It was the 13th of May. The Gort and I were sitting at the dining table having a snack. Or maybe it was lunch. I can’t really remember because it was nearly three weeks ago. But I do remember I’d cut up some slices of Red Delicious apple. He stole one of the slices off my plate and, after biting into it, yelped ‘Ow! That apple hurt my teeth.’
Puzzled, I checked his mouth to see what could have possibly turned a bite of an apple into a painful experience. Nothing seemed obviously wrong, until I noticed that one tooth appeared to be crooked. I groaned inwardly as I visualized extensive orthodontic bills. I’d counted on him to be a straight-teeth kind of kid. And then I touched the errant tooth. It was wiggly.
‘Your tooth is loose!’ I exclaimed. ‘You’re going to lose your first tooth!’. The poor kid had been moping like a left out boy at a seventh grade dance as, one by one, various classmates had achieved that critical rite of passage in Kindergarten: shedding the first tooth.
‘Maybe when you’re seven you’ll lose your first tooth,’ I’d tried to console him. But he didn’t want to be SEVEN and lose a tooth. He wanted to be six.
I was almost as excited as he about this development. I emailed the grandparents and relayed the news to my sister. And everywhere we went he delivered the news to anyone within earshot, regardless of their level of interest.
I started thinking about the tooth fairy and how we were going to have to be the tooth fairy. Suddenly. Soon. Because I assumed the tooth would fall out within forty eight hours.
I was wrong.
‘So, did the tooth fairy visit your house?’ my sister emailed me three days after the initial announcement. No, I replied. Because the Gort did not want to yank his tooth out, nor did he want anyone else to yank his tooth out. ‘I’ll just wait until it falls out,’ he decided. And, really, what could I say? I was never the kid who wanted to yank out her loose teeth. I didn’t want to tie a string around them and wait for someone to shut a door. I didn’t want someone to stick their hands in my mouth and pull them out. I just wanted them to fall out on their own because I was certain it was going to be very painful.
In fact, I got a major case of the willies just looking at my oldest’s loose tooth.
But…’forty eight hours’ turned into a week. And a week turned into two weeks. And I started wondering if it was possible for a baby tooth to reattach itself after a certain period of time.
He walked into the kitchen this morning – on day 20 of the great tooth standoff – a few minutes before we were scheduled to leave for school. His tooth hurt. ‘Let Daddy get it out for you,’ I urged him. Offering chocolate and candy and chips and anything I could think of just to get the show on the road. The professor made one attempt but the Gort pulled back and the tooth remained. Except now the kid’s gums were bleeding. And he was rather upset.
‘Daddy will stop the bleeding,’ I assured him as I gave the professor a ‘get that tooth out of there’ kind of look.
Trickery. The oldest trick in the tooth removal book.
Jason swooped in to ‘dab’ the bleeding gums with a kleenex. The tugging motion was nearly imperceptible; that’s how loose the tooth was. I wasn’t sure if he’d actually gotten it, but he held up his thumb and index finger. Which were pressed against a tiny white seed pearl of a tooth.
Relieved, the Gort made many trips to the bathroom to check out his altered reflection. He deposited the tooth in a cup of water – to clean it off, I guess. ‘Don’t throw out that water!’ I begged the professor, envisioning a tooth fairy catastrophe.
‘So, are you excited?’ I asked our oldest. ‘I don’t really care,’ he shrugged. Too cool for school. ‘When I get back from school, I’m going to make eyelashes,’ he informed me before we headed out the door. ‘Why?’ I asked. Intrigued.
‘So when the tooth fairy comes tonight and turns on the light, I won’t wake up,’ he replied as if it was the most obvious response in the world.
I stopped at Starbucks later in the evening for the purpose of caffeinating myself and to get some change for my fairy work. I handed the barista a five dollar bill – ‘could I get a toonie and some change? I have to be the tooth fairy tonight.’