Divide & Conquer

At the quads two-year well visit, our pediatrician encouraged us to take the quads to a pediatric dentist.  We had so many appointments due in the summer, I put the dental visit off.   I finally scheduled an appointment for all four, and made sure it was a day when George was off work.   The week prior to the appointment, I read a Bernstein Bears book about going to the dentist and practiced looking at the quad’s teeth.  I also showed them pictures of some of our quad buddies at the dentist.  These kids were going to be prepared!  The evening before the appointment, Mason was fussy and his eyes were a little glassy.  We put him to bed with Benedryl thinking it was seasonal allergies.

By morning, Mason was moaning.  Under the cover of darkness, I got him out of bed and immediately knew he had fever.   I padded to the bathroom for an official temperature check.  The Exergen delivered the news- 101.5.  Fever.  Without much thought, I started pouring Advil into our Elmo dispenser.  All of this and I didn’t notice Mason looked like this:


The poor kid looked awful.  I wanted to believe it was seasonal allergies, but fever indicated otherwise. Mason wasn’t going to the dentist.  As our 9:30 dental appointment approached I started troubleshooting.  I thought I’d haul the three healthy ones to the dentist and leave George at home with Mason.  I figured with a twin stroller I could contain two kids while leaving one free for an exam.  It would be hard but totally workable.  What I didn’t realize is that George wanted take the kids to their first dental appointment.  Yet, sending George with all three didn’t sound like a good idea.  It was time for the ‘ol divide and conquer play.

George took Sydney and Harper first while I kept the other two.  According to George, both kids opened their mouths and let the dentist check their teeth.  Sydney appeared most at ease so x- rays were attempted, but she wouldn’t stay still long enough.  Nonetheless, both got to choose a prize and new toothbrush.

dental x rays for a toddler

The dentist snapped this picture of George with Sydney and Harper.

first dentist's appointment

Once George, Sydney, and Harper were back home, I loaded Rylin into the van.  Though it wasn’t my original plan, I really enjoyed taking just one child to the dentist.  Rylin lapped up the attention.  In the waiting room, Rylin chatted up other parents telling them about her pink and gold beaded necklaces and fluffy boots.  Upon meeting the dentist, Rylin willingly opened her mouth for an exam and sat with the dentist.   Her favorite part of the visit was getting a pink princess toothbrush then choosing a fairy wand from the treasure box.  She also chose on Mason’s behalf, and we rescheduled his appointment.


When we got home it was time for Mason to take another dose of Benedryl and Advil.  He wasn’t too keen on the idea so I gave him a straw.  He slurped it as if it were juice.  Before bed, I gave him a curly straw, which he really appreciated.  I think I’m onto something here.

Use a straw to get toddlers to take liquid medicine!

The ol’ divide and conquer play worked out well.  Everyone will revisit the dentist in six months and will hopefully tolerate a cleaning.



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