It’s so personal and invasive. They inspect you and search for problems. They grade your ability to do the job right. You can’t hide the truth. I squirmed under the spotlight.
“Uhhhh, no. Not really. Not often.” There’s no way to meet his eyes.
“Mmm hmm. I can tell.” He was clearly used to this, but still disappointed.
Eager to end the conversation, I mutter to him. “I’ll start flossing more…” I am careful not to promise how often this will occur. I am a working, single mom; usually, I barely have time to pee. How am I supposed to find time to carefully floss everyday?
Toddler tiger sits in my lap, and the dentist asks her, “Do you brush your teeth?”
She nods carefully, eyes wide.
“Who helps you brush your teeth?”
I look at her expectantly. To my horror, she is silent, as if I don’t exist. He repeats the question. She slowly turns her head to look up at me and says quietly, “Mommy.”
My heart starts beating again, and I feel like I just barely passed a test.
He turns his attention back to me. “What kind of toothbrush do you use?”
“A regular toothbrush?” I wasn’t quite sure what kind of answer he was searching for. My nervous babbling took over, trying to find a way to make me look even more stupid. “I mean, I have the sonic toothbrushes. For all of us. It’s just that I need to open the box and take them out. Then we can use them. I have them,” I repeated. “It’s at home. In the box.”
He chuckled at me and stated the obvious, because that’s always helpful. “It would be good to take them out of the box. It’s as easy as -” he mimed opening a box and pulling out a toothbrush. “They work better out of the box.”
“Right. They do. You’re right. I’ll take them out.” I promised a few rainbows and unicorns, anything to get rid of the attention. And maybe, just maybe – I will floss tonight.