Monday, August 11, 2008

"Hey! We're not ladies... we're triplets!"

So we survived the girls' first trip to the dentist, and although I'd dreaded it for weeks, we came out virtually unscathed. No PRE-appointment waiting room histrionics, no dental chair melt-downs, and perhaps most importantly... NO CAVITIES! Which, when you consider that the older three had cavity-free visits last month, this adds up to six cavity-free mouths and one very happy mom. (I suppose it's another "you know you have a lot of kids when..." that we weren't able to schedule all my kids' dental visits in one trip.)

I'm sure we were helped by the fact that we go to a pediatric dentist who is as fabulous as he is patient, and that the office is well-equipped for little ones. But I love this office most for their ingenious policy of taking the child back to the exam room for cleaning and x-rays and exams WITHOUT the presence of their parent. Even when they're just three years old. Seriously. A nice hygienist calls out your child's name, and gently whisks him/her away by the hand, assuring that they'll come get you if they encounter any problems but that kids do best without the moms right there. (Code for: moms hover and it makes the kids nervous and we want you to just back off!) The Mama Bear in me was nervous about this policy at first (do they do this for everyone, or just me? How did they know that I'm a hover-er?), but it went so smoothly for Tanner's first appointment last year (and again last month), that I came to see the wisdom of this policy. And I won't lie: that kid-free hour was the most peaceful I'd had in weeks.

So I was experienced with office policy and was bracing myself for the girls to melt down when somebody came to get them, but, shockingly, they allowed themselves to be led away. This alone was a miracle because, frankly, it could have gone either way. You see, it's a gang mentality thing: if one triplet decides that it's okay and that she's willing to go along (usually Sydney), then the others follow suit. But if one triplet (usually Riley) decides that she's not okay with what's about to happen and freaks out, then they ALL start to freak out and there's no hope for turning the situation around. It's an all-or-nothing endeavor.

Fortunately, it went our way. The girls were taken deep into the bowels of the dental office (which must be sound-proof because I could hear nothing) and I sat there, agape, and a little unsure of what to do with myself. No kids? Really? Tanner was at a friend's and the big two were at piano and I was... utterly alone. Lucky for me (?) I had a mountain of "patient's first appointment" paperwork to fill out (in triplicate), so I took my sweet time. One of the questions amused me: "In one sentence or three adjectives, describe your child's personality." Piece of cake. Sydney: adventurous, thoughtful, caring. Riley: introverted, sweet, sensitive. Bailey: feisty, temperamental, charming.

I was musing over this when one of the receptionists came into the waiting room. "Are you the mother of the triplets?" Gulp. "That depends," I joked. "Is somebody throwing a tantrum?" "No, no," she gushed. "They are just adorable. We are getting such a kick out of them! In fact, the doctor wanted me to come tell you what just happened!" Gulp again.

Apparently the girls were set up together like an assembly line on three side-by-side dental chairs in their matching little outfits and hairbows and shoes (a ploy to make them seem as sweet as they look), when the good dentist walked by and said, "Hello, ladies!" He was answered by an indignant Bailey who replied with hand on hip, "Hey! We're not ladies! We're triplets!"

Truer words were never spoken.

And the funny thing was that if I'd finished filling out my paperwork in time, they wouldn't have had to describe which triplet it was (shortest, round face, blondish hair) in order to know that Bailey was the culprit. Because it was written right there on the paperwork: Feisty. Temperamental. (Don't you dare call her a lady!) But charming. She had the entire office in stitches.

And, just when I thought we could make our escape without a single incident... they gave the girls balloons and goody bags. UGH! (I've posted this before, but I'll repeat myself again: goody bags are the bane of my existence! Followed closely by balloons. I appreciate the thought, but, UGH! The kids fight over whose bag is whose before I can write names on them and somebody inevitably has something that is different and therefore better than the other people have, and somebody has the wrong color of toothbrush when their favorite color is in fact green, and somebody is missing their tin of dental floss, and somebody spills their ACT fluoride rinse mini all over the carpet of the waiting room, and... you get the picture.) I'm pretty sure that goody bags were invented for only children.

Things fell rapidly apart from there. In the three minutes it took from receipt of goody bags and balloons to the office exit, I was pretty sure that our "adorable" facade was blown to bits. Such howling had never been heard there before. Even in the dental chair. I left the office with one girl on each hip, one by the wrist (getting knocked in the face by the diaper bag), and all four of us hopelessly tangled up in balloon strings. Again, Ugh! Balloons.

But we made it, and with the exception of those last few minutes, the experience was relaxing and pleasant. (How often can you say that about a dental visit?) Yet one thing is for certain: our entire pediatric dental office now knows that my girls are triplets. And definitely not ladies.


Julie Konchar said...

Happy, happy, joy, joy! I just got back from my time away, and logged on to find:
A brand new, delightfully delightful post full of some of my very favorite people! This makes me think I should go away more often. Of course, you probably wouldn't have to twist my arm to get me to leave my monkeys for a few days and head off to our 15th anniversary extravaganza. It wasn't actually very extravagant, hanging out in a ski town during the lazy summer season, but it was pretty fun, nonetheless. Dare I hope for more posts in the near future.....

Christy Bishop said...

oh my gosh! How did you get that spectacular picture of the girls? It goes perfect with the hilarious story of their trip to the dentist since you can see 3 perfect smiles! But those 6 semi-circle eyes caught my attention. They are so beautiful.

SpaceyKasey said...

I am so impressed! No cavities. Wow.

You know that dentist office loved them...They're adorable as evidenced by that picture. I'm in love.

We can imagine Bailey sassing to that dentist in her "More milky Mommy" voice. Oh...Cute!

Judy Ryan said...

Dad told me this story no less than three times (I'm not kidding, like one for every girl) and then MADE me (it wasn't hard) get online and read it all over again. The first time I heard it, he said, "...and then one of them piped up and said, 'Hey! We aren't ladies...(etc.)'... and guess who that was?"

"Bailey," I said, with confidence.

Yep, I know my ladies... uh, triplets.

Anonymous said...

Wow that is not what I was expecting for from the triplets first dentist office (asides from the last part)
What they said was adorable
"We're not ladies we're triplets"
I can imagine them saying that.

kelly said...

hey kel, long time no post! where have you been, being a mother to 6 kids or something? i missed you and am happy that liar song is over :)
that picture is adorable! Miss You big time!
i re-did my blog at if you want to stop by.

linda said...

Congratulations on a successful dentist visit. John still throws a tantrum every time we go to the dentist(just kidding). The pic is adorable of the triplets. They all have their nice shiny teeth. speaking teeth, I will throw in here, that Zachary got his braces off yesterday. Beautiful. I will send pics soon. Love to all and take care!!