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Archive for November, 2012

TM toothHow to Lose a Tooth.

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How to Lose a Tooth

TM tooth

Households are filled with a wide variety of characters.  My home has many plus a whole lot of testosterone.  Within our chaotic family unit one personality tends to stand out.  Always has.  Since birth our youngest son has been an adorable often mentally and physically exhausting kid to raise or live with, were you to ask his brothers.  His steel will and smarts, rough and tumble ways…his need to be in the thick of it with his older brothers makes for many unique moments.  There is a lot of noise with Mr. T and with it comes a devout appreciation of bedtime, both his and my own.  My mom likes to say, ‘There never was a minute that ‘T’ wasn’t in it’.   When I’m not cracking under the stress of mothering this kid he’s just cracking me up.

I had always been quite proud of the way my two older boys behaved.  They listened well to me. When they were little I could bring them in public and not live in fear of what might erupt.  Not so with our youngest.  Though his performance has improved as we approach his 7th birthday, outings are still not fool proof.  Since the days of strollers, to a time not so long ago, a meal at a restaurant or store visit with T basically sucked the life out of me.  During everyday outings it was almost a given that the heat of mortification would steam up my neck.  As I took in an escalating scene realizing I had little control embarrassment would commence.  I would glare, growl and hiss quietly for him to, ‘stop yelling at your brother, get off that shelf, stop running down the corridor, banging your silverware.’  I would threaten real things that I truly intended to take away.  I’m not one for false threats that they know won’t be carried out.  Rarely would I offer to buy him something he demanded just to facilitate a quicker exit.  I don’t believe in rewarding bad behavior.  Still, on some of the worst occasions with a shopping cart full of food at the check-out line, shocked condescending stares upon me usually care of an older woman who deemed my wailing kid as a sign of an inferior generation, I would buy him something small, to buy me some time.  Once locked in his car seat I would notify him that there was not a chance in hell he was getting that candy or trinket and I would hold true to it.

Driving toward home, calming down after the horror of shopping with my mini demon, I would recall all those past compliments bestowed upon me in relation to my older kids behavior.  In these reveries butterflies and unicorns would float around and I would weepily say hello to them, ‘I miss you’.  At these defeated moments I kicked myself at the misguided smugness I felt in the past.  Holding my head in shame I would recall those frazzled parents I had seen years past.  Their kids behaving like wild animals, their parental corrections ineffective if heard at all.  I had shook my head at these would be failures, on the inside of course.  I was sure the seen before me meant their parenting skills were inept, inferior to mine.  Certainly they never set ground rules or followed through with anything if their kids could behave this horrifically in public.  Now I had my T and I was being chastised severely by my own reality.

Bringing this boy up is quite the experience.  Everything is louder, bigger and funnier and we enjoy him tremendously.  When he finally went off to school we said three Hail Mary’s and lifted it up to God.  We also said a few prayers for his teachers and offered them a crisp $100 bill on the side.  We were happily surprised that the ‘T’ we all know and manage daily at home is quite the well behaved and focused student in a classroom setting.  Though his stubborn side is not forgotten entirely these teachers have a plan of attack for every personality that lands in front of them.  They’ve got his number and keep his strong will in check.  I’ve asked them to move in with us.

Some kids take medicine, some kids do not.  My oldest would kick back the pink stuff and ask for more.  My middle guy would clamp his mouth shut, fight you and sob.  Finally he would take it after a long hard battle and promptly throw it back up.  T is pretty easy though.  He likes his food from veggies to steak to cookies, it’s all good.  As a toddler he saw spoons filled with medicinal stuff as just another snack.  One time, and thankfully the only time I had a poisoning scare with my kids, was with Mr. T.  He was close to 5 years old.  I was in my office which was also the family room.   He entered our adjacent kitchen and opened a cabinet.  I registered by sound that it wasn’t the normal snack cabinets but one that I usually kept a stash of their unfinished candy and miscellaneous stuff.  He closed the cabinet and went upstairs.  I finished my call and went to the cabinet trying to figure out what he took.  His quick and silent visit was a bit sneaky so I walked upstairs to investigate.  Maybe 5 minutes had elapsed.  I entered the playroom and asked him what he was eating.  He said, ‘nothing,’ with that, ‘we both know I’m lying but I’m going to keep lying,’ look on his face.  I stuck my hand under the pillow and found a box of Children’s Benadryl.  In only a few minutes he popped these tiny melt away pills out of their security peel away foil and began to eat.  He claimed to have had only 2 or 3.  I pretended to know that more were missing from the packet.  He conceded that maybe he had 4 or 5.  I brought him to the bathroom and told him to try to bring it up and called poison control.  They said immediately to not have him throw it up as this process could have far worse of an impact.  They instructed me to watch him carefully but he most likely did not ingest enough to warrant a visit to the ER.  I made the bugger sit down in our family room and in about 20 minutes he was out cold.

I worried over him as I checked his breathing.  As instructed by poison control I woke him up slightly every so often to confirm he was still somewhere inside.  I returned to my work here and there, enjoyed the peace and quiet than kicked myself when I remembered the cause.  T woke up in about 2 hours and was back to his full steam ahead normal, if a little crankier.   After a number of long scare the death out of you talks he seemed to truly understand the magnitude of what he had done.  We also removed medicines from our upper kitchen cabinets contained in what we thought were kid proof seals and bottles.  We learned that kid proof is not T proof.

T has a big fear of the dentist office.  He didn’t at first but it’s evolved.   When something gets in his noggin it festers until it’s an irrational ginormous fixation.  I have stories about haircuts, green flies and dentist visits that will make anyone contemplating parenthood opt for celibacy.

When Mr. T lost his first tooth there were actually two involved.  His lower middles had come in right behind his baby lower middles.  It was an odd sight.  We waited for three months, as the dentist suggested, for the babes to pop out on their own but they did not.  So we had them pulled.  Believe it or not T made it through this experience without too much trouble.  The biggest problem was keeping his arms and legs down as he floated on a cloud of nitric oxide.

Since that time more teeth have loosened up.  I’ve instructed T to eat apples, jiggle them with his tongue and fingers, ‘just wash your hands after!’  He’s been excited about landing more cash via the Toothfairy but not without some lingering trepidation.  Last go around, with the pulled pair of teeth under his pillow, he couldn’t fall asleep.  He called me upstairs on the verge of tears.  ‘What does she look like, how does she get in, she’ll be in my room when I’m all by myself sleeping?’ The idea of some foreign body floating around while he slept was scaring the crap out of him.  It didn’t matter that she visited children all over the world and left money.  He did not want to be alone with this fairy chick.

After some time spent trying to sell the idea of a sweet lovable fairy, I gave up.  I conceded to T bunking up with us while leaving his teeth under the pillow in his room.  My 6 year old could get his cash and sleep soundly knowing the ghostly stranger would not inhabit his space.

Yesterday, as I sat in my office, these days my kitchen, I sent the boys off to wait in the car.  I needed to get them to CCD.  I would like to say I was finishing an effective work email but I was in fact playing a round of Scramble against my niece.  It keeps my brain sharp.  Either case, within 1 minute, which isn’t bad as the fighting often starts before the door closes behind them, I heard T wailing.  I grabbed my keys and walked toward the door.  Simultaneously T rushed through the door crying with blood all over his mouth.  His brother came in behind him laughing his tuckus off.  I didn’t yell out, ‘Oh my baby!’  I’ve been a mom of boys long enough to gauge the extent of injury by the tone and velocity of each cry.  I said something along the lines of, ‘Oh come on, really?’

My older son informed me that he had put a radio station on as he sat in the front seat of the car.  T, who was in the back seat, wanted another station on.  I’m not sure why they bother because once I enter the car I trump all.  Right now they’re stuck listening to early Christmas music because that’s how I roll.

As the story goes, T kept trying to switch the station and his older brother pushed him off.  T then asked his brother to give him his arm.  Why my older son did so without inquiring why is beyond me but at T’s request, he lifted his left arm up and stretched it to the back seat.  My younger devil promptly bit down on his brother’s wrist luckily covered by a sweatshirt.  He’s not a biter, never has been, and it better be the last time.   My older son ripped his arm from T’s big mouth and in the process took a front tooth with him.  Now, I had looked forward to my babies first truly ‘lost’ tooth.  I imagined him walking off the school bus, wearing an endearing holey smile…a plastic container given by the school nurse encompassing one of his little baby teeth cradled in his hand.  I never expected this.

I told him to stop crying, stuck a wet paper towel on it and advised lost teeth do not hurt so stop the theatrics.  I also mentioned after biting his brother he might have some difficulties earning a cash reward from scary Toothfairy.

Last night after we placed the tooth under his pillow… the tooth his older chomped on brother kindly searched out and found on the floor of my car, T asked me about the Toothfairy.  I saw a slight fear still residing behind his eyes but he only questioned whether she lived in a castle, nothing more.  He went to sleep in his own bed and wouldn’t you know that old sucker of a Toothfairy still left him a few bucks.  I guess like me she sees past the bull in a china shop and knows that on the inside, he’s as sweet as a lamb.  Sometimes.

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