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The countdown is on, baby
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It’s just a matter of mere hours before the start of another school year. I can hardly wait. I feel like buying myself some new sneakers just for the occasion of walking the kid to the corner and saying, "Adios, muchacho!"

After a harrowing start in seventh grade last year, The Kid opted out of the brick and mortar setting to feel the comforts of home as we settled in for several months of homeschooling. I loved it. He didn’t.

He did very well in spite of himself, but he missed having his buddies to hang out with at school every day. I don’t know why, because they were over here every day after school. Over the summer break they managed to convince him to return to the local version of "baby jail."         

I’m still a bit dubious about it, but he said he does not want to do homeschooling anymore. 

I had to rob him of some of last precious moments of freedom when I stuck my head in his room and announced that I would be taking him to the school at o’dark thirty to register and then later in the morning he’d be going to the dentist for some teeth cleaning.

Suddenly, from out of nowhere, the theme to "Dragnet" started up. Must’ve been the look on The Kid’s face that did it.

I closed the door, seeing the reaction he was having.

You would have thought I’d just told him his favorite Internet server had just shut down. He was on my heels within seconds, begging and pleading for mercy.

"You might as well just stop right there, don’t even get yourself all worked up. You have to go to the dentist and you have to get registered at school."

Some big ol’ drops of water were welling up at the corners of his eyes and he started wringing his hands.

Oh dear.

"But ... but ... what are they gonna do to me?" 

"Where? At the dentist?"

"Yeah ... (sniffle) ..."

"They’re gonna shackle up your feet, jerk on a chain that will pull you up feet first, handcuff your hands behind your back, blindfold you, and then start jackhammering at your teeth. What do you think they’re gonna do to you?"

"It’s gonna hurt so baaad," he cried, wailing like a 4-year old.

I rolled my eyes and said, "No, it’s not gonna hurt so baaaaad. You’ll get x-rayed, the hygienist will scrape your teeth — and that IS the worst part — then flossed, polished, rinse, you’re done. Just like that."

"Ohhhh, it hurts so muuuuuch," he wailed again.

"Well, it probably will hurt some, but it ain’t gonna kill ya. You’ll feel so much better when your teeth are all clean and fresh," I said, giving him a hug.

"But I think one of my teeth is broken," he said, the tears rolling down his cheeks.

"I doubt if it’s broken, ’cause you’d be hurting.  You probably do have a cavity or two, and he’ll take care of it."

He broke away and clutched his head, falling to the floor in a heap. Oh the wailing and gnashing of broken teeth.

"Come on, stop that silliness. Get up off the floor!"

"But Mom! Will they give me something to put me to sleep? Will they knock me out?"

No, but I’d like to.

"They’ll get you all numbed up so you don’t feel a thing. OK? Just a little pinch of novacaine and  you won’t feel a thing."

"A pinch? A pinch? Does that mean a shot? Ohhhhhhhhnnoooooooooo!" more tears and rolling around on the kitchen floor.

It was quite a scene. "And the award for this year’s performance goes to...!"

Meanwhile, his b.f.f. was sitting back in the bedroom, laughing his har har har laugh. He’d been back there telling The Kid wild tales of pain and suffering at the hands of the orthodontist, as he has a mouth full of tightly twisted metal and has many tales to spin about his ordeal.

I’d been through all of that myself and it was painful, but not to the degree The Kid was envisioning.

"Come on come on, get up. Let’s not have all the antics now, just get up and relax. You have a few hours to take a deep breath and get yourself ready. I’ll be right there with you. You can take your iPod if you want to, it helps to drown out the sound of the drills and the other kids screaming."

The eyes bulged and the face crumpled, but no kicking his feet on floor.

He slowly got up, his body showing total defeat.

The b.f.f. came out and stood in the kitchen doorway and watched The Kid, a big goofy grin on his face.

He’s nearly twice the size of The Kid, and gets a big kick out of him.

"Hey, come on, I just got nuked by the sword master and they’re taking away diamonds," he said, trying to break the drama.

The Kid stopped his pity party and got up, wiping his eyes, and said something in response that I didn’t understand but knew it had something to do with the game they were playing.

They tore off down the hall and I heard the door slam, then the b.f.f. went into a long range of har har hars as The Kid regaled him with how the visit to the dentist would play out.

I am bracing myself for what is sure to be a long and harrowing day for me. Nothing like having to be prepared for a full day of reassuring and hand-holding.

Hubs said, "So! You’re taking The Kid in for a cleaning, huh? When are you going in?"

I looked at him with big eyes, and said, "Uh-uh. Not me, baby. I gotta see how the guinea pig works out before I succumb!"

"You’re terrible."

"Why the heck do you think I’ve been buttering him up with all these pre-birthday presents? Gotta soften the blow!" I whispered.

And besides that, I need more than a shot of novacaine. I need a shot of tequila … or Jack Daniels.

If The Kid manages to make it through, I may consider it.

And then again....