The other day the kids had their semi-annual appointment at the dentist to get their teeth cleaned. They always go together and the hygienist cleans one while I hold onto the other.

They love to get their teeth cleaned, but taking them together is certainly not without complications. First, there’s always an argument about who gets to go first. Kaleb says he should go first because he’s the oldest and Kenzie says she should go first because she’s a girl. The hygienist usually settles the argument by choosing the one whom she says didn’t go first on their last visit.

Then, they both want to check out all the dental instruments, press all the buttons and turn devices on and off. And, if that’s not enough trouble, it’s difficult to get them to stop talking long enough to initiate and complete the cleaning procedure.

Well, on this latest dental appointment Tami took the kids by herself. She said she didn’t need me to come. So, I didn’t go. I stayed at work. And, I wondered how it went without me.

I guess everything went okay because there was no discussion about it when I got home from work that day.

A few days later I had my semi-annual appointment at the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. When I arrived at the dentist’s office, the receptionist told me that the kids had argued about who should go first (See what I mean?) and the hygienist had settled the argument by choosing the one who didn’t get to go first at their last appointment. (Does she really remember? Maybe she notes it in their dental records!)

When I settled down in the dental chair, the dental hygienist remarked that this time the kids seemed calmer than usual.

“Calmer than usual?” What’s that supposed to mean? Calmer than when I bring them? Calmer because they are so unruly, undisciplined and out-of-control when I’m the one who brings them?

I explained to the hygienist that I’m sure they were calmer because now they’re a little older, a little more mature and more experienced at visiting the dentist’s office.

No, that wasn’t it at all! The hygienist explained that Tami had them under control…that they minded Tami…that they were calmer with Tami

Okay, I’m not a good mom. I get it…

I don’t provide appropriate structure. Possibly…

I don’t follow through with discipline. Probably…

I spoiled them and turned them into bold, sassy, high-spirited children. Quite likely…

And, I suppose, I’m a little bit proud of it.

But, they do need some order in their lives. They do need some structure and discipline.

So, the fact that they’re noticeably calmer now that there’s a mom in our home certainly makes me feel incompetent about my parenting skills, but even more, it warms my heart.

Because they need a mother’s calming touch on their lives.

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