December 14th, 2011

The Ugly Tooth

Kate Chretien

We recently had a family photo session scheduled, and you know whenever you have something important like that, some kind of calamity is about to befall someone. Maybe it’s a snotty nose from a perfectly timed cold or a black eye from an errant Nerf ball or Jimmy accidentally cuts Maddie’s hair like Carrot Top or a 1-inch zit magically appears on your nose when you wake up that morning.  Some kind of calamity like that.

I wondered what it would be for us this year. Was baby Emile coming down with something? My pores looked unusually massive. But then, the calamity became self-evident. Elise lost one of her two wiggly front teeth. Leaving one wiggly front tooth.

It wasn’t the gap I took issue with. The gap was kind of cute, marking just this moment in time of 6-going-on-7. What was disturbing was that once that first front tooth fell, the second one became positively gruesome.

It was - now having lost its wiggly partner in crime – crooked and ominous, laying across the gateway to her mouth like a drunken linebacker trying to stay upright in his seat, but failing. Wasn’t this a baby tooth? It looked all crazy giant. It fluttered when Elise exhaled through her mouth, like whenever she spoke, flapping in the breeze. It was wiggly. And it was ugly.

All we could do was hope that that thing would fall out before 3 pm on Friday. In 24 hours.

Every so often during that 24 hours, we’d ask about the status of the Ugly Tooth. Did it fall out yet? Is it looser? Want an apple? Carrot stick? Corn on the cob?

When Luke and Elise started to play rowdy, I kind of just let it go…la la la la

But, no. The Ugly Tooth remained. She could push it 95% out with a gentle nudge from her tongue. I fantasized about the dental floss and doorknob days of my youth. And when 3 pm, Friday afternoon rolled around, the tooth hadn’t gotten the memo that he was supposed to be under a pillow somewhere waiting for The Fairy.

We had our pictures taken.

Not three hours later, Elise exclaims, “I lost my tooth!” She holds up her tooth, now looking so small and helpless in her triumphant hands and smiles a grin that was truly made for pictures.

Tooth 1. Family photos 0.

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This Weeks Tip

With the advent of chewables and liquids, many of us forget that, at some point in their lives, our children WILL need to know how to swallow a pill. Better to learn young, as the gag reflex only gets stronger with age. One pediatrician suggests starting at age 4 and making a game of it… using a supply of TicTacs and their favorite drink. Have them put the TicTac way at the back of their tongue and then GULP!