Beth Monteverde

Dear Group - I posted this on two other groups, so I apologize if
you're reading this again. I am new to the unschooling e-mail
groups and am needing some feedback. I signed up a while ago, but
am just now starting to read a little bit. I am not new to
unschooling, but at times find that I still struggle with my need to
control things. I'm growing all the time in this life philosophy
and so appreciate all the help that is out there! Sandra - thanks
so much for your website - it is incredibly helpful!!! My dd is
VERY sensitive (Elaine Aron) and VERY spirited and introverted (Mary
Kurcinka) and we love and honor that about her. However, when it
comes to things like cavities and dentists, my creative abilities
are stretched!!! Thanks in advance for your help! :)

*****original message*****Robyn - Thank you so very much for sharing
your story. Your journey was difficult but I truly believe that you
and James both handled it with open hearts. You listened to your
child, and honored your child, while responding to the very real
concern for her health.

I am new to this group. I am not new to unschooling, although I
won't pretend to have it all worked out. It is a journey of growth
for me - truly, for our whole family. Your story resonates deeply
with our family as my daughter has two visible cavities right now,
and I've been letting it go because she DOES NOT want to go to the
dentist. So we haven't gone.

She had visible cavities in her teeth within 6 months of when they
came in (two of her teeth virtually came in with cavities) and at
the time, we had her knocked out and had procedures done on her that
just about broke my heart. She was around 18 mo. when we finally
had her teeth fixed. It took me a long time to come to a place
where I knew she had to have it done. She had two front teeth that
were so decayed that the dentist had to re-build them with some sort
of filling material. These were two of her front teeth. She also
had 4 other cavities that were filled at that time. It was VERY
difficult as we didn't have a dentist that I trusted at that time.
I did a ton of research, and against a lot of pressure to wean her,
we went an alternative route with homeopathy, natural products,
etc. That worked very well for a time. It has only been recently,
when she has chosen to not brush her teeth regularly, that I've seen
any new problems with her teeth. I do not want to ever force her to
brush, but I do explain to her regularly why it is important. We
are very creative, and her dolls brush, our imaginary friends brush,
etc., and many of these techniques work some of the time - but of
course, since she has a choice, there are many times that she just
doesn't brush.

We have taken her back to the dentist 3 times, just for check-ups
(the same one, which I'm realizing was probably not a good plan) and
Emmy has been great about going, and she'll get in the chair, but
WILL NOT let anyone near her mouth. I, too, have probably spent too
long trying to talk her into just letting someone look at her teeth,
(10 minutes or so) rather than just grabbing her up and taking her
home. The last time, I left with the understanding that the dentist
truly thought I was stupid for letting my child "rule" me and she
really thought I should force Emmy to submit, rather than give her a
choice. I left realizing that we needed a new dentist, and my new
plan has been to pick 3 or 4 and have Emmy "interview" them. I do,
however, keep procrastinating making the appointments because she
just doesn't want to go. We read books about it (there is a great
one from the Dora character that is very descriptive about going to
the dentist), we play dentist, and she has been to my appointments
numerous times.

As a little background, Emmy is VERY sensitive and VERY spirited,
and we love that about her. At 4 1/2 she still doesn't like groups,
and doesn't like other children around her unless she has been
around them many, many times and knows who they are. Even then, she
only enjoys one-on-one with other kids - not kids in a group, even
if she knows them. It takes her quite a while to feel safe enough
in any new situation for her to reach out a little bit, let alone
have someone she doesn't know look at her teeth! But as these
cavities get bigger, I get more and more worried. Especially as I
do know that cavities in the teeth mean that there is a level of
bacteria in her body that her little system constantly has to
fight. There is just no way at 4 1/2 that she can understand some
of the ramifications of all that. And I really don't want to let it
go to the point that she has an emergency situation, like you have
had with Jayn. My heart just goes out to your family, and I honor
so much how all of you have handled this difficult situation. We
don't force her to do anything, and I won't start now, but at the
same time, I'm stumped as to how to get her to understand how
important this is. One of her cavities now is like a big crack in
her tooth, and is completely black.

I would truly love any suggestions that anyone has on how to get my
darling girl to understand how important it is that she get these
cavities fixed before they become much more serious. I haven't yet
tried letting her interview different dentists, but your story has
helped me see that I need to trust that the Universe is bringing me
a little nudge and I need to get it done. Thank you, and I welcome
any and all suggestions.

Warmest Regards,
Beth & Emmy :)