This past Monday was Claire's first dentist visit. I always assumed certain things would be momentous parenting moments: Kindergarten graduation, riding a bike, driving car, prom.. but I never expected the full blown, heart tugging moments that have jumped up and grabbed me.
Take for instance Claire's first ballet class. It took me completely by surprise how my heart was filled with joy over-brimming and I couldn't have been more proud- with her little bun, and her chin ducked down in concentration, tongue in her cheek, trying to focus so hard and to do every little thing the teacher told her.
I about passed out from glee!
And again this week another experience rivaled it both in joy and in the surprise of the depth of pride it brought me.
We've had Claire's first dentist appointment on the books for a while. I've been talking to her about it and what she might expect.
A month ago I gave Claire her first hair "cut" (trim) and as I was cutting Claire said, "Save some for the dentist!"...
So clearly she was thinking about the visit a lot but was also confused as to what would really happen there.
For the record, I had told her some day she would sit in a chair and a woman would wash her hair and cut it. And perhaps the big special chair of dentistry just melded with hair cutting.
Fast forward to Monday. I got a sitter, and Sophie howled with sorrow that she couldn't come. I saw a little glimpse into Claire's heart as she got down by Sophie and said, "Sophie, the dentist isn't all fun... it's actually a little scary." Which sobered Sophie up quite nicely and she was then quite content to wish us well as we left without her and little brother.
As we pulled up at the dentist I told Claire she would need to walk in to the office and the big desk and say her full name and that she had an appointment.
She straightened her little back, and as solemnly as she could walked up to the front desk and almost inaudibly said her full name.
The receptionists all "ahhed" in unison and commented on her serious face.
I took the clipboard and sat to fill in her information and Claire asked me no less than 5 times if she could do it. Finally, at the end, I handed her the clip board with the pen dangling by a light chain, and she said and oh so carefully wrote her name in scrawling, big overlooping letters and then straight as an arrow walked the clipboard back up to the receptionists, turned on a dime and went and sat in a chair to peruse a magazine.
The receptionists all commented on how cute and passed the clipboard around to look at how she wrote her own name.
At last our hygenist came out to call Claire. Claire asked if she could go alone. The answer was no, I would be going with her (such a big girl now!). I could see her eyeing Jill's (the hygensist's) neon pink smock with glee and wonder. It was neon pink and almost seemed to be glowing.
Maybe what brought me such joy was seeing her interact with the world for the first time on her own. Her joy, reserve, courage and brazen curiosity. And in it all seeing myself at the core.
She climbed up into the large dentist chair at first timidly but as soon as she felt the soft leather the sheer joy of adventure overrode any fear (again, like mom). She let Miss Jill show her the tools (Mr. Squirt and Mr. Thirsty) and let her count her teeth then clean them.
She even opened as widely as she could so the dentist could "count" her teeth too (check them).
I was simultaneously overflowing with pride and joy while also so shocked at the depth of emotion in such a mundane moment.
Parenting.. full of surprises!