I was sitting in the kitchen with my coffee yesterday, having a rare quiet moment, when I heard the tell-tale “ka-chump-wump” followed by a searing screel. Edward shot in the kitchen, both hands clamped down firmly over his mouth, and began hopping up and down frantically.
I threw out my trademarked, “What-on-earth-happened-haven’t-I-told-you-all-not-to-run-in-the-house-why-can’t-you-all-just!” only to watch Edward open his mouth and emit a large pool of bloody gruel. Then, as fast as he opened it, he closes that mouth and, through bloody spittle, wails, “Ma teef! Ma teef! I think they’re gone!”
I jump down to his level, not too terribly panicked because I’ve dealt his 27 other bloody lips, a major tongue laceration, a torn frenulum, etc.
“You’ve got to let mama look!” I implore. “I’ve got to see what’s going on! I’m sure they’re not all gone!”
Then he begins this wild bloody spitting while hopping, clasping his mouth and moaning, “Ma mouf! Ma mouf!” Sophie, our five-month-old Boston terrier puppy, hurries over in some sort of blood lust and lunges at the collecting pools.
It’s hard to see what is actually going on, what with the hopping and spitting and such, but I do discern the absence of one big tooth and two cuts on the lips. I relax. We can handle this. The tooth was slightly loose, and, as I’ve explained before, he’s an early puller anyway.
Joseph and Sue finally run in breathlessly, feigning an air of concerned innocence. “We were, uh, playing and then he fell and I…”
I’ve seen this action before. “You were wrestling, weren’t you?”
“Yes, well, sort of. And my knee kind of knocked against his mouth and sort of, well…I think I might have knocked out some teeth.”
This comment brings Edward to certain level of acceptance and then a fresh concern, “OK but where’s my toof! Where is the toof! Don’t let it be like last time!”
Now I start to worry slightly that he’s actually swallowed the tooth.
“Joseph–run man! Go find that tooth!”
Joseph rushes away and is gone for a few long moments. I apply ice to the toothless mouth, sop up the floor and the child, and attempt a general calm-down. Joseph finally returns, a triumphant look on his face.
“I found it, I found it! It was stuck to the couch.”
Yes, well, that does make sense…
I settle Edward down with an organic high fructose corn syrup-free lemon ice to stop the bleeding, and we bag that tooth for the tooth fairy. Not two seconds after I have him settled, Sue runs in the kitchen, a crazed look on her face, her tiny deft fingers clutching something small and white.
“A tooth! A tooth! I found another tooth, Mama!”
Curled in her tiny palm is what, to the untrained canine dentistry eye, looks like a small, white puppy molar.
Joseph immediately begins to calculate: “Mom, do you think the tooth fairy can tell the difference between a child’s tooth and a dog tooth? I mean, do you think if we put that tooth under his pillow she would bring double the money?”
(Remember, this is a lad who rents wooden bats to naive friends at baseball camp, sells official “tadpole water,” trades worthless McDonald’s trinkets for $5.00 Bakugans, and generally considers himself some sort of Donald Trump of the nine-year-old set.)
“Well, I feel certain the tooth fairy is well-acquainted with the difference between human and canine teeth, but more importantly, do you think it would be honest to try to trick the tooth fairy into leaving something nobody deserves?”
Joseph looks down sheepishly…lesson learned.
And then everyone wants me to take pictures of their mouths!