Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The First Loose Tooth-- Don't Delay!

A couple of  months ago, a dear young friend took a post-graduation trip to France.  While there, she remembered our Kiddo and brought home a sweet gift for him: a wee round container made of boxwood. The top is painted brightly with the words "Dent du Lait" and screws on to the bottom, hollowed out to hold a baby tooth. Dent du lait is French for "milk teeth", which is what baby teeth are called in other parts of the English-speaking world. Dent du lait, when spoken, also sounds like "don't delay", and that's where my wish comes in.

Last night while eating a spicy, fresh apple, Kiddo moaned and then opened his mouth with an aggrieved look. "My teeth hurt." Perhaps I'd accidentally missed a tough piece of core whilst slicing it, and so we moved to the bathroom, I wrapped some floss around my fingers, and then took a good look into Kiddo's mouth. On the bottom row of teeth, I could see a little blood and so I gently pushed on the tooth. IT MOVED! I smiled and told Kiddo the best news of his Kindergarten life thus far~ "You have a loose tooth!" 

After this revelation, Kiddo was on a mission to find his little "Tooth Fairy" box. Once that had happened, we very carefully brushed his teeth and because his mouth was beginning to hurt, gave him a dose of Motrin. This was not going to be an easy, happy night after all. About a half-hour after bedtime, he complained of the tooth hurting. We rinsed with warm salt water, which helped temporarily. In this case, "temporary" translates to "about five minutes". Then he was up again. And again. Then he didn't want to fall asleep because he was afraid the tooth was going to come out . I reassured him that this wouldn't happen, that it was stuck in there with lots of little threads of tissue, and that it would be a while before it came out. 

I laid down with him and told him the story of the Three Bears. Settled him in. This was at 8. At 8:30, he was up again and I begged Joe for mercy. "I've been doing Tooth Trauma duty for the past hour and I need.a.break." He laid down with Kiddo and 15 minutes later, Kiddo was asleep. 

This morning we ensured the tooth was still there. I served sliced bananas and yogurt, and then scrambled eggs and rice, for breakfast. Soft foods. Another dose of Motrin, and I slipped half of a banana into his backpack for him to take to school for snack. This, instead of taking a chance on graham crackers and gummy fruit snacks, the latter of which I was more concerned about. Get one of those 'fruit gellies' stuck on that wiggly tooth and who knows how much that was going to hurt.

In my secret heart: I am not looking forward to tonight. I'm making matzoh ball soup with good bread and smoked salmon for dinner. And a Motrin nightcap for Kiddo again, likely. 

Teeth hurt. I know this because I remember a wisdom tooth coming in when I was in my early twenties, and how much that hurt. It's good to have this memory, because it is very empathy-inducing. And thus, while he's playing up that loose tooth at school, I know that darker side of this will come to the fore at home. Because we are safe to complain to. We adults can be excited for him, and we also know that besides the social glamour of having a loose tooth, it just freaking hurts for some kids. 

So, Tooth Fairy, if you will-- don't delay. Help that new tooth emerge sooner than later, to help that loose one become a tooth in a box, waiting for you. I know friends who have betting pools on when their kid's loose tooth finally pops out. In Kiddo's case, I'm betting it won't be soon enough. I'm looking forward to sneaking a box out from under his pillow, putting a dollar's worth of quarters inside (because our Tooth Fairy is not subject to inflation and has a healthy sense of proportion) and letting our wee Jack-o-Lantern faced child enjoy the treasure and magic of trading bone for silver. Okay, cupronickel, really (75% copper, 25% nickel). No matter what we call it, though, it's a dollar and it is good because a fairy came in the night to visit, and that tooth will be out, with more to follow. 

Better stock up on the Motrin. And coffee.  I think we're in for some tough nights.  

and the epilogue~Happily, the Tooth Fairy can read and Kiddo lost his tooth the day after I wrote this.  Of course,  it was right after I'd gone to the store to buy more soft foods....

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