One of the most common topics that comes up around our house is teeth. It seems like for one reason or another we are always talking about them. Whether it’s my most recent root canal, or Matt’s overwhelming dislike for the dentist, or how many teeth Brendan needs to have pulled this time, teeth are never far from the forefront of conversation.
So when Cameron came running into my bedroom mid-Sunday morning screeching that there was something wrong with his teeth I didn’t immediately panic. I’ve learned with Cameron to take all panicky shrieks with a grain of salt and look for the blood, guts, and gore myself before flying off the handle. Instead I calmly asked him to slow down and explain to me what the problem was. He started again, and the information still came out in such a rush that I only caught bits and pieces of what he was saying but the underlying problem became clear…Cameron had a loose tooth.
I could hardly believe it. He’s not even 6 years old yet and here he was with his very first loose tooth. I shouldn’t have been too surprised I suppose, he’s the right age to start losing teeth. And it’s not like we weren’t prepared for it, as soon as he turned 5 we made him his tooth fairy pillow so he’d have it whenever the blessed moment arrived. But at the same time we weren’t prepared for it. Brendan didn’t lose his first tooth until he was 7. By that time pretty much every other kid in his grade had lost at least one, if not multiple teeth, and poor Brendan was still stuck with every single tooth firmly in place.
The funniest thing about Brendan’s first loose tooth was how quickly it happened. Just before lunch he mentioned to us that it was loose, then after lunch it was out. Just like that. I don’t think we were aware of it being loose for a full 2 hours even. We assume that it must have been loose for longer than that but either Brendan hadn’t taken notice of it or just hadn’t mentioned it, we will probably never know which one.
Once we realized what the issue with Cameron was Matt and I both tried to calm him down and make him understand that his tooth should be loose. One would think with an older brother that loose teeth wouldn’t come as this big a shock. I mean, I could understand if Brendan had had this reaction but not Cameron. The Tooth Fairy has been an open topic of conversation in our house for years. I suppose though with as infrequently as Brendan loses teeth that it might not have sunk in for Cameron that loose teeth are a normal part of life.
Despite our reassurances Cameron was still quite freaked out by the situation. He calmed down enough to leave our bedroom and go back to what he was doing, but within a matter of minutes he was back in our doorway this time holding the goody bag he’d received from my nephews birthday party and in a complete panic again.
Showing somewhat more restraint than he did during his first tirade Cameron explained that he was upset because he couldn’t have any of the candy from his goody bag. I have to admit we were confused by this new conversation track as well. While we hadn’t given him permission to eat any of the candy out of his goody bag, we hadn’t expressly denied him the chance to either. So why was he sobbing like we’d grounded him from eating candy from now until he was 19?
A few more sobs and a bit more incoherent gibberish and we finally caught up to his line of thinking. Brendan has a retainer in his mouth which prevents him from eating sticky candies. Cameron knows that Brendan can’t eat that candy because it will pull out his retainer, and he assumed that since sticky candy would pull out his loose tooth out that we would ban him from eating the candies too. Trying hard not to laugh we explained to him that in the case of a loose tooth it would be perfectly okay if the candy pulled it out since ultimately that was goal.
And that was the way things went all day long. Cameron assumed that he wouldn’t be able to eat anything crunchy, or soft, or gooey…the list went on and on. I started to feel like I was in the middle of a Dr. Seuss book, “I can not chew it if it’s hard, I can not chew it in the yard. I will not eat things with my tooth, I will only drink things cause it’s loose.”
Slowly but surely we worked through each new concern and convinced Cameron that he could still eat pretty much anything he would have eaten prior to his tooth becoming loose. It was like an obsession for him, and I began to hope against hope that his tooth would fall out as quickly as Brendan’s first tooth had. But that was not to be the case. He went to bed that night with it firmly still attached and wiggling in his mouth.
Ah bliss, with him now safely tucked into bed I wouldn’t have to hear any more about how scary this was or what else Cameron couldn’t do. But alas my relief was short lived because just a few minutes after we put him to bed he came back out panicking that if he went to sleep with a loose tooth in his mouth he’d end up swallowing it overnight. Another round of reassurances and hugs finally convinced him that he’d be okay to go to sleep. Tucked back in the second time we breathed a sigh of relief and began to hope that a good night’s rest would allow Cameron to deal with the loose tooth without continued fear and panic.
Now all we have to do is wait for the tooth to actually fall out. I’m sure that will bring a whole new round of fears and concerns. I just hope I have the strength and patience to deal with it.