102 February 21, 2012

“Kid-Friendly” Can Be Overrated

Eleanor had her first visit to the dentist yesterday.

I considered bringing her to a pediatric dentist. You know, the kind that not only specializes in taking care of kids’ teeth, but that also excel in entertaining/distracting them in the process. When I called to make the appointment, I was told that it would be $350 for the visit, which included a cleaning and a set of x-rays. For a toddler? Is that standard? It didn’t sit well with us, Brandon especially, so I cancelled the visit and booked with our regular dentist instead.

I don’t know why I thought we had to take her to a little kid dentist just because she’s a little kid. She was treated respectfully and appropriately by the regular dentist, and she was a star patient. They told me in advance that they wouldn’t push for a cleaning on her first visit, but she was so cooperative that the hygienist went ahead. When the dentist came by to check on her, he asked her age, starting with “Three? Four?”, and seemed genuinely surprised to learn that she was only two. Well, she is almost three.

The visit cost just over $100 (much better than the $350 we were quoted elsewhere). Besides the money we saved though, I’m glad for the experience. The whole thing reminds me of her first haircut.

It was last year, about a month before her second birthday. After much deliberation, and much overthinking, I set up an appointment for her with a kids’ salon. There were TV screens with cartoons or video games in front of every station (it felt a little WALL-E), chairs in the shape of cars and spaceships, and a giant wall of merchandise for sale. All for a 5-minute haircut that she would have sat still for anyway.

I do it myself now. Then sometimes she gets a second haircut at a walk-in salon to fix the one I gave her, lucky girl! (Honestly, that only happened once; I shouldn’t have tried to cut layers.)

Anyway, after her visit to the dentist, she and I spent the day wandering around town. We went to the Magic Tree bookstore (I’m not against all things for children), tried on glasses, had lunch at Jerusalem Café, stopped in a new bakery, and did a little window shopping. Eleanor thinks that all of Penzeys smells like soup. “MMmmmmmmm!”

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  • Reply
    Ashley @ sunnysideshlee.com
    February 22, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Wow she’s getting so big! What a cutie! And I love hearing about your “about town” adventures since I’m around Chicago/Oak Park also!

  • Reply
    February 22, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Your kiddo is on Pinterest!
    Just went from there to your blog and by the second or third pic iwas thinking “those tights/shoes look familiar…”

  • Reply
    February 22, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I can’t get over how completely adorable she is. Especially the two of you in your complimentary stylish coats. So sweet!

  • Reply
    February 22, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Our daughters are about the same age, mine is a September baby so I think she’s a few months behind Eleanor. When I saw that first photo of her I thought, “Wow! She’s so grown up. The baby is almost gone.” Then that made me think of my own baby girl and how grown up she is. Oh jeez, where does the time go? :)

  • Reply
    February 22, 2012 at 11:46 am

    She’s beyond sweet, it’s been so great watching her grow up and turn into this little girl! I’m glad she did so good at the dentist. My daughter had always taken to everything so easily, doctors, hair cutting but she didn’t want to have anything to do with my dentist when I first took her or the second or third…finally my dentist recommended a pediatric dentist, I was skeptical but she loved it. The office wasn’t too kiddy but I think it was the office layout she liked it was an open concept with other children getting their teeth cleaned all at once, I think maybe seeing all the other kids ok she was ok. Regardless she’s 13 now and still goes to the same dentist and loves him!! P.S. Isn’t great being able to have a nice day out at the end of February!! Looks like you had fun!!

  • Reply
    February 22, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I have came by your blog several times, but now i’m a confirmed follower. You have the most stylist child ever!! I made my husband ‘come over and look at this cute oufit!!’ ‘omg, both of them, look at the mother!’ haha…

    anyway, happy to hear the dentist when well!

  • Reply
    February 22, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I love those tights! And her coat, and her scarf, and her glasses, and her shoes,…. :) Can you be my personal shopper?

  • Reply
    Christina W.
    February 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    seeing the stylish clothes you dress your children in makes me a lot less nervous about becoming a mother one day. although it does make me nervous about facing the jealous glares of all the other moms on the playground.

  • Reply
    Molly the Waffler
    February 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I am reading this post AT THE DENTIST’S office while I wait for my 9 year old’s appointment to be over. He’s doing great, but was a pretty wiggly guy when he was Eleanor’s age. Haircuts, too. But now he’s a champ and I get a few minutes to read.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    she is very cute! and how excellent that she was cooperative. I also take my kids to a standard dentist.

    Also, although we have full coverage so we pay nothing out of pocket, our dentist revealed that unless you have some plaque build-up, there is no need for him (well, his hygienist) to clean my teeth. He explained that most people don’t need it but many dentists make you think it required maintenance b/c it makes them extra money. I was surprised by this not b/c he was disclosing (he’s a do-only-what’s-necessary-not-make-as-much-money-as-possible kinda guy) but I really had been convinced by my previous dentist that it needed to be done every check-up.
    I’d be willing to bet that it’s even less necessary for a toddler- unless she has coffee & cigarette staining to worry about ; )

  • Reply
    Miss B.
    February 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    She’s such a good girl! I adore that last photo, so hip!

  • Reply
    February 22, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I totally agree! I went to a pediatric dentist for years and when my parents finally took me to the “grown-up” dentist, I remember that they were MUCH gentler and more patient-focused (ie not gossiping while cleaning my teeth).

  • Reply
    February 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I am 71 so I doubt I will be around when she is an adult but I can’t help wondering what she will be when she is grown. She has a calm and mature personality and for some reason I keep seeing her as a Senator. I wonder if she will have any interest in Politics. What ever she becomes I’m sure it will be interesting since she comes from a very interesting family. It isn’t many people who can hold peoples attention with the everyday minutia of life. I love it.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    She wears the cutest clothes. OMG. Good job, Mommy!


  • Reply
    kasey @ girl in the gray house
    February 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    she is so adorable! love her little outfit, she sure is stylin’!

  • Reply
    February 22, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    I totally agree $350 for a routine dentist visit is ridiculous! I don’t pay that much, and I don’t even have insurance.

    As for taking kids to pediatric dentists; taking them to a general dentist is okay until it come time for more than cleanings and x-rays. Pediatric dentists are better prepared and educated to administer Novocain and pain medications as the dosage for children is different , and can be potentially harmful if not dosed correctly.
    Not to be a buzz kill, just saying.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    i work at a general dentist, and we LOVE getting kids! i understand the appeal of pediatric offices, but we love them just as much, we TOO have a prize box, and we don’t overcharge for simple services. we often get 15 year olds out of a pediatric office full of rampant decay and lack of hygiene education, and that alone has made me wary of pediatric offices. go eleanor!

  • Reply
    Melissa | IS•LY
    February 23, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Amen to that, Nicole! I think it’s great to treat our kiddos like little adults. They don’t need race cars and princesses everywhere they go.

    Also, how adorable is little Eleanor’s outfit? Too cute for words.

    Been thinking about you lately. Hope Brandon’s finding work. I also spent something like a half hour with my intern talking about how awesome your site redesign is. It’s gorgeous. You’ve thought of everything.

  • Reply
    February 23, 2012 at 7:17 am

    I covet her shoes. For myself. There, I said it.

  • Reply
    February 23, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Oh my goodness she is too cute for words! Where do you find such cute and unique outfits for her!? I wish her shoes were still available from norstroms – I think I’d buy them in every size :)

  • Reply
    Amanda Fellers
    February 23, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Love her outerwear!

  • Reply
    February 23, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Can you say where you found her overcoat??? It’s gorgeous! I have a similar textured one for my 2.5 yo girl, but it’s just in blah brown.

  • Reply
    Jen Walter
    February 23, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I am so glad you posted this. My daughter also went to a regular dentist, and same thing, they gave her the royal treatment, she was so brave, and she has been asking when she can go back. I also had the exact same experience with her hair (my daughter has similar hair to Eleanor’s). So funny. Coincidentally, I also noticed her yellow Boden coat. My daughter Lyla has the same one (since she was two–she’s now 4!), and it still fits! After this year, I’ll save it for my second. Looks great, and was made famous in the “We Bought a Zoo” movie. Cheers.

  • Reply
    February 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I had to comment on this adorable post, as a native Oak Parker-turned-New York-transplant (who commented years ago about your unmistakeably ‘OP’ back porch and have been a loyal reader ever since!). Your mothering seems so relaxed and unfussy in the way I remember my Mom to be. AND…The Magic Tree Bookstore, are you kidding?!? Yes! I used to LOVE going in there with Mom and am so happy to hear it’s survived the decline of bookshops. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  • Reply
    February 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    What a cutie she is growing up to be! I am glad to read this post because last year our pediatrician recommended a ped. dentist and suggested we take our 2 year old for a visit. We were quoted around $300 and were shocked at the cost, especially since they said they might not even do a cleaning. We later realized he was not on our dental insurance yet and we cancelled the appointment since open enrollment had just started at my husband’s place of employment. I think before I jump on the ped. dentist wagon I might check prices elsewhere.


  • Reply
    February 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I did the pediatric dentist and was not at all impressed, you did a good thing. We need to let our kids, almost babies, impress us and make us proud. By the way, I did the kids hair place for my daughter’s first hair cut and it was no different than the walk in place that she goes to now. She is just as excited to be getting her “corta corta”, which is what she calls everything from the haircut itself to the stylist and place where is being done.

  • Reply
    February 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    She looks like a tiny adult! So stinking cute. Reminds me of Roald Dahl’s character Matilda.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Oh my GOSH this is the most stylin’ kid ever!

  • Reply
    February 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    She is adorable, and that looks like a super fun day! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    OMG, her outfit is amazing! I just love the little coat/scarf/shoes/tights…

  • Reply
    February 25, 2012 at 2:02 am

    You’ve got a such lovely girl !
    I am French and really schocked by the cost of a simple visit to the dentist !! We don’t pay more than 30 euros (around 35 USD) for the same thing !!

  • Reply
    Nicole RJ
    February 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    She is so darn cute! Love hearing about you fun mommy-daughter days!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    What a fun Mother/Daughter day! Glad she did so well with her first dentist appt. She is just adorable!! Love her outfit!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Dentist and muffins? Can I go next time, please?

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Hi, could you please share the name of the dentist Eleanor saw back then? I live in River Forest and I have a daughter ready to see a dentist, I would like her to be a woman. Do you recommend this dentist?


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