23 October 2009

I'm not afraid

I went to the dentist this week.

I hate the dentist.

I get queasy when I walk into the office and breathe "the smell". I tense right up when I hear the drill. And I leave with relief when I know I don't have to go back for another six months.

I don't want my kids to hate going to the dentist. So, this visit, I took them back to see the special chair and all the fun things for their own visit in a few weeks. (Jack's been a few times, but this will be Jane's first.) I got them all excited about how FUN it will be, and how COOL all the tools are, and how the dentist is SO awesome. Do I really feel this way? Nope.

As I sat tensely in the chair having them tear up my gums (it's been far too long since we've actually been this time around, two years in Thailand, some time before, some time after... you do the math), I thought of all the things I do so my kids will have positive thoughts about the things I don't.

The first one I thought of... swimming.

I'm a terrible swimmer, and it's always made me nervous. All my childhood nightmares have to do with water or fire. Yet, as soon as Jack was old enough, I put him in a mom and tot class so he wouldn't have any reason to be afraid. Living in Thailand, we could swim year around, so we did. We swam constantly. I put the kids in swim classes and they learned to love the water. I considered this a personal victory in a way. One down.

I love lightening, but thunder has always made me nervous (still does sometimes). This makes no sense since lightening is actually the one that can do some damage. Growing up, I remember my parents allowing me to sleep on their floor occasionally because it made me so nervous during the night. When Jack started to show signs of fear due to thunder, I made up a very elaborate story of a giant in the sky who was telling hilarious jokes with friends and how the thunder was them all laughing at the funniest jokes of all. Two down.

Do I love spiders, snakes, and other crawling things? Not my favorite, but I definitely try to put on a brave face. My mom was the BEST at smashing any spider we ran screaming about. She was so tough (or was she just a good actress?). I remembered our trip to Malaysia where Jack dared me to hold the snake he SO wanted to hold, yet didn't have the guts. I did it because I wanted him to know it wasn't a big deal. I wouldn't have done it for anyone else, because I just didn't want to. But, in an attempt at being a good mother, I decided not to limit Jack's experiences because of something I don't care for. He held the snake.

I also remember dreading Sundays while on vacation as a kid. Being the "visitor" was never fun. As an adult, I love visiting other wards and meeting new people. We always try and stay the whole block and make our kids go to their classes, where they experience being the "visitor" and seem to thrive time and time again. What was my problem? Who knows how long it will last, but for now, another one down... and how many to go?

I just discovered a new one that's coming right up... loose teeth. It's hard for me not to cringe. Obviously, I have something with teeth. Jack's teeth are going to start falling out any day now and as exciting as it will be for us to watch him hit this milestone, I'll have to practice my happy face.

Am I the only parent who does this?

What happens when my kids discover all the things I've done to make them love things I hate? Am I doing them a disservice? Or, do they ever really need to know?

I won't tell if you don't.

PS While looking for a funny joke to put in Jack's lunch box, I came across one that I couldn't stop laughing about.

Q. What's brown and sticky?

A. A stick.

I know, I'm a nerd.


Adri said...

I love my dentist. A lot. But, sitting in his chair, drill in hand? Not so much!

I think you are a GREAT mom, by the way. I wish you lived next door so I could run over for mom pep talks and advice every day. You wanted to move to Colorado, didn't you? :)

Danielle and Jesse said...

Well since we don't have kids I hate to give advice but I think you're doing them a service. What an awesome thing for them to not be scared of the dentist, thunder, spiders, snakes, etc. Fake it till you make it!. I'm still scared of the dark so I wish someone would have done that with me! :)

PS That is Jesse's favorite joke. I laughed when I saw that you had that on here! He will be proud.

Bettie said...

I love that joke! It reminds me of Bryce's favorite joke when he was five. "Wanna hear a joke?.............JOKE!" Haha. And his second favorite: "What's that white stuff in bird poop?"
"That's bird poop, too!"

By the way, I think it's a wonderful idea not to put your fears on your kids...I'm sure I will anyway - but hopefully not ones that have no foundation. I want them to be scared of boys - til they are 20 :)