So I'm Irish. I have an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, tiny-winy temper. Those that know me well are laughing right now, but it's true. I have been called compassionate and long-suffering. On some occasions, the gracious euphemism "patience of Job" has even been applied, of which, I might add, I am entirely unworthy. Nevertheless, neither am I prone to quickly letting previously mentioned Irish temper fly off the handle. It takes some pushing. But when I'm pushed to the edge--or rather OVER the edge--my husband and other loved ones will attest, ground zero is no place to be.
Such was the case yesterday, when I received a bill from my child's dentist for $68.00. This charge was stated to be for "Behavior Management." Here, some back story is required. My son is three. He grinds his teeth while sleeping (just like his daddy). Consequently, at his three year check up, it was concluded that the poor child would need crowns, because his front teeth were naught but stubs. These crowns were not covered by insurance, and were going to cost us $360.
Now understand, we had just passed through a very expensive spring. We had replaced the transmission in our van; our toilet had overflowed and soaked multiple rooms, thus requiring our carpet to be replaced; and because none of our ice-age-dated windows would open to properly vent the wet floors, those had to be replaced as well. In the words of Bing Crosby, the bill loomed somewhere "between ouch and boing!"
For this reason, we decided to save for three months to pay for the crowns in cash. Three months later, we visited accordingly, at which point, we were informed, they could not see him for the procedure for another three months, and that because we had waited, a pulpotomy might be necessary. This possible necessity was mentioned only lightly and in passing, neither was it explained at any length. Layman's terms PLEASE. I'm just a mom, and I may know many large words, but unfortunately, "pulpotomy" was not on my vocabulary list. In fact, spell check is informing me now, I don't even know how to spell it.
Well, on the day of the appointment, I arrived timely, but alone with the two children, and the drama unfolded. For those of you as lost as I was, a pulpotomy is a root canal. My poor baby had to have a root canal and then two crowns. To make matters worse, because I was alone and had my youngest with me as well, they informed me that I would not be allowed to go with him into the procedure. They used no sedation, only a local anesthetic in the gums. Naturally, the poor child was distressed, so they had to use a child's straight jacket--known in the dental world as a papoose.
The total experience was horrific. They brought him to me thirty minutes later, terrified, tearful, and extremely traumatized. To add insult to injury, with his two silver front teeth, he looked something akin to a white rapper. They gave him a little rubber bath fish for his trouble, and believe me, when you've had a morning like that, cheap toys just don't count for bling.
So, how does all this tie in. Well, yesterday, right before my aerobics class, I received the aforementioned bill. They were going to charge me $68.00 for the use of the papoose. My precipice had been reached. I picked up the phone, and with a terribly low degree of sanctification, told them I was not paying for the use of the trauma-inducing piece of equipment that they confirmed to have sanitized and used on their next poor victim. I must have been fairly formidable, because when the office manager called me back thirty minutes later, she had made the bill disappear.
I was now so very ready for aerobics. I was ready to sweat out my tension. I was ready to get it on, and since my hubby was supposed to be home in time to watch the children, I had especially been anticipating my sweat session through the day--ahhhh--a few moments of mental clarity and singular focus. And then. One of Wade's terribly responsible co-workers did not show up for shift (this happens habitually) and suddenly, the children were coming with me. Again.
Into the car we and all of our network went--the children, the diaper bag, my purse, the cups, the snacks, the toys, the coats, the pac n' play, etc., etc., etc. My sanity, however, I left on the front porch for sheer lack of space. We arrived on time, and my two aerobics programs commenced.
One, two, three, four! Jump, run, sweat, pant.
"Mommy! my nose is running!" Jog over; wipe nose while jogging in place; return to position.
One, two, five, seven! Jump, trip, sweat, lurch.
"Mommy! Maggie dumped the cookies!" Jog over; jog in place while bent at 20 degree angle to pick up cookies; return to position.
"Mommy! I have to go potty!" Jog over; take child out of pack and play; jog to bathroom; jog in front of stall while directing child to pee while standing (since he's actually tall enough now). Stupid mommy. Jog in place while cleaning up mess; child's skill level at directed activity is currently at blind gardener level. Return child to pack n' play. Return to position.
I am now too out of breath to count aloud. I try to stay at least six steps behind the instructor while watching her with one eye and my children with the other. I step out of rank yet another time to instruct one child not to stand on the other.
And about now I'm thinking that I really WOULD pay good money for behavior management.