You know when a kid falls flat on their face and you have to consciously make an effort NOT to show the horror on yours? Or when you have to wipe your kid’s butt and you try with all of your might NOT to not crinkle your nose in disgust? Well, that’s the feeling I get every time a kid shows me their loose tooth or even worse… lost tooth! It takes every fiber in my being to smile and NOT run away. Teeth gross me out like nothing else.
When teeth are intact, I can handle them. I don’t love them and mostly I don’t even like them. Honestly, if they are white enough and straight enough, I find peace in the fact that I never have to notice them again. I get it, they are fairly necessary and of course I would prefer chatting with someone WITH teeth, at least someone over the age of one, but that being said, I just don’t really like them. When it comes to teeth, I can totally relate to Green Eggs and Ham… not in the mouth, not in a hand, I don’t like teeth Sam I Am… EVEN if it’s in the palm of a very cute little hand.
So let’s talk stages of teeth. These sweet little babies, and I use the term sweet semi-losely, have gummy smiles that could melt even the most frigid of people. Their little giggles and drool are too precious to handle. But then, these itty bit teeth emerge from their gums and the drool gets gross, sometimes stinky, and almost always out of control. But even still… CUTE! Before you know it, you have an adorable little smile that you can’t get enough of. And that’s it, the beginning of the end. At least in terms of cuteness when it comes to teeth anyway.
“Mama, I have a loose tooth!” To which we all say something like, “Really? Which one? Show me?” Then they give it give it a wiggle to show you that it is really loose. You probably won’t believe them right off the bat, so you (being a parent hopefully), place your finger upon the tooth in question and wiggle it. Still, no real confirmation. Is it actually wiggling or is it just the skin on your finger moving back and forth? Now you take your finger and your thumb and grip the tooth to wiggle it. Confirmation! A wiggly tooth.
Before you know it, the tooth is quite literally hanging by a thread. They twist it and flip it and even stick their tongue under it. I can still distinctly remember doing that myself and I can recall the feeling of the sharp under edge of a tooth on my tongue. Welp… That’s where I lose it. I just can’t. However, now that I am a parent, I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard spot. What to do? Do you pull it? Do you encourage them to pull it? Do you leave it so you can look at its dangling awesomeness for another week longer? Well I don’t. I give my kids apples and cringe as they eat them. I tell them to wiggle it and twist it while I turn my back, never so happy to do dishes.
Then it’s done. They did it! The tooth is out and they bring it to you in all of its glory AND grossness. There it is. A little pearly white with a jagged, hollow base, and covered with blood. You must smile! They smile, but now that sweet smile has a bloody little hole in it. Still you must smile and put on your big girl tooth fairy pants to handle it like a boss.
Before you know it, the gums have recovered and they have a new smile you have fallen in love with. That is, until you spot a tiny bit of white that starts forcing its way back into their cute little grin that you just got accustomed to. This time it is not nearly as cute as when they were babies. This time it is a tooth that is far too large for their little mouth and on to top it off, the tooth has this serrated edge that cuts its way through the gums. What’s worse is that it stays serrated for far. too. long.
Now, I have not yet had the opportunity to bear witness to the loss of a molar, other than mine and thankfully I have no recollection of that, but I can feel the panic arise just thinking about it. I am honestly dreading that day for a myriad of reasons, but mostly it is the impending hurdle of smiling through what will be a top 10 most repulsive moments for me. You see, I am painfully aware that my face looks like an ugly cross between the cringe face emoji and the wide eyed emoji when my kids fall and I have never been able to smile through butt wiping, so for now… until the day comes that I am faced with the lost king of repugnant teeth, I am going to just pray for courage AND a game face because let’s face it… a poker face I do not have.