Friday, November 5, 2010

David Malouf Looks Like Our Ex-Dentist

I tried reading one or two of David Malouf's books. I think it (or they) were short story collections. I didn't like them.  It's a matter of personal taste. I know many other people love his work.

I just saw this interview with him, via a clip on the Australian Screen website.    He reminds me so much of this pediatric dentist we took Jack to a few times. Well, at least they look a like. I'm not sure about personality-wise.

As for our opinion of the dentist....Again, it's a matter of personal taste. I didn't like him. We fired him as our dentist, but from what I hear he's fairly popular among other Fort Worth parents.

Jack had some issues as a child.  He was adorable, sweet, and smart. But there were some challenges as well.  He was VERY intense at times.  He had some strong fears, and was very vocal about them.   One of the things he feared was medical settings. He wasn't like the typical child...crying just during shot time. Jack would cry loudly and hysterically as soon as we stepped into the waiting room. And he'd keep crying.

He was afraid of the dentist.  And no. Having cute little pictures on the wall, video games, and various other toys doesn't always make a child like that feel more relaxed. 

I guess you could say Jack had special needs. I would think in these days, people who work with children would be CAPABLE of dealing with a wide range of children.  

The dentist and his minion at this particular pediatric office did not. They were incredibly nervous and impatient with Jack. It was like they had never dealt with a crying child before. 

Hey.   It's great if you're good with kids.   But if you can handle only smiling relaxed easygoing children....uh, not too impressive.  If you're a pediatric dentist or hygienist, I personally think you should face the fact that some kids are terrified and need someone with a lot of patience. And hey, I know that's asking a lot. I'm not even sure that I'm the type to have a LOT of patience. But this David Malouf look-a-like, and his coworkers, seemed to have NO patience.  

One time, I brought my mom with....thinking she might help me distract Jack.  At one point she asked the dentist if Jack's behavior was normal.  Thanks, Mom.   Hearing you ask that question makes me feel much more relaxed and comfortable about this stressful situation.    And no, don't rely on my opinion...someone who lives with Jack on a daily basis, has a degree in psychology, has read a million trillion parenting and child development books, and worked with children of this age. Ask a dentist who has probably seen Jack a total of fifteen minutes.  

The dentist said something like It's okay now, but if he's still acting this way next year, we should worry. 

Maybe that's okay to some people, but not okay with me. I would be much more tolerant if someone said.  Well, it's a little unusual.  But children react to things in different ways.  If you're concerned, I can give you the names of some people you can talk to.

Our old pediatrician (the one we plan to return to) was AWESOME about all that.  She was very reassuring when it came to Jack's difficulties. It's not like she brushed them aside (although she was a little slow to worry about his speech delay.  Or maybe we were early in our worrying), but she talked about his differences in a more positive way.   

It's hard to explain. I'll try.

With the dentist, there was an attitude of.  Ick.  There's something WRONG with your child. He's abnormal.  He's not like these cute other adorable easygoing  kids.

With the doctor, the attitude was Well, Jack is a wonderful brilliant child.  He does have some difficulties, and I  know that can be stressful.  Here are things you can do that might help.....

We found a new dentist.  We made sure to ask them if they can deal with kids like Jack. For the most part, they've been much better than the David Malouf dentist.   

Jack has matured.  He acts cheerful and calm through most of his dentist and doctor appointments.   The kid still has his intense moments, but now they're far and few between (knocking on wood here).