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February 22, 2013

Stereotypes at the Dentist

The girls had a dentist appointment earlier this week.  They were so excited to go…one of the rare occasions I told them about an event beforehand…and they did a great job.  They sat so nicely in the chairs and answered the questions asked of them.  They even made a bit of conversation with the hygienists.  I was one proud mama!

I can’t help but think, though, about the conversation that surrounded our entire visit.  In hindsight, it almost felt like a landmine of topics…ack!

In the waiting room before our appointment, and then again in the exam room, I endured the typical comparisons of the girls.  She’s the talkative one, huh?” referring to B.  Nodding to A, “She’s so much taller, you’d think she’d be the boss, huh?  Gah!!!

And then later, “You’re the encourager, aren’t you?  Your sister is lucky to have you.”  I’d say both girls are lucky to have each other.

No, I don’t have my hands full…yes, they’re a double blessing…and wow! Twins can have different color eyes!  Lucky for me, that’s how I tell them apart.

The litany felt a little more concentrated that usual, but what struck me more was the conversation in the exam room…totally from a pop culture perspective.

The girls sat in their respective chairs, and they were offered sunglasses.  Baby A was handed some Hello Kitty ones.  Do you like Hello Kitty?” the hygienist asked her.  I piped in quickly, “Those are perfect!  Of course we love kitty cats!  I prompted A to tell the lady about Sasha.  The nice lady responded sweetly, but then she jumped right back to Hello Kitty.  I’ll bet you have lots of Hello Kitty stuff, huh?  It’s so adorable!

The next chair over, B was being offered Princess sunglasses.  Do you like Cinderella?  Or Belle?  Or Tiana?  I piped up, “Ooh, how about those flower glasses?  You love flowers!

Do you people work for a licensing company or something??? 

A few minutes later, one of the hygienists was asking me about the girls’ preschool, saying that someone from the dentist office would come and talk to the kids about oral health.  I dress up like the tooth fairy,” she told me.  The kids love it!  They don’t ask much about teeth…they want to know all about how I fly, and how I get into their rooms.”  Then, to B, “Do you love the tooth fairy?  I’ll bet you can’t wait until I come visit you!

Um, we don’t do Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy.  And thanks for scaring my kid that you’re coming to fly into her room while she sleeps.  Do you also have a clown costume?  She hates clowns!!!

At some point, I mentioned that we were going to Panera for a special snack after our appointment.  One of the ladies asked Baby A what she was going to have.  A bagel!  Ooh…do you like the cream cheese?  The cream cheese is the best part!  I love the hazelnut!

Um, my kids love their bagels toasted, without any spreads…and I’d prefer not to tell them the ooey-gooey sugary part is really what they’re missing.

That somehow led to a breakfast conversation.  I prompted A, “Can you tell her what you had for breakfast this morning?  Baby A responded, “Cream of wheat and cottage cheese and a banana and milk!

Ooh…I love cream of wheat!  What kind did you have?  Chocolate???

We eat whole grain cream of wheat, don’t we?  [We eat it plain, with just a little milk.  Let’s not let on how yummy it would be with cinnamon syrup stirred in, shall we???]

Yes, I know I’m conservative.  And yes, I know that’s certainly not the norm.  I consider it a very serious charge to protect my precious girls from the ills of marketing.  That’s why my girls know very little of any cartoon characters.

We don’t do Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.  I just find it creepy to play up that someone / something comes into our house while we’re sleeping.  I just think there’s all sorts of nightmare potential in the making...and I'd really prefer my girls sleep soundly.

And yes, I know it’s crazy to think that my girls don’t crave sugar.  I don’t know that I would have pinpointed this five years ago, but I realized at some point, my children will [more or less] learn to like what they’re fed.

My girls LOVE plain ‘ol whole grain cream of wheat.  They don’t know any different.

My girls LOVE a regular toasted bagel.  They think it’s a huge treat…because that’s the way I’ve positioned it to them.

I wasn’t “offended” by any of this conversation.  Certainly no one meant any harm…the wonderfully sweet ladies were just trying to relate to the girls, and I truly appreciate that effort.

I don’t mean to judge, either. Everyone has his own approach, for her own reason.

It was just so many things, in the span of 30 minutes, that reminded me that I have chosen to do things a little differently with our girls.  And I guess it was just a funny place to be reminded of our family decisions over the past four years, and how those compare to what I’m assuming is the average four-year old.

Not what I anticipated from a simple trip to the dentist!


Marcia (123 blog) said...

that's why I love you! I'm not quite as hardcore but around here I may as well be :)

even with the outing yesterday (you'll read in 2 hours), they could bring chips and cooldrink to school. I told mine, well, you know in our family we don't allow that so you can take popcorn and water :)

Brad Jenkins said...

Amen! I love when the girls get a gift of a princess or an outfit with the words like "yummy!", "hot stuff" etc. Mama and I look immediately for the gift receipt. If there isn't one, we know we'll be heading to Goodwill shortly so someone else can use it while we get a tax deduction.

yetunde said...

eek! sounds like one of those moment-days that you replay in your mind over and over again - I know I would

I feel you on making different choices for your kids and suddenly realizing how out of the norm you are. Just earlier in the week, I realized that my girls had never tasted chocolates!

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

Gosh, for a hygienist she was sure pushing the sugar!

Because marketing to kids is so rampant, I think mentioning "characters" is a pretty normal way for adults to try and make conversation with children. Usually my kids just give a blank stare or go along with the conversation as if they know what the person is talking about!

The one thing my children have taught me is not to sweat the small stuff. If you're setting the example at home, then you are doing the best possible job you can.

Happy Birthday!