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Cora Rocks The Dentist's Office

Cora went to see the dentist for the first
time yesterday. Yes, she’s three. It’s the same age we
started Maddie at, and she survived, so there you go.

Cora’s been to the dentist’s office a couple times
before with Maddie, so she knew what to expect. And where Maddie
was fearful – the whole “new situation” thing
– Cora was straining at the leash.

“Is today the day I go to the dentist?” Cora said every
morning this week – and not in a “dreading it”
way, but in a “please tell me it’s Christmas
morning!” way. She was so ready to get in the dentist’s
chair that she asked if we could leave story time at the library
early – before we’d even sung her favorite song.

“Today’s Cora’s turn at
the dentist! No one in this family is going to the dentist except
Cora! Make way for Cora!” Cora cried in a running monologue
as we walked into the office. Cora found her favorite chair –
a large plastic tooth you can sit on – dragged it to an
optimum spot, sat, and stared at the inner door, willing it to

When she finally was called back, Cora made a beeline for the
reclining chair, half into it before the assistant could stop her
and call her over for a first-time chat. Pleasantries out of the
way, Cora was allowed into the seat and suffered with thinly veiled
impatience while the hygienist went through her usual introductory
routine: “Here’s Mr. Thirsty! And here are tiny towels
we use to dry your teeth! And that’s Mr. Flashlight, and
he’s so bright you have to wear sunglasses when you lie on
the chair!” Yeah, yeah, lady, get on with it, Cora seemed to

Cleaning? Sure thing. Plaque scraping? Okey-dokey. Bite-wing
x-rays? C’mon in. I’m telling you, I don’t know
what it is, but my kid thoroughly enjoyed the entire time. When the
hygienist said she was bringing over the camera to take a picture
of Cora’s teeth, she pointed the camera at Cora’s face
for a moment, at which point Cora immediately broke into her best
eye-blinding pageant grin. The hygienist cracked up.

When the doctor came over, Cora flashed her a brilliant, shiny
smile and stared at her just a tiny bit adoringly the whole exam.
The staff couldn’t get over Cora’s enthusiasm and
happiness during the whole visit, and frankly I wasn’t sure
myself where it came from.

Partly, I’m sure, it was a feeling of moving to the next
big-girl thing, just like Maddie: Cora’s finally old enough
to go to the dentist, that sort of thing. But that Cora’s
personality is so distinct from Maddie’s was starkly obvious
yesterday – she simply didn’t have the fear Maddie did.

Towards the end of the exam, another child came in – a young
boy of six or so. As soon as he walked in he began wailing, and the
crying turned into screaming and clutching, trying to scramble out
of the exam chair. Cora looked at the hygienist and said,
“What’s the matter with that boy?”

The hygienist smiled reassuringly. “He’s just a little
afraid, and doesn’t want to be here.”

Cora looked at the boy in disbelief. “Well, someone should
tell him he’s at the DENTIST!” she said, clearly
thinking this was a case of mistaken location fear. Cora then
offered to go clear things up for the boy, sure he’d turn
that frown upside down when he realized where he was.

The hygienist turned to me and said, “How much would you
charge to rent her as a mascot?”



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