So I sat there for about an hour and a half while they worked on Dallen, afterward the orthodontist wanted to talk to both of us just for a minute. He showed me on a demo model exactly what the device looked like, how it worked, showed Dallen any details on how to clean it. He was very nice. Then he again reiterated that his mouth would be sore for about a week, then spoke to me saying: "so any complaints of pain he has are sincere." OK so what does that mean.
I didn't know exactly what he meant by that so I didn't really say anything and we left. But I have been thinking about it ever since. I took a few minutes to look up the word sincere at Dictionary.com. Wanted to be sure I was using it correctly, maybe all these years I really didn't know the acceptable definition. I found this:
1.free of deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness; earnest: a sincere apology.
2.genuine; real: a sincere effort to improve; a sincere friend.
3.pure; unmixed; unadulterated.
4.Obsolete. sound; unimpaired.
OK so, yes, I have been using it correctly. Was the orthodontist really saying that any pain Dallen is having is "not false" or it is "earnest", really? Why would I think otherwise? I have never heard the word used with regard to pain before. Isn't pain a really subjective sensation? How is one person to judge if complaints of pain are sincere or not?
My mother was a very authoritarian parent, very much in control of her children. She often used punishments as her means of behavior modification. But she never questions my pain, not that I remember anyway. Tooth pain, ear pain, stomach pain, headache etc. never questioned that it was real or "free of deceit". How would you tell someone that their pain was not "genuine"? I can't even relate to this. And why would a child be less than truthful about pain? I guess I have really thought that children were less than truthful because of fear of being punished (to put it simply). So if there is some kind of fear attached, would a child be punished for having pain? I guess I could see it if the child was in fear of something else, unrelated to pain, and used the fib about pain to get out of that particular punishment. hmmmm I might have done that as a child had I thought of it. ;-)
All this had never crossed my mind before. I have never, nor would I ever question my child if he told me he was in pain. We would just work to figure out what kind of pain and what we could do to help him feel better. Which we have been doing, since he has been in some pain this week.
Visits to the orthodontist always give me lots to think about. Like the time Dallen's front braces popped off a few hours after he had them put on. He was sitting at his computer and one by one, four of them popped off. He looked at me and said "mom I think one of my braces came off." I replied "nope, four came off." So the next day we were back at the orthodontist's office and the assistant asked me if "he pulled them off". What? What was she asking me? I just replied "no, why would he, he is the one that decided it was time for braces, and he is ready for this." I mean we have talked about braces for a while and I just told Dallen when/if he was ready for braces to let me know and we would look at our options, so this year he said he was ready and wanted to move forward. So, do parents have braces put on children who don't want them? I guess they must or she wouldn't have asked that question. Right?
I forget sometimes what more traditional parenting looks like. Maybe that is a good thing.