A Moment of Bravery…Kind Of.

I read a quote online a few weeks ago, it said “Be kind enough not to tell other people’s stories, and be brave enough to tell your own”.  Just a few words, but it really made me think.  My favorite blog posts to read are the ones where the author opens up and truly shares her story.   Here at the Iowa City Moms Blog, we have heard our contributors speak from the heart about topics like growing up in a non-traditional family, losing the dreaded baby weight, learning to ignore bad advice, making the ultimate sacrifice to become a surrogate mother, and much more.  The most popular posts, by far, are the ones where a writer refuses to hold back any details, and essentially airs out all of her dirty laundry on the internet for everyone to read it.  That, my friends, is bravery.

If I were to be honest, there are a lot of stories I could tell.  Heroic stories, heartbreaking stories, even some hilarious stories.  But, they aren’t mine.  I don’t own them, nor do I own the right to share them.  I’m making a choice today, and that choice is to follow the advice I mentioned above:  “be kind enough not to tell other people’s stories”.  And so instead, today, you will be blessed with a mediocre story of my own, and it certainly doesn’t require a whole ton of bravery on my part to share it.  But, I am cringing a little bit at the thought of you all reading it, and I’m still posting it, so I’d say I’m having a small moment of bravery, wouldn’t you?

dentist3I didn’t take my kid to the dentist until he was 4 1/2 years old.

There, I said it. It’s done. There’s no going back now.  If we are all going to choose to be honest in this mommy community, I would guess that lots of you could share some little mishaps, oversights, and mistakes you have made as mommies.  This is one of mine.

When my first son was around a year old, my mom asked me “When do you start taking him to the dentist?”  I wasn’t sure.  I asked a few friends, and even looked it up online.  The consensus seemed to be that most people took their kids for the first time between 18 months and 2 years, although the dentists really preferred to see them before age 1.  And so, I put it on my “to-do list”.  And then I had another baby.  Shortly after my second son was born, my first one turned 2.  Still no dentist appointment.  As you can all relate, life with two kids under two is pretty much like living in a tornado, so the to-do list became debris.  Before I knew it, my second son was pushing 18 months, and I forced myself to sit down and google pediatric dentists in our area.  I googled, a few weeks later I wrote down some phone numbers on a post-it note, and a few weeks after that I took a pregnancy test.  My third baby was on the way.

dentist1I now had a 3 1/2 year old, a 2 year old, and I was literally throwing up after every meal.  If my ob-gyn and my boys’ pediatricians didn’t have my appointments scheduled out for me and reminder calls in place, I would have missed those as well.  Heck, some days just getting the three of us dressed and fed breakfast was enough to warrant a nap for mommy.  And so grew the list of my excuses.  I gave birth (again), spent a few months adjusting to life as a mommy of three, and then I saw a friend post on her Facebook a Mommy Question:  “At what age did you take your kids to the dentist for the first time?”.  I almost threw up (again).  I was so afraid to click on the “see comments” button, but I just had to.  There were a lot of comments.  Some diligent mommies had taken their little ones before a year, many had waited until 18 months-2 years, and alas, a few admitted to waiting until closer to 3!  Hooray, I’m not the only negligent mother! 

That, my friends, is the epitome of the Moms Blogs, is it not? Those moments of camaraderie, of true honesty, when we can laugh with another mom and think to ourselves, hey, maybe I’m NOT doing so bad!.  That was my moment.  And yet it was also the moment I clicked over to google and made a phone call.  And scheduled three appointments.  Maybe, I thought, if my daughter was seen at 10 months, it would somehow make up for the fact that my son was now nearing his 5th birthday (seriously, it hurts a little to type that).  So, to make a super long story a tad bit shorter, we headed out to the dentist (can anyone give me some more bravery points for taking three kids under five to the dentist by myself?  Tara will for sure!), and I was shaking in my flip-flops.  What are they going to say to me?  How many dirty looks will I get in the waiting room?  How bad are his teeth?  How many cavities will he need filled?

My fears were quickly thrown out the window.  My 4 1/2 year old, who had never gone anywhere with someone he wasn’t related to by blood, ran back to the dentist’s chair with the hygienist, and the dentist proceeded to tell me that he was doing great and had no cavities (mental high-five to myself).  No one gave me a dirty look (at least not to my face), and no one made any comments about my negligence as a mother.  I walked out of there like the happiest mom in the world, with my three little clean-toothed kiddos in tow.  Success! (And yes, I did schedule follow up appointments for all three of them, you don’t have to call and remind me!)

I recently had another encounter with the topic of when to take your kids to the dentist, when I was at the BlogHer conference in Chicago.  I visited the Orbit Gum booth at the expo, where a pediatric dentist was greeting everyone and chatting about the importance of visiting the dentist with our kiddos.  I’ll admit, I did not mention how old my kids were when I talked with her (a moment of weakness to balance out the bravery, I guess).  But I was so happy I stopped by the booth, because she was talking about additional ways to keep our kids’ teeth clean and healthy, not just brushing.  I went home with kids’ floss, kids’ mouth wash, and the new line of kid-friendly, sugar-free gum from Orbit.  Oh, and of course toothbrushes, but not just any toothbrushes…these brushes light up, and the kids can brush their teeth until the lights turn off!  What a great way to teach them how long to brush!

I’d love to hear your answer to that frightening question:  At what age did you first take your kids to the dentist? 

orbit1If you are in the same position that I was six months ago, and your answer is I haven’t taken them yet, no worries!  Whether your kids love the dentist, hate it, or haven’t gone yet, we are offering this awesome giveaway from Orbit Gum to one lucky reader today!  Orbit will send our winner this adorable re-usable lunch cooler, filled with those famous light-up toothbrushes (my boys love them!), kids’ floss and mouthwash, and tons of samples of the new kids’ gum! (my oldest is obsessed with gum, and he loves the new Orbit Kid flavors!)

To enter this giveaway, please do any (or all) of the following steps, and be sure to leave separate comments each time you enter.  (i.e. if you do all three, you should be leaving three comments on this post). Giveaway ends at NOON on Wednesday, and winner will be announced shortly after!  Good luck!

1. Comment on this post, telling us when you first kiddos to the dentist.

2. “Like” Orbit Gum on Facebook.

3. Re-tweet the following:  “@ICMomsBlog is giving away a great kids pack from @OrbitGum!  To enter click here: http://bit.ly/18EfGMv


This is a sponsored post; however I only recommend products or services I personally believe in. I have received compensation in the form of a gift, payment, or something of value to write it, but the opinions are my own.

Sara and her husband Matt (sweethearts since they were just 16) got married in 2007, and since then have welcomed four beautiful children (Sam in 2008, Cooper in 2010, Nora in 2012, and Adam James in December 2015). A born-and-raised Iowan, Sara received both her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees (in Spanish Literature) from the University of Iowa. She's still teaching Spanish wherever and whenever she can, but her true passion is owning Iowa City Moms and building this community alongside her amazing team. Sara is also the Community Engagement Coordinator for City Mom Collective, and the owner of Cowork Collective downtown Iowa City. Common denominator in all of these jobs: community, community, community.


  1. Just went a week ago @ 22 months. My son loved it when he walked in (those pediatric dentists really have “kid friendly” figured out, including a tv in the floor!) and he adored the office puppies. No problems and will be an easy visit back in 6 months.

  2. My son who is 3 years old will be finally having his first appt this month. I know I should of done it alot sooner but didn’t want to pay the extra fee on insurance for adding him. So yes feel really bad and pray no cavities : )

  3. Thank you for sharing this. I read it quite literally after I got of the phone with a dental office and feeling quite embarrassed that my 4 year old has yet to visit the dentist. I will also be having my 1 year old’s teeth checked since I’ll already be there. A perfect example of how time can get away from us.

  4. Hey Sara, I don’t even remember how old Bruno was but he was little and our dentist is a family friend so he already knew him. However I do remember my mom taking us to the dentist all 5 of us and dropping us off as we were older and he actually yelled at us. Whether we had been before I don’t know and maybe I remember it wrong but it left a dread of dentist visits. I was never afraid of what they were going to do, but rather what they were going to SAY to me! Kudos on Sam having no cavities-that’s awesome! And light up toothbrushes sound beyond cool!

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