16 Nov 2013

Family bonding around the TV will do just nicely for us

A lick of paint beyond the pale
Child-rearing, as every parent knows, is fraught with difficult decisions. Why just this week, the five-year-old brought a letter home from school requesting permission for a check-up by a visiting dentist.
Sounds good, fine by me. Oh, and would it be OK for the dentist to paint my daughter’s perfect little white teeth with a permanent coating of fluoride?
Come again? This drastic decay-prevention procedure has apparently been officially approved by the Islamic Shari’ah Council for Muslims and the Charedi Health Forum for Orthodox Jews. As a practising Catholic, I’m not sure Kosher and Halal fluoride is any more appealing than the bog-standard Christian stuff.
Cue a lively kitchen table discussion about whether we want our daughter’s premolars tinkered with. “No!” cries my husband. “I’ve spent years pinning the wretched child down to brush her teeth – was it all for nothing?”
“No!” I agreed, for no better reason than painting teeth sounded too weird.
Cue a rare moment of parental accord, as we did the best for our daughter. Then I read the small print; “Children who have the treatment will receive a goody bag.”
My spouse caught my eye. I looked back, stricken.
“She’ll go mental if she doesn’t get a goody bag,” I whispered hoarsely. “She will come home and she will kill us in our beds.”
A man of principle, my husband’s pater familial response was magnificently swift and authoritative.
“For the love of God, get me a pen!”

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