Real Life Mama: Fighting for the tooth

Do you remember your tooth-pulling stage when you were a kid? Man, I do. If a tooth so much as wiggled, I was up all night that same night cranking it and working it to get it out. I was determined, and nothing would stop me. There was no patience — shocking, I know. Ha! I needed it out NOW.

So how in the world did I birth this child who resists teeth pulling? Like, seriously, it is the worst for her. About a week ago, one of her two front teeth was loose. I mean, it was pretty wiggly.

One Saturday night, a neighborhood friend and I talked Reagan into letting us try to pull it. We have one girl known for pulling teeth in our hood. She’s the best of the best. But when she tried, Reagan pulled back too quickly, and it was a no-go. Reagan was not having it.

After a couple of hours of trying to convince her to let us try again, we finally gave up. Unfortunately, or heck, maybe fortunately, I don’t even know, a few days later, Reagan took off out the front door to the bus stop and lost her footing on our front stoop, falling directly on her face and her two front teeth. Quickly, it turned into a “Mommy will drive you to school day” as I scooped her up and took her inside to clean her up.

She was a trooper. Scuffed up face and all, she actually kind of liked her “battle wound.” This child would not even let me put healing cream on it because she thought it made her look tough. Her confidence completely floors me! I seriously have so much to learn from her.

While the fall didn’t knock out her loose tooth, it did make the one right next to it wiggly as well. So now, here we are with not one but two wiggly teeth.

Ironically, the girls had their dentist cleaning the next day. I was secretly hoping they would just pull the first really loose tooth that was hanging by a thread. Instead, probably better for my bank account as they probably would have charged me for an extraction, the dentist recommended tying dental floss around it and just pulling the knot tight.

So, that night, we did what every good parent would do, we Googled it. Sure enough, there were videos of this working all over. Reagan and I studied it, and then she was finally brave enough to try it. But she wanted to pull the knot tight. FINE. Let’s just get this first tooth out!

Except for one thing, she didn’t pull it tight enough or quick enough… Instead of a freed tooth, we had a too-tight knot wrapped around a barely hanging-on tooth. And she was done. It was late; we were all exhausted trying to talk her into it in the first place.

As I was consoling her and wiping away her tears, I couldn’t help but notice how close my hands were to the dental floss just hanging from this extremely loose tooth. And hey, I had watched the videos, if you do it quick and hard enough, it just pops out. The kid doesn’t feel a thing.

Well guys, mom of the year is here to report that it doesn’t always work that way. Without her permission or knowledge, I discretely grabbed those strings and tugged. And guess what, the tooth still didn’t come out.

Oh, but the rage in Reagan did. She was so mad at me! All trust – any trust in me – flew out the window. She was angry and hurt. And I swear I was just trying to help.

Eventually, she calmed down enough to let us cut the long string of dental floss off so she could go to sleep (although we weren’t able to get a small piece lodged underneath her tooth). After apologies and explanations, she did at least wrap her arms around me in a bear hug, but she still was not over what I had attempted to do. And, of course, I felt terrible.

The next day, that girl went to breakfast at school and took one bite of some banana breakfast bar and pop – out came the first loose tooth – with a little piece of floss and all. Of course, it did.

Whatever, at least it was out! And she was so proud and couldn’t wait to show me.

But guys, that second loose tooth, I have no chance at it. And while I don’t understand how one cannot just get it done and over with, I think I have learned my lesson. If she is willing to wait for it to just fall out, then so am I. You do you, baby girl, I will just keep the Tooth Fairy on standby.

Sometimes the hardest part of being a mama is waiting for the tooth to come out.

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.



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