Due to early malnutrition and poor medical care and the subsequent impact on their teeth, both Hannah and Elizabeth have had to spend quite a bit of time at the dentist’s office. Both of them are quickly catching on to the fact that it isn’t the most fun place in the world to visit, and the sucker they get at the end isn’t enough to make them think the trip is worthwhile.
Both of the girls have an abscessed baby tooth. After unsuccessfully trying to clear up the abscess by draining the infection and treating with antibiotics, the dentist told Rita (the girls’ foster mom) that they’d need to simply pull the baby teeth. So Rita took both girls to the dentist today, psyching them up for what was to come.
While Rita readied Hannah for her turn in the dental chair, Elizabeth happily chattered away with the dentist. Rita thought nothing of their conversation… just assumed Elizabeth was being her normal outgoing self. But when it came time for Elizabeth’s turn in the hot seat, it became quickly apparent that something else had transpired.
“Oh, I’m not pulling Elizabeth’s tooth today,” said the dentist.
“Why?” asked Rita, not understanding why the plans had changed.
“Oh, Elizabeth and I made a pact earlier,” the dentist explained. “I agreed that I’d only pull one girl’s tooth today, and Elizabeth said Hannah should go first. And, I’m not going to break my pact.”
“What!?” Rita incredulously asked, unsure of why a nine-year-old was being allowed to have a say in her dental care.
No amount of cajoling or convincing could change the dentist’s mind, so Rita left with Elizabeth’s dental work undone.
So what did we learn today? That Elizabeth has phenomenal negotiating skills. She could talk a jumper off a ledge. She could get a robber to release the hostages. She could broker world peace. We told Rita that these skills should be nurtured… not sure if she agreed. :)
And we learned our dentist is a bit of a softy. He mentioned more than once today that he wasn’t really a pediatric dentist. Evidently having to pull one little girl’s tooth was as much as he could handle in one day; the thought of doing two was unbearable.
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