Part of being a MOM is dealing with a vast reportoire of gross bodily emissions--which I will not list here because starting out a paragraph with the word vomit never bodes well. However; there is one physical phenomenon that causes my blood to run cold, my innards to freeze up, and a sensation not unlike the itsy bitsy spider running up my back.
The loose, wiggly tooth.
Jesse has had two now; LOOK MOM! LOOK! WATCH ME WIGGLE IT! YOU'RE NOT LOOKING MOM! I CAN ALMOST TURN IT COMPLETELY AROUND WITH MY TONGUE! LOOK-I CAN MAKE IT WAVE TO YOU! MOM-WHY ARE YOU RUNNING AWAY?
I shudder at the thought-grow faint while being forced to watch him place his grubby finger in his mouth and show the flexibility of his tiny tooth. Flash back to first grade: to a metallic taste in my mouth, an odd crunching sound when I realize that my own tooth has become wrapped in wonderbread and O MY GAWD IF I SWALLOW MY TOOTH HOW GROSS WILL THAT BE. Because everyone knows that chewing gum stays in your stomache for seven years--so swallowing a tooth would be really, really bad-not to mention getting stiffed by The Fairy. And though the memory is hazy and much has been supressed, I do believe at some point in my life string and pulling became involved--but I could be remembering an old episode of The Waltons in which Jim Bob gets a clever idea about barn door dentistry.
Kip was away on a business trip when Jesse lost his first one. Jesse announced that his lower front tooth was now turned completely sideways and ISN'T THIS COOL MOM? LOOK AT THIS MOM! OH MOM-THIS KIND OF HURTS MOM-A LITTLE HELP HERE, MOM....MOM? So I opened the fridge, pulled out a bag of red delicious apples, and had him bite into apple after apple until finally his teeny tooth remained embedded in the apple core. And then we jumped hysterically around the kitchen for ten minutes--Jesse triumphant at this first rite of passage--me giddy with relief that the damn thing was out. Then Annie came in the kitchen HOW COME I DON'T GET TO LOSE ANY TOOTH MOM? HOW COME ONLY JESSE GETS TO LOSE A TOOTH? I WANNA LOSE MY TOOTH RIGHT NOW! WAAAAAAAWAAAAAAAWAAAAAAAA.
After Jesse has looked at the tiny tooth 10,000 times I put it in an envelope--which he makes me open at least 3 more times so he can look at it again, between trips to the bathroom mirror where he stares at the hole in his mouth and begins to figure out ways of making his tongue do tricks within the gap. My big boy. Wasn't it yesterday Kip and I were anxiously scanning his gumline for this same tooth to make its first appearance--because it had to be teething that was causing all that crying and fussing--it couldn't be Jesse's personality--no way--just the pain of those damn teeth coming in, right honey? RIGHT? PLEASE STOP CRYING! O MY GOD I HATE TEETHING!
The Tooth Fairy brings a gold dollar coin--the one with the woman Indian that never caught on with society. Jesse is impressed until he goes to school the next day and learns that the going rate for first teeth is $10.00. Plus, he realizes the mythology of the Tooth Fairy is not as well thought out as that of Santa- and where is the merchandise? The DVD, the doll? And he was a little freaked at the idea of a buzzing creature coming to him in the middle of the night--he actually requests that Santa leaves his stocking in the hallway at Christmas.
It is a hard moment when you take the envelope you have gently removed from underneath the pillow of your sleeping child and realize you have to do something with it. I know many people who save these baby teeth like precious gems. I am not one of those people--apartment dwellers seldom have room to store body parts that aren't essential. I threw it away.
The next morning, Jesse announced that yet another tooth was loose.