On a Learning Curve

Life may not be easy, but it's always an adventure.


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A Tiny Little Tooth

Sometimes it’s the little things that cause the biggest problems. Take, for example, H’s baby tooth. It’s technically a lateral incisor (see chart below), and it’s been loose for more than two years–no kidding. Unfortunately, H decided she needed to keep it and the permanent version. When our dentist gave her 10 days to wiggle it out or come back for an extraction, H chose to call her bluff.

That was last Wednesday. That was the day that I spent 10 minutes listening to H asking a million questions in an attempt to stall Dr. Todd. “Will it hurt? Are you going to use your fingers? Can I see what you’re going to use? If I let you touch, do you promise not to wiggle it? If I let you wiggle it, do you promise not to pull it?” You get the idea.

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Then I spent 10 more minutes trying to find a comfortable way to lie down next to H. That didn’t work. Both of us are officially too big to fit in one chair together. Finally I sat near her feet and waited for her to exhaust her supply of stalling tactics. I held her hands, and Dr. Todd assured her that the tooth was so dead that it would simply pop out.

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The infamous tiny tooth

Of course that’s not how it actually happened, but eventually her tiny little tooth was dislodged from its too comfortable home.

The whole visit was ridiculous. After H had her extraction, S needed one of her front teeth fixed again. That repair work prompted a stern lecture about gingivitis, flossing, and diabetes. When our well-meaning dentist asked me if I had thought about withholding privileges until the flossing improved, I bluntly stated that I was not interested in withholding any more privileges, Kindles, cell phones, or makeup than I already do.

Only G escaped with a glowing report. Which makes complete sense since she is my child who routinely loses her toothbrush and simply doesn’t brush her teeth, much less floss, until I notice and magically produce a new brush.

Last Wednesday I remembered why I had stopped taking all three girls to the dentist at the same time. And all of this is why Thursday caught me completely off-guard.

“Hey, Mom, want to see the tooth that I just lost?” H asked me as we were reading something for school the next day.

“You have another loose tooth?!” I replied.

“Yeah, I told the hygienist last month, but it just fell out.”

And I just stared stupidly at her. After 14 years of parenting, I still haven’t quite gotten the knack of this job.

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A fancy green tooth holder for all of H’s old teeth