Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Dentist

I live over two hours from the nearest Dentist. My new Dentist.

There used to be a Dentist in St George. You can read about her here. There are always two sides to every story. But I personally wouldn't have seen her if you'd paid me a large sum of money. Unfortunately for residents of the St George area, it was a case of seeing her, or driving hundreds of kilometres elsewhere. And now there is no one. So I find myself driving to Goondiwindi to see a new Dentist.

For as long as I can remember, I have been seeing a Dentist called 'Leo' (I can't show you his face because he is a REAL Dentist). Leo practices near the Gold Coast. (Over 700km from where I live). Leo likes working there because he says it is 'God's waiting room', and elderly people don't have a shortage of dental problems. I like him because he is what I know. Dentists are like hair dressers. When you find a good one, it's hard to let go. They know you, your history, and more importantly, you trust them - and I like to trust my Dentist with my teeth. And when you have teeth like mine, that's saying something. Plus he has a sense of humour. I like that in a Dentist. On our last visit, I told Leo about an 'Urban Legend' out where I live. 'Hot Andrew' the 'Hot Dentist'. I told Leo I was considering swapping over and going with the younger, hotter Dentist.

Leo told me a story about a very good looking Dentist-in-training he had with him several years earlier. This young Dentist-in-training was particularly nervous about giving an injection to a patient. He steadied himself for the job. The poor woman patient started squirming and wriggling and making gagging noises. The young Dentist asked her to please stay still as he was concentrating on giving her the needle and he needed her to say as still as possible. She continued to groan and wriggle. When the needle was done, the Dentist stood back and asked her if she was okay, and told her that he was sorry if it had hurt her, to which the woman replied, "You had your hand on my boob while you were steadying yourself!"

Again I digress.

My dental history goes something like this:
1. First filling around the same age I learn to walk. And then 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. in fairly quick succession. What can I say? I wasn't a junk food addict, I was just genetically blessed.
2. Repeat step 1 every other year. I learned to hate the Dentist from a very young age. I associated the Dentist with pain and discomfort.
3. And then when I was 13 or 14, I had braces put on. Thousands of dollars, countless sleepless nights, many packets of Panadol, and almost 3 years later, I had them removed. It's not prefect, but it's a darn sight better than it was. It was braces, or sawing my jaw off and realigning it. Yuck. But I credit my Orthodontist with giving me any of the confidence I possess today.
4. Then I found Leo. Dentistry had come a long way by then. Plus he gives us mates rates when we visit.
5. Unfortunately, the 700km to Leo is becoming harder and harder to do, so I decided I needed to find someone a little closer (and younger) to step up to the plate. And that's how I found Rhiannon.

Which leads me back to Hot Andrew. 'Hot Andrew' is, as I mentioned, something of an urban legend around these parts. Hot Andrew is very much alive and well, but very few people I know have actually seen him. He's such a popular Dentist that he is nearly impossible to get an appointment with. But I had to try. I wasn't sure how I felt about having Hot Andrew shove his hands into my open mouth to fix a chipped filling, but as I was desperate, I was up for anything. When I called to make an appointment, I could only get one with Rhiannon. As it turns out, Hot Andrew is married - to Hot Rhiannon. And she is lovely. And what's that on your certificate on the wall? You graduated with honours?? OHHHH - so Rhiannon, you are HOT, lovely, intelligent AND married to HOT ANDREW?! I would hate you, except right now I need to trust you and like you.

I was shown to the room, and immediately I felt good. Rhinannon asked me if I was okay, and as I looked up at the television staring back at me, I answered truthfully,"Well, having Enrique Iglesias singing 'I like it' to me as I receive dental work, certainly makes for a better dental experience." Apparently with Hot Andrew, you have to watch the sports channel. I liked Rhiannon already. After the whole thing was said and done, we chatted about how we both ended up in the bush. And that's when she broke the good news to me. I need a crown on my tooth. Fantastic...

"The bad news Jessie, is that sometimes with a crown, the nerve underneath can die, resulting in the need for root canal surgery..." At which point she must have seen my face and added, "Which isn't as bad as it sounds."

"I'm sorry Rhiannon... the phrase 'root canal surgery' coming out of a Dentist's mouth is just about as horrible as it gets for me. And I've had 3 babies without pain medication."

And that's how 2011 is going to be. I'll keep you posted.

But I walked out of there with a smile on my face. I have a new Dentist, who lives a darn sight closer than any other Dentist I've had before. And she's lovely. And smart. And nice. And I think I don't even mind the thought of going back to her.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Superstar

As it turns out, Olivia (my eldest), is something of an athlete. She's 5 of course, and I am being a stage mother. But in all seriousness, the girl can run! This is her (5 year age champion) in the front middle (yellow shirt). Tiny little munchkin in between all of those big kids. All of those serious athletes. I could just die with pride.

She really practised hard in preparation for this day.

In the afternoons, on the way home from the school bus, we stop the car about 2 km from our house (it's within the boundary of our property) and I let the kids take turns of sitting in my lap to 'drive' home. It's a farm thing. This year, however, Liv has decided to let her out 200m from the house so that she can run home. I'm not kidding. Clearly I was from different stock. I NEVER would have wanted to run home! Drive home, yes. But RUN home... NO WAY! But that's what she does. We stop at the last grid, and she runs home, way out in front of the car. Grinning from ear to ear the whole time.

So when it came to the sports carnival, where the Preppies (her year level) were running 50m, the stage Mum in me took over. I knew she had this in the bag. If my little girl can run 200m so quickly at home, she could do 50m no worries. The real issue wasn't the distance itself, it was mostly that she had never really run against anyone else before, and didn't fully understand the notion of 'competition.' So how do you instill 'run your hardest, and try your best' into your child, when all you can think is 'Flog them! Run so fast, that you can sit and watch them walk in 3 minutes later!' So I just went with, 'Hey Liv, this is a race. So run your hardest, try your best, and have fun! Oh, and no need to wave at Dad and I - we'll be waiting for you at the finish!'

And then the race was on. CP and I were cheering her on, and she got off to a fantastic start. But wait! What was happening??? Why are you stopping Liv?? Keep running! GO! GO! Run sweetie! Run! And then just as it looked like her competition was about to beat her, she stepped it up and barely beat them over the line. But it was CLOSE. We were (okay, I was) so proud! Okay, we both were, but I was relieved too.

Me: Hey darling! How good was that?! You did so well! I'm so proud of you! How do you feel?
Liv: Good. (Big hug)
Me: For a minute there, I thought you were going to stop! You normally run so much faster at home! But boy am I proud of you! You gave it your best!
Liv: No I didn't. I felt bad for the other girl, and thought it would be nicer if we could run next to each other.
Me: Oh okay...


So yeah. And then she completely surprised us by winning long jump as well!

Considering I don't have an athletic bone in my body, I was completely amazed by her efforts. Clearly those genes don't come from me, however, my mother would be quick to point out that there have been other good athletes on our side, even if those genes did manage to avoid me entirely. So anyway, looks like athletics could be her 'thing'. Lucky, considering the limited range of community options for country kids, when it comes to extra curricular activities. It's either athletics, league, swimming, pony club or ballet (if you are prepared to drive more than an hour several times a week, there are a few other activities available too). My child will probably never be a world class ballerina, pianist or cellist There is no one close by to nurture any latent talent. So it's good that Olivia likes athletics.

Today we had her swimming carnival. Olivia is not a 'champion' swimmer by any means, however one thing the girl does have is confidence. Her PE teacher called me last week to ask how I felt about putting her into a 25m swim event, when he wasn't sure she could really do it. It seems that Olivia felt that she was more than capable, and had even discussed the possibility of swimming on the side of the pool, so that she could stop if she needed to. I swear that my heart could have burst with pride after that phone call. And then today, on the way to the pool, she told me that she just can't wait to hear people cheering for her. Amazing.

And so here she is today.

That's my baby up the back with the two 'first' ribbons. But I have a confession. I thought they were 'participation' ribbons. Sympathy ribbons. I was wrong.  But let me go back a bit to explain.

I took my other two (smaller) babies to the pool with me this morning. We wanted to cheer Olivia on. We knew she would be in a few races that would probably be too hard for her, and we wanted to let her know that we were proud of her. Anyone with small children would understand what a nightmare it is taking them to a pool. Especially if you are there to watch another child. I just don't have the number of sets of eyes that is necessary to keep all of my children safe all of the time. So yeah, I was frustrated. And it was raining. So I was cold, and wet too.

But there we were, cheering Liv on, and she was loving it!

She was grinning from ear to ear, swimming her little heart out. Well, more like 'monkeying' along the edge of the pool, but she tried so hard, and I just love her for it. But you definitely couldn't call it 'swimming'. So we cheered, she grinned, and she did this three times before finally coming and telling me she was tired.

And she got her ribbons, but I truly didn't think they were 'firsts'. In all honesty, there were only one or two of them in her races. So at lunch time, when her three races were over and she had dried and dressed herself, I suggested we head home. Olivia wasn't keen on leaving. She wanted to stay and cheer on her friends in their races. I looked at Sam and Darcy - dead on legs - and then told Liv that we could stay for two more races to cheer on her friends. And cheer she did. She did the war cry. She ran up the side of the pool, calling out the names of her team mates and friends. She clapped and smiled. I was so proud that my baby girl had so much more team spirit than even I could muster. And when the two races were said and done, we went home. As we left the pool, Liv asked me what would happen if she got a medal at the end of the day? And herein lies my confession.

I truly believed that there was no way Olivia was in the running for a medal. I had two smaller children crying and almost sleeping in my arms. I just wanted to go home, and so I made excuses for what would happen with medals and said we would find out what would happen on Monday.

And then this afternoon I learned that Olivia took out Age Champion. And my heart broke. I mean it really broke. Oh me of little faith. I broke the news to Olivia, who was still smiling, and still excited about how the day panned out. She told me we can sort it all out on Monday. I love that girl. And I know she will go to sleep tonight dreaming of stars. I really love that girl. I have learned my lesson too. But I'm not going to dwell on this one. I am lucky. As much as there are restrictions that come with living in such a remote area, I am lucky that I am even in a position to attend my children's sporting events. And so, as it turns out, Olivia, who not only possesses 100% confidence that she can do anything (even if her ability is far less as far as percentages go), really can do anything. The swimming is the clincher. We don't have a pool. We drive 40km to access ANY pool, and yet she can still take out age champion. Go figure!

If my children wanted to do ANYTHING, they certainly can. It just means a lot of miles in the car. Even for league, the 'district' covers more than 500 square kilometres. Some weekends families drive over 4 hours in order for their children to play competitive sports. Crazy. But it's just what we do.

I am certain there is a 'soccer mum' just itching to get out of me. Right now I'm happy to hide her away safely   within the confines of our property. So long as my children are happy and having fun, I'm happy for them. I just want them to do their best, try their hardest and be proud of the fact that they have had a go. And be supportive of other people too. Just like Olivia was in her 50m run, and when she was supporting her friends and team mates in their races in the pool. It was more important to her to run and swim together with the other competitors, than it was to win. And that's more important to me than any ribbon or medal.