Friday, July 22, 2011

Life intrudes.

I'm struggling with about 10 (literally) thorny problems here at the moment; some local, some much larger than that, all of them requiring my full brain- simultaneously. And it's hot.

So, of course, a great deal of my brain (and body) capacity is being devoted to just not exploding. Annoying the way that works.

Sitting at the computer, fingers clacking away on the keyboard as I crank out earth-shaking words the world desperately needs- Smidgen comes up the ladder and right up to me, obviously demanding attention. Using all available restraint, since interrupting me- while the keyboard is clacking- is something she knows is really, really, really going to cause trouble- I turn to her: and 100% of the brain shifts, dropping everything. There's a tear, and a wad of pink tissue paper she's holding to her mouth-

I'm a daddy. Just am. It's a fact; my kids are the most important thing in the world.

I look in her eyes, and it's clear she's not in dire distress.

"Is it your tooth?" I ask.

"Uh-huh. Look." And pulling the tissue away, there is the loose tooth she's been showing off for weeks- now protruding at a right angle - but very definitely still attached.

"Mom says you have to get it out."

Oh, really. Spice is passing the buck. And Smidgen is looking at me - like I will, of course, handle this.

At the speed of Google, my brain searches all - and I mean all- possible ways of weaseling out of this, and can find none that will not diminish me in Smidgen's eyes. Trapped.

My fingers don't look like useful tools here, the second incisor is tiny, tapering, and slippery; and the adjacent gums tender. Trying to grab and yank would have way too much trauma potential, for all involved.

Pliers? Oh, really not. My internal reference database on tooth extraction comes up with Mark Twain's amusing version from Tom Sawyer- the thread around the tooth, and a quick yank. If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly. I call for thread.

That, at least, Spice provides. Tying a slip-knot noose in thread is tricky enough, and takes 3 tries before I have one I trust to do the job. Like chopping the head off a chicken- this is not a job you want to have to do twice.

Smidgen, who cries when mean people break toys in cartoons, is a rock in any real crisis; she stands steady and trusts me to do the right thing. Hard to explain how much that matters.

I manage, with huge fat fingers, to slip the thread around what I think is the right place on the miniscule slippery bit of ivory; snug the noose up, and while chatting with Smidgen like we're not quite ready to do this yet, my hind brain pulls the trigger, surprising both Smidgen and I, and the yank happens...

No tooth. What? Did the noose slip off? Tooth fly across the room? I'm going to have to do this again??

Surprise, the thread noose just snipped through the tiny remaining bit of gum tissue, and the tooth, now out, is still there, slightly stuck to her lower lip. Got it.

All the trauma, imaginary in any case, is over, now it's all pure fun.

I wouldn't be surprised if this photo comes back to haunt her, in her teenage years. What you have here is a very goofy-looking kid, with swimming-pool hair, and a nice new gap in the teeth. It is pretty distorted by the "close-up-clown-nose" effect of the camera. I assure you, this is a child who has repeatedly drawn "what a beautiful little girl!" comments from total strangers. No, really. Hard to tell here, I have to admit- though as daddy, I can still see the beautiful little girl while looking at the Huck Finn Grin.

Off she goes.

And for today- I'm a success.

That'll keep me going a while.

(ps. If you wanna see the beautiful version; here's one.)


Aimee said...

Yay! Tooth extraction can be difficult. I've never tried the string method myself, but most of the success stories involve this method, so I'm keeping some dental floss handy.

Unknown said...

She IS a beautiful girl- gapped toothed and all!

Berto said...

Really nice, Greenpa. Thanks.

mikel paul said...


Now that's what I call livin.

life without the bullshit.


The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

That's what Daddys are for! :)

Awesome smile!

Anonymous said...

Poetry, in fact. Lovely cadence. Lovely heart.

all on 4 said...

That was really a very interesting story. You are a brave Daddy and your brain really runs like the Google. Well done!
I wish Best of luck to you and your entire family.

Dentist Fort Lauderdale said...

Your daughter looks really very sweet. I understand how painful it is to see your own child in pain. I must say that you have done a great job.

E said...

You can also tie the thread earlier and let kids yank away themselves.

Rev. Peter Doodes said...

It's one of those magic moments neither one of you will ever forget... In the future that story will travel down the years Greenpa!

mary ellen said...

Miss you Greenpa. Hope all is well with you and the beautiful girl.

Colorado Springs dental implants said...

She is so sweet. I'm just loving her smile.

Spice said...

Just FYI Daddy/Greenpa. She has another loose tooth... Mwahahaha