So, following the tooth fairy story, I have to give equal time to Alex.
He was ever my unconventional child. If Stephanie is the type-A firstborn, Alex is an out-of-the-box free spirit. He marched to his own drummer as a child, and still does to this day.
His early tooth adventures were uneventful, as I recall. Or rather, don’t recall; the point being that they must have been pretty ordinary, or I would still be slightly twitching. (That’s what repeated childhood dental trauma does, causes the mom to twitch.)
It was second grade that marked me.
He was in a new school, we had just moved, and we were in that phase when we wanted to make a great impression. You know, when you hope your shining parenting skills are showing every day, hoping your little cherub is fitting in and doing well.
I knew he had a loose tooth, knew it was just a matter of time till it was out. We were going through the familiar routine…
“Just let me check it…how loose is it? Let me help you pull it.” “No!” “Let your dad look at it.” “No!” “Let Stephanie look at it.” “No!” “OK, just keep wiggling it,”
Every day, the same conversation after school. “Let me see, still got it?” “Yep!”
Finally, one morning, a few minutes before time for school, Alex came running into the kitchen. I was deep in lunch boxes, not looking at him, just listening. I heard the escalating tone of voice.
I turned around and saw this horrifying sight…his loose front tooth was turned around backward. It was still attached, and it was backward in his head.
My little guy, cute as he could be, was suddenly slightly frightening. Have you ever seen a tooth facing backward? Made me feel queasy just looking at it.
I didn’t even know such a thing was possible, and now here it was in my second grader. And it was almost time for school.
The only thing I could think was, he was not going to school with a backward tooth in his head. That just wasn’t right. I remember feeling indignant. How could he do this?! What was he thinking?
Of course he wasn’t thinking, he was just being a second-grader. I’m sure he was just as shocked as I was. Neither of us expected this turn of events…literally, this turn of events.
I must have sounded like someone out of a comedy show. I think I said something like “You can pull that tooth or turn it around, but you’re not going to school like that!”
I have to admit, I don’t know why it seemed so unacceptable to me that he would show up with a backward facing tooth. I’m sure no one at school would have thought we planned this, or thought we thought this was the new style for loose tooth management. But in that moment it seemed unthinkable. Nor did I see myself keeping him home from school for a loose tooth, much less a backward facing loose tooth.
I briefly rehearsed explaining the reason for his absence to the intimidating woman who answered the school attendance line…no, unthinkable. I was not going to find myself explaining this to her. I could almost feel disapproval as I imagined the scene in my mind.
“You allowed your son to turn his tooth backward?!”
I hadn’t allowed him to do it, and I was pretty sure he was surprised as well.
I hadn’t read about this in my parenting books! Now what?
Such are the thoughts that race through a mom’s mind when confronted with a backward-facing-toothed second-grader.
It was traumatic, I tell you!
He seemed to accept that he had to make a choice with the tooth and he ran out of the kitchen. I thought the answer was obvious, and as I hurriedly wrapped up lunch prep, I confidently expected to see him come back, new gap in his smile, tooth in hand.
But Alex was rarely predictable. Imagine my surprise when he ran back in, all smiles, ready to go, tooth turned around and facing the right way again.
I couldn’t believe he could have turned it backward and it still hung on, and now he’d managed to turn it back around, and it was still there. Was this super tooth or something?!
Well, he got to go to school. And the tooth came out in due time. Not much more time, but not that morning either. It was a resilient loose tooth!
Wish I’d made a photo!