I had a really traumatic experience today, and it was all for nothing.
Back in December my youngest had been taken into hospital suffering from dehydration due to a nasty form of gastroenteritis. It is not an experience I would like to relive, and I'm sure he wouldn't either. It has left him with a mortal fear of needles.
Today, however, he had to go to the dentist for a filling, and I was a trifle worried about how he would cope with the whole business. I decided I would sit in the waiting room and not hang about outside the kiddy waiting room which is just opposite the surgery so you hear probably much more than you'd care to.
He was not in any way unduly negative at the idea of having a filling, it being his first and I had purposely not filled him with dread... He went to his doom cheerfully enough, and I went to read Ernest Hemingway short stories in the waiting room. I had got through one about two guys going into a bar, ordering drinks, leaving, going to the station, seeing prostitutes and others and having a chat, and was half way through the one where Mr Macomber's happiness is short-lived when I heard the most almighty yelling coming from a small child.
My heart missed a beat, I could no longer focus on Mr Macomber and didn't give a shit about his happiness as I was far more concerned with that of my youngest. The bellowing sounded horribly like him and I was petrified, unable to think straight or indeed take any form of action. I looked around me. The other people waiting appeared to hear nothing untoward, and were smiling bleakly, as you do in the dentist's waiting room. It's a room in which few care to spend much time.
I considered whether I should dash out and into the surgery crying 'STOP! WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY SON?', or whether I should creep to the door and listen for more precise information, or whether I should do nothing and continue reading about the increasingly irritating Mr Macomber's cowardice.
After what seemed like ages, my son walks in, none the worse. I search for signs of tears, high anxiety, pain, reproach, martyrdom and find none. I interrogate the dentist. "Was my son screaming?" I ask him, to the point. Apparently not. It was some child outside. My son was anaesthetised to the hilt, had not recoiled at the sight of the needle, and in fact had taken it all very calmly.
Meanwhile I was practically a gibbering wreck; half from relief, half from fury that I had been taken in by someone else's yelling child. The dentist told me to pull myself together, which I did, ever obedient, and off we went into the pouring rain.
Oh ye of little faith, thought I.