Making the hundred metre dash from the car park to the Dentist's in pelting rain, I arrived at the counter dishevelled, wet and a little hoarse for clutching a squirming toddler under my arm. We're early, so I have time to catch my breath, straighten my hair and practice sucking in my muffin top before prancing up the stairs to see Mr Lane, Rick, my long-standing guilty pleasure of a Dentist. We're on first name terms.
We go back eight years me and Mr Lane, then the new graduate, nervously fumbling around in my mouth with his blue rubber gloves on. I looked forward to the visits. I'm now on a 12 month recall and I found myself sucking in air as I step into the room to see the last year has not been kind to Rick. Instead of gazing lustily up into perky young eyes while he prods around the corners of my mouth with his rubber pinkies, I am transfixed by the gloriously middle-aged hairs sprouting precosiously out of his slender nose.
I'm more than a little miffed. My guilty-pleasure is no more.
Instead of lingering in the chair for one last poke, I hop up quicker than you can say 'married', and beckon for Grace to come to sit in the chair. Her feet appear stuck to the floor with toffee dropped by the last patient no doubt. No amount of coaxing can move her closer to the Hairy One, so we coax her with a sticker.
It's her first time.
For me it's rubber, for my daughter apparently it's stickers. The bate works and she points to her chest, gesturing, 'you can stick it here'.
She won't smile for him, but she does do a little lion-roar when he makes the trade which shows off her pearly whites. He's happy with that, he says come back in six months.
I'll remember the day Grace first visited the dentist. I realised it's not only the dentist that has weathered over the last 12 months, it is us too. Matt the Husband has just pointed out that he too has nose hairs. Soon his ears will grow, his forehead will rise and he too shall become older. As for Grace and me, we girls aren't getting any younger.
I can't believe my little girl has endured her first visit to the dentist, albeit without a smile on her face...