Baby, the tooth hurts

Written by Amanda Coop

YOU know how when you’re a child you can’t wait to be an adult, then when you reach adulthood you realise it was actually pretty good being a child?

Upon recent reflection, I’ve decided that I prefer electricity bills and cleaning the shower to many of the trials and tribulations of growing up.

My kids are still a way off puberty, so the wildest ride is yet to come, but a childhood trauma I’d buried deep in my psyche has been back to bite me – figuratively speaking.

As a child I absolutely despised having loose teeth and as a parent I’m not doing much better.

It’s something I hadn’t thought about at all since my own adult choppers had finished coming through at whatever age they do (early teens?). In fact, even after having kids, and counting as their baby teeth came in, I really hadn’t stopped to think that one day those teeth would come out.

I remember the feeling of dread that washed over me the first time my daughter said those words – “I’ve got a wobbly tooth.”

She was so excited. I, on the other hand, broke into a panicky sweat.

Oh no. I’d forgotten all about wobbly teeth. The feeling of them moving in your mouth, the taste of blood. That awful moment where you poke your tongue under your tooth and twist it into a weird position where it feels stuck. The pain when you accidentally bite down on something with the loose tooth. Yuck.

I hated it all, except for the eventual visit from the tooth fairy. I could never bring myself to pull out my baby teeth, no matter how loose they were. Just the thought made me queasy.

So, they hung around to haunt me for what felt like forever.

Well, as it turns out I had seen nothing. My eldest child has the loose teeth from hell (sounds like a D-grade horror movie, right?) Hers take months to come out. She recently, finally, lost a tooth that had been loose for a solid year. And she’d spent the entire year taunting me with it. Pushing her face up to mine while she wiggled the tooth around with her tongue. “Get that thing away from me!” I’d screech, as though it was a giant rat or cockroach.

But while she enjoyed watching me squirm, she, like me, couldn’t bring herself to pull it out. So, it stayed in. For month upon month. When we moved to a new house at the beginning of the year we had a conversation about whether the tooth fairy would find us in our new home because surely that tooth was finally ready to come out …

Eight whole painful months later, it did. I had finally decided the only way we were getting it out was with the dentist’s help (the adult tooth had grown in under it) and booked her in. And, like a miracle, the stupid thing finally came out.

We rejoiced, because she could eat solid food again and because I wouldn’t have to watch and/or hear about it ever again. Well, until the next one gets loose. Oh, and there is still my son who hasn’t lost any baby teeth yet.

I’m jealous of the parents whose kids pull their own teeth out the moment they get loose. Perhaps even more so than I am of the ones whose kids clean their rooms without the need for threats and bribery.

Honestly, it’s like pulling teeth.