Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Negotiator

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.


  1. What a great story.
    A promise honored. Mercy extended. And the fine art of negotiation.
    Hoping they are both feeling relief soon.
    No one likes the thought of a tooth ache!
    Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,

  2. Wow ... I am in awe of her negotiating skills especially at her age! (Sorry to Hannah for having to be the younger sister on that one though!) Love that you told Rita to "nuture" those skills! Oh and the dentist sounds like a very nice one! I totally feel for the girls. I had wicked-crooked teeth pre-braces albeit healthy teeth praise the Lord! But to get my teeth to fit in my small mouth I had to have at least 8 pulled including my Wisdom Teeth ... so I feel their pain and angst! I unfortunately do NOT have ANY negotiating skills and never even thought about talking my way out of it. Dang.
    I do have nice teeth to show for it now though ... on the other side of a lot of pain however! (Mainly from the braces.)

  3. That dentist sounds like a sweet one!

  4. Sounds like you have quite the bright young lady on your hands!! ...and a very tender dentist as the recipient of such a convincing young negotiator!! ;) Now if it were me, I'd just as soon get it over with, so that the healing process could begin... the anticipation of that upcoming 'appointment' would drive me batty! But it looks like young Elizabeth sees things much differently. Little stinker!! :)

  5. I love the joy on the girls' faces in the picture above! What an incredible transition for them! And the story about Elizabeth "negotiating" with the dentist...well, all I can say is LOL! :) I think that girl's got a bright future in the public arena!

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  7. Heh. Now THAT is a girl I'd like to meet. She's gonna rule her little corner of the world someday.

  8. Love that story. Wish my Amelia (5) had her skills. She's also had several abscessed teeth. She always done wonderfully at the dentist until she realized that the "sleepy water" was actually a shot of novacaine. Her last tooth didn't get pulled on the first visit either, but it wasn't her negotiation skills, but her evasive measures which won:)