One Step Closer

My oldest son lost his last baby tooth yesterday.

Hashtag not okay.

I mean, we all know my loathing of dangling, falling out, bloody baby teeth. I gagged when he told me the tooth felt loose. I gagged when he said he “took it out.” I gagged at the blood he spat in the sink. I gagged writing this paragraph.

But, you guys.

The Tooth Fairy left a five dollar bill in his firefighter tooth pillow.

“Five dollars? Why so much money?”
“Because it’s my last baby tooth, Mom!”

This whole growing up thing doesn’t seem to stop. He’s finished the first half of fifth grade, meaning we’re on the downward slope toward middle school. I’m not ready for any of that nonsense. I don’t even fully understand what the transition from elementary to middle school means for us or looks like yet, but I feel nervous. For him. For me. For our family.

I’m sure he’ll handle it in his own way. I’m sure we’ll figure out how to handle the earlier wake up time and homework. I’m sure I’ll move into the role of middle school mom just fine. Because what else can we do? Move forward.

He teethed early. Both boys did. And now those teeth that caused fevers and crankiness and really long, late nights are all gone. It’s weird. We spent so much time fretting over getting those tiny little things into his face, and just like that, they’re no longer a part of his being.

What if letting go of stuff that no longer serves us was as easy as losing baby teeth? /end deep thought

He’ll need braces in the future as my genetics regarding teeth stink. My apologies to my children; maybe you can blame Papau. His smile as it looks now, with molar gaps on the sides, will change at least two more times before his smile becomes what it will look like for the rest of his life. Those molars will grow in. The braces will move his teeth into place.

And then he’ll own the smile he’ll have as a teenager, a young adult, a grown man, an old man. It’s kind of weird knowing he’s one step closer to something so permanent, one of the things people will notice about him when first meeting him. And no, I’m not even ready to imagine what his voice will sound like in the next couple of years (though I imagine him sounding like my brother for some reason).

Last Baby Tooth

At least he’s now officially done wiggling teeth in my face at seven o’clock in the morning. Hashtag the small things.


The Tooth Story

The Tooth Story

I dream of teeth falling out of my head. Crumbling into my hands, my gaping mouth a dark hole. Dreams about teeth falling out apparently have to do with change or fear over losing something important or, ahem, sexual repression.

In these dreams there is no blood, which is how I know that they are, in fact, dreams and not real life. When teeth fall out of real, live, non-dreaming human heads, there’s so much blood.

I suppose I’m ready to tell the story of how my oldest son lost a permanent tooth here on the blog. I told it on Instagram and Facebook, but recording it here makes it mine and permanent. In order to make it mine and permanent, I had to stop gagging every time I thought of what happened.

I succeeded in reaching that point tonight when my lovely oldest son yelled from the living room, “Mom! I LOST A TOOTH!”

And I yelled back, “IS IT ONE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO LOSE?!”

And he replied, “I THINK SO!”

I met him in the bathroom and did a quick scan of his mouth. Yes, a baby tooth. One that should come out. One that can come out and not need replaced. One that still results in a lot of blood. Like, too much blood.

“Buddy, were you messing with it? Like trying to pick it out?”
“Yeah, it was loose and bothering me.”

We like to force teeth out around these parts.

A few weeks ago, I told BigBrother he could go play at the neighbor’s house. This happened way back before winter returned to the area, so kids actually got to do things like play outside without getting frostbite. LittleBrother stayed at the house because he was burying money. No, really. He had a giant shovel and was digging holes to bury money to find again later with the metal detector.

We know how to have a good time here.

I was in my office with the window open, because again, spring seemed all but arrived. My husband had just walked outside to see how much damage LittleBrother was causing with the shovel when a group of children ran into our back yard.

“Your brother lost an adult tooth!”

I should say right here that I did not panic. I did not think the child lost an “adult” tooth. Any time he feels a loose tooth, he panics and asks, “Is this a permanent tooth?” And I watch him wiggle it, gag, and inform him that no, it’s a baby tooth, and all will be well. So, right at that moment, I’m figuring my oldest son is living up to his dramatic tendencies and that the Tooth Fairy will make a visit some time that night.

My husband, arriving in the back yard, says he’ll walk over.

The kids reply, “Oh, there’s a lot of blood.”

So my husband gets in the car and drives over. I continue working, again thinking nothing at all could possibly be wrong. Maybe he’ll have a bruise if he bonked heads. Life will go on.

I hear the car come into the garage and I meet them at the door in the mudroom.

“Is it a permanent tooth,” I stage-whisper ask.

My husband, holding his arm around our son’s shoulders to keep a bloody rag in his mouth, nods yes. I immediately grab my phone and call the dentist’s office where my mother-in-law works.

“It’s an emergency.”
“He lost a permanent tooth.”
“Put it in milk. Hold on.”

And I hold, standing on the front porch, glad that I took the time to get dressed and make myself presentable as it seems we’ll be leaving the house shortly. LittleBrother walked by with a shovel.

“Yes, put it in milk and get here now.”

As my husband took the bloody tooth, WHICH BY THE WAY WAS GIGANTIC, and put it in a Tupperware container that seems made specifically for milk and teeth, I worked to calm down my oldest son. First I had to assure him that we weren’t mad. I knew that’s what he was most upset about; he doesn’t like to disappoint anyone. Ever. Then I had to reassure him that his Nina would work with the dentist to fix it. I didn’t know what that meant at the time. I just figured they could and would fix it. He finally stopped crying.

I zoned out on the ride to the dentist’s office because my husband was speeding as time is of the essence in tooth-replacement. Once it starts to clot, you have less of a chance of the tooth “taking.” So I gagged on Twitter and read social media report emails and turned to check on the gap-toothed boy every now and then. LittleBrother sat very quietly.

Once at the dentist’s office, they got him set up in the chair. The thing to mention here is that because of my mother-in-law, my children have no fear of the dentist. He just laid back in that chair like he was going to get his hair done and that was that.

Do you want to know how they replace a tooth? After numbing the gums, they just SHOVE IT BACK IN THE GAPING HOLE.

How I didn’t pass out, I don’t have a clue.

They then installed a set of four temporary braces on his bottom front teeth to keep it stationary while it adheres back into his mouth. He’ll need a root canal at some point. He didn’t flinch at any of this, didn’t whine or cry at any of the pain. Meanwhile, I’m woozy writing this just now.

My mother-in-law went out to check on LittleBrother who had stayed in the lobby to watch TV. She brought him into the room and the kid was as white as a ghost. He was scared for his brother. He then crawled up into the chair with him and said, “I love you.”

Listen. I’ll take a little lot of mouth blood, gigantic missing teeth, Tupperware containers of milk, and shoving teeth back where they go just to see a little bit of brotherly love up in this piece. But I’d really rather not do that one again. So maybe if they could just work on the brotherly love without the blood, that’d be swell.

And yeah, we’re done with trampolines.