so good.) Then at the end he receives a token with which he can use to buy a little piece of crap "prize" for enduring these 20 minutes of fun and ego-fluffing. Whenever he goes he's like Brad from "Happy Endings" (up until the part where he learns he has a cavity):  

Now the little brother is getting into the act. On Tuesday we brought the 2 year old along for the 5 year old's cleaning and, unsurprisingly, it looked so fun to him he climbed right on board in the magical chair alongside his brother. He even got a token for a toy despite not actually getting his teeth cleaned (in fact usually when he "brushes" his teeth at home he just sucks the toothpaste right off the brush with a minimum of actual brushing.)

On one hand I feel a sense of pride and relief that the dentist's is such a happy place for my kids but I also recognize a feeling that I used to notice in my own parents. It's both pleasure in and resentment of your child's good fortune. I'm truly grateful that going to the dentist is something we all look forward to but I also roll my eyes a little bit over the ways it's catered to them. I don't remember getting a multitude of delicious flavors of toothpaste from which to choose when I was a child. There definitely was no TV and no prize, unless your "prize" was a shiny new toothbrush. Don't even get me started on kids' haircut joints and how those are basically glorified amusement parks. Which we totally go to.

I'm sure this type of happiness/resentment must still exist in parents of adult children now. I have become aware, lately, that there are franchises where you can take your child to be de-loused (and in a nice salon way, not "spray the child with scalding hot water and chemicals" way). I can only imagine the grandparents out there who think "In my day when your kid had lice you had to sit with them for hours finding them all, not just take them to some handy-dandy shop."

Anyway I look forward, assuming we all live this long, to seeing how children's lives become more streamlined in the future and how this current crop of kids manages to claim that their lives were tough. They'll probably say something like "Self-driving cars? In my day you had to summon a Lyft yourself!"