Attempting a Dental Cleaning with Fragile X

It's my hope to get more regular with Fragile X posts. Perhaps two "Fragile X Fridays" a month--one personal story and one interview featuring another family in the FX community. It's a thought, a definite maybe, so along that line of thinking... a story from this week:

Tuesday as we walked out of the dentist office, I had half-moon fingernail indentations in my arms from where my six-year-old with Fragile X Syndrome had squeezed them so hard. This happened because I had to keep him in place (pin him down) so the hygienist could do her cleaning. It’s okay—all but one of the marks on my arm had faded by the time we’d left the parking lot.

We got through the cleaning this way:

I pinned him to the chair and slowly, slowly counted to ten while the hygienist cleaned my guy’s top right teeth. At ten he sprang up and I squeezed him—holding him against me as tightly as I could. When I released him I squeezed down his arms. Then I told him we had to do it again.  

“Mommy count ten. Then take a break," I promised. 

Top left teeth done the same way. 

Repeat the break. 

Repeat the reminder. 

Then on to the bottom right… 

Four slooooowwww counts of ten, four breaks. Then the dentist came and we had to repeat this two more times. The first time so she could look around. The second so she could brush on fluoride. 

My guy had his own private room. It’s a fancy shmancy pediatric dentist with great toys and animated movies playing in both the front and back waiting rooms. We’ve been going since he was two. The dentist always gets bit at least once, but she never complains. All in all, not so bad. 

This is the first time they brushed his teeth with the electric polisher that I can remember. Ditto for the brushed on fluoride. It was also the most he’s struggled and resisted as well. But—he’d just lost a tooth the night before and had a lot of anxiety about all things mouth in the week leading up to his appointment. 

That stupid tooth was so ready to come out, but it took a week of negotiations. (“First Mommy gets five wiggles, then you can have your iPad.”) After days of this it was so loose I figured eating or brushing his teeth would simply bump it out, but no such luck. Finally on the night before his appointment I said, “Mommy gets one pull.” Which he didn’t exactly agree to...

 The hardest part of a dentist appointment is the paying because by then I’m frazzled and my FX guy is hyperaroused. Big brothers fail to heed my instructions to “keep Toby with you,” so I’m trying to pay, schedule the kids’ next appointments, and go over the payment plan for my oldest son’s impending orthodontia all between chasing my frantic FX guy around the office.  

Good times.  

It’s been a long while since we’ve had a Fragile X related public struggle. Lately our guy has been totally awesome on grocery store errands, hanging with us in the Chipotle line, and library stops. (But not the post office. I will not take him to the post office!) 

The anxiety built up because of the pre-appointment loose tooth sabotaged us. Cash in the tooth fairy pillow and the enjoyed activity of bringing down the fish bank (His piggy bank is a fish.) to put in his dollar was NOT enough to make up for it. 

It’s okay. These struggles are common but not to the extent I’d call them our normal. But… Lord help us if he ever needs a filling.