Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Something's Missing

When The Rock Star was roughly 8 months old, give or take, his first little tooth popped in. I'm not completely sure of the time frame because his baby book is trapped in the bedroom with a resting Little Buddy and I can't be expected to remember these things off the tip top of my head. I know how much he weighed at birth, his length, and the exact minute he was born so I think I can be forgiven the specific date that his first, pearly white tooth stuck up awkwardly through his perfect pink gums.

A mouthful followed.

Now, six years into his life, they're falling out.

His tooth was barely loose for months. The kind of loose where you wiggle it and you think, "Is it moving? I think it's moving. Troy, is his tooth moving? Is it loose? I think it's loose. What do you think? Well, maybe it's not. Maybe it's just my imagination. Do you think it's loose?" Then, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that it had that grayish look to it, the color that reminds you that everything dies, eventually. Even those adorable, tiny teeth that spring up in the mouth of your child will die, twinge slightly gray, and fall out.

We started wiggling that sucker like mad and reliving our own glory days of teeth gone by.

I once lost a tooth that wasn't even loose in a bite of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream while having a discussion about losing teeth with a friend of mine. And that is the truest story I've ever told. One minute I was talking about her loose tooth and the next minute I reached into my mouth and pulled out a molar.

After days of wiggling the remaining life out of Garrett's tooth, he was finally getting pretty miserable. It hurt to brush his teeth. It hurt to bite into even the softest of foods. He was ready for it to be gone. So last night he asked his daddy to yank it out.

We weren't entirely sure it was ready. We could pull it forward almost 90 degrees but we couldn't push it backward at all. Still, the boy remained convinced. Troy tied a piece of dental floss around it.
And then, before even I knew it was about to happen, he pulled his arm up with quicker speed than I've ever seen him move. It was like some kind of award winning Jiu Jitsu move. A look of extreme horror and panic flashed across The Rock Star's face as he simultaneously let out a howl. I heard the tooth hit the wall behind me and, mid scream, the kid managed to suppress the noise and ask immediately, "Is it out? Is it gone?"

If the blood pouring from his mouth was any indicator then, yeah, it was out.
I retrieved the tooth while Troy ushered him quickly to the bathroom, pulled his shirt up over his head, and let the blood pour into the sink. Garrett swished with mouthfuls of water, laughing and repeating, "I want to see the hole." The entire time this was going on, the three-year-old was crying.

He'd climbed up on the counter next to his brother and tears were sliding down his face as he said, "You killed my brother. Why'd you kill my brother? My brother is bloody murdered. Don't do that again!"

Within minutes the gaping hole stopped bleeding and Garrett was able to assure his brother that he is still alive and well.

Matthew turned, once sure his brother would pull through, locked eyes with me and said, "Don't ever do that to me. Ever. I want all my teeth forever." Good thing he still has a few years, eh?

As he fingered it, that slippery little tooth fell out of Troy's hand, hit the floor and bounced. We spent a good five minutes searching for it. My heart hit crisis levels as I thought about never seeing that itty bitty thing again and vacuuming it up with a wad of dust and hair. My husband assured me that he wouldn't stop looking until he found it. My brother once lost my sister-in-law's wedding ring in the sand as he took pictures of it. This was kind of like that. Except, you know, a dead baby tooth and not, actually, an expensive ring. As I contemplated the fact that I would be the mother who sucked her kid's first tooth up into the vacuum mistaking it for a pebble, it dawned on me to open the hall closet door. When I did, there sat that glorious tooth. I probably felt as happy as my brother did when he found that wedding ring. It was pretty close to the same kind of thing.

The tooth fairy--the one that Garrett doesn't believe in anymore--delivered money late last night and he, obsessed with vending machines, used it immediately to purchase a Butterfinger.

Before he crawled into bed, he got a distressed look on his face. "Oh no!" he said. "I forgot to write the tooth fairy a letter telling her that I would like to keep this tooth since it's my first one!"

"Uh, buddy, I think she knows," I responded slowly.

"Oh yeah!" he replied and climbed up the ladder. Still, this morning, he wanted to wait until I awoke to see what the tooth fairy had left him. Then, before running out of the room he yelled, "Thanks Mom, for the money!"

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