December 15, 2014

Push, Pull and Pluck!

By Renatta

Just as there are many ways of killing a rat, there are as many ways of extracting milk teeth.

You could visit a dentist and let them take care of everything as you try to convince your child to allow him to insert metals in and out of their mouth. Or you could tie a string around your child’s tooth with the other end tied to a doorknob. You then slam the door shut and voila! The tooth flies off. You could choose to do the dirty work yourself by holding the tooth firmly (works better if you use a piece of gauze or a clean cloth for a good grip) pushing it in, pulling it backwards and since this action loosens the tooth from the gums, it’ll allow you to pluck it out with little effort. I used the latter for Hailey when I still had the privilege of removing her milk teeth.

I don’t anymore. That privilege was taken away from me when Hailey discovered that she could extract her own teeth. She did it once in school and since then, she hasn’t looked back. I think the tooth had been loose for a while and on this particular day she must have played around with it, biting into her lunch, wiggling it around and stuff. Before she knew it, she was holding her incisor in her hands. She ran to me after school to brag how she had removed her own tooth. Pssh! Like she did not need me anymore?

I was henceforth sliced from her dental affairs. And to imagine I had psyched myself up in order to do it right! I had called my sister who was a pro to ask for advice. She is the one who gave me the push, pull back then pluck method. I used it and my first tooth came out spectacularly. There was a little blood, but that was to be expected. She gurgled some water and that was that.  I looked forward to doing more spectacular extractions and getting even better at it (if that was even a possibility). I felt proud. Like I was entirely hacking this motherhood thing. Then I remembered that the teenage years were ahead of me and the excitement waned.

Now she removes her own milk teeth. I only hear about it when the tooth is shaking. She asks me to confirm that it is indeed loose one minute, and the fallen tooth is in her hands the next minute. She then puts it under her pillow at night and waits to find money in place of the tooth the next morning!

Now, I am not that tooth fairy, Easter bunny nor Santa Claus tradition kind of mother. But Hailey seems intent on changing that. Ever since she started shedding her milk teeth, I have had to play the role of a tooth fairy. How I got myself entangled in the tooth fairy capers, I honestly cannot tell.

Since she started shedding her milk teeth, we’ve had the “tooth fairy” visit us a couple of times. She comes in the night, grabs a tooth that has been neatly placed under the pillow, and then places a coin where the tooth was before making her way to wherever.

Children have a way of changing you. Hailey placed her first tooth under the pillow and nothing happened the first time as I wasn’t aware how seriously she took it. The next morning, I looked into her disappointed face as she lamented and wondered why the tooth fairy had not visited. You will never get used to that disappointed face. You will find yourself doing stuff you are not crazy about just so that you don’t have to look into that face.

So once more, her tooth fell. Not one to give up, she placed it under the pillow and waited patiently for the tooth fairy. I did what any mother would do. She got her money. And now she won’t stop.

It is in fact getting into her head. The other day, Heidi wanted me to buy them chewing gum. No. Not lollipops. Or biscuits. Or crisps. Or Oreos. Just chewing gum. I declined. Sometimes I am not just in the mood of damaging their teeth. When Heidi goes “Aki muuuum! Why won’t you buy us chewing gum?” Hailey quickly consoles her “Don’t worry Heidi. I have money. I will buy you anything you want.” Anything you want huh Hailey? Anything you want?

You need to be smart about these things too. I once blundered. Instead of disposing of the tooth I had taken from under the pillow like a good tooth fairy, I absent-mindedly placed it in the cupboard and life went on. One day, Hailey chances upon it while rummaging through my stuff (how do you stop children from doing this, anyone?) when she comes across the same tooth. She picks it up and peers at it: Mum, isn’t this my tooth? Didn’t the tooth fairy take my tooth? Bummer! I had to think fast! “You know what baby girl? That was the first tooth. The one I removed the very first time, before you became good at doing it yourself. I kept it.”

“Yes!” Hailey replied. “I will put it under the pillow tonight. Then I will get more money…. Heidi! Heidi!” she ran off to find her sister. Maybe to help her draw a budget or something.

Hailey is ripping us off!

And Santa is around the corner!

His list is long too!

‘Tis the season to be jolly? 🙂

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