It's harder to get in to see my dentist than it is for me to get a new TV show on the air. That's probably why I failed to notice six months ago that I had scheduled myself and all my kids for an appointment just five days after Halloween -- a time when my children's teeth are buried in chocolate, gummy bears, hard candies and lollipops that are sometimes also filled with gum.
And when I say my children's teeth, I mean mine, too.
Frankly, going to the dentist anytime between Nov. 1 and Jan. 15 is like checking your cholesterol level the week after hosting an egg hunt at which everyone leaves the eggs and only takes the prizes. Or like a Boston Red Sox fan getting a facial this week after not shaving for a month. (I know, I know, few Bostonians shave immediately after the series ends to milk the win as long as possible -- and none gets a facial.) But the point is, it's corn syrup season in America from Oct. 31 until the end of the year and no dental appointments should be made until mid-February.
Five days after Halloween is prime tooth decay time in our house. It is actually the pinnacle of sugary consumption, because in an effort to stave off the digestion of completely useless no-food products collected on Oct. 31, I only allow my kids to chose one candy per day from the gluttonous grab bag whose contents they cherish like manna from heaven.
This means that the only time Mom and Dad can confidently steal from that Halloween bag is this first week after Halloween when (a) the candy stock is so plentiful the kids won't realize it's being pillaged nightly after their bedtime, and (b) Mom still has six weeks to work off three to five chocolates a day before getting in a New Year's dress.
No less, by Day Three of soberly eating one piece of candy per day, my kids have their own racket. They are no doubt sneaking into the kitchen cabinet at least twice a day, hoarding fistfuls of candy -- that they are sure I won't notice went missing -- and stashing it somewhere only they and the ants they are luring in will find it.
So a dental appointment five days after Halloween is a shame marathon for me and everyone I love.
But what's the alternative? Living with the decay forever and having to buy new teeth for a whole family? I'm nearing the end of my pearly whites' natural life, anyway. Skipping the annual cleaning just to hide my self-destructive behavior will surely throw me over into veneers.
Plus, canceling the kids' appointment because we have done something very unhealthy/wrong/detrimental teaches my children to hide from their problems and perhaps never leave home, never get a job, and force me to support them forever --which will include buying them their own veneers at an even earlier age.
So heck, no, I'm not canceling my family's appointments this week. We will be going to the dentist, holes in our teeth or not. And we will get in that chair and humbly confess our sins and take the tongue- and tooth-lashings.
But maybe I will also bring the remaining oral contraband (aka candy) with me and see if offering it to the dentist might tempt him over to the dark side where binge eating unhealthy food and sucking on hard candies for 45 minutes is the norm. Isn't that how drug problems (aka sugar addictions) start? Someone gives you your first bag for free, and then hooks you for life.
Now there's a plan. Because if I can turn out the D.D.S. into a mood-swinging, teeth-rotting, future insulin-needing sugar junkie, too, perhaps I can pay off my whole family's fake teeth needs by systematically dropping Kisses wrapped in silver foil on him.
Seems we will be keeping the dental appointment after all.
(Diane Farr is known for her roles in "Californication," "Numb3rs" and "Rescue Me," and as the author of "Kissing Outside the Lines." You can read her blog at getdianefarr.com, follow her on twitter.com/getdianefarr or contact her on facebook.com/getdianefarr.)
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