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by Jessica Ehlers, October 4, 2011
It’s funny because a week ago he told me his tooth was loose. I tried to wiggle it and shrugged since I did not find it offering any give whatsoever. He had directed me to the wrong tooth, it turns out. A few days later, he showed me- no mom, over Here. And this one wiggled. Bottom middle left. I am sure it has a name but I am not a dentist.
So today he started to freak because it wasn’t just loose but actually pointing out in front, like an arrow. And then of course, some blood. I told him he could leave it and wait for it to fall out by itself or he could pull it if it felt ready. We had discussed the Tooth Fairy and how she finds the tooth under a pillow and she brings cool stuff. Sometimes money, sometimes toys. The little man looked at me and said, “Mom, I want her to bring me candy and a little sister.” Ahem.
I am sitting in my rocker with him in my lap. The same rocker I rocked him to sleep when he was a little babe, the same rocker we nursed in. He reached into his mouth. He said, “Ok.” And he pulled it out. It was a little bloody but it isn’t like he needed a wrench. It was time.
The process of fear of something new and then panic about it and then acceptance and then dealing with it and still further feeling so proud of the outcome was pretty awesome to watch. Personally, sometimes I flail in the panic for a long time before coming to acceptance and doing the next right thing.
In the little man’s case, the next right thing was decorating the envelope for the Tooth Fairy and drawing pictures of he and I on it and inscribing the words “My Tooth” so the fairy wouldn’t confuse it for something other than his very first tooth.
Being a mom gives you lots of opportunities to be grateful. Today I am grateful. The seasons are changing. Our community has been riddled with pain so I say a prayer for those who are suffering. I don’t know how to even talk about it because this community is so small, I have ties to all sides. It is a strange place to be, here in the middle. The middle is an okay place to be, though- it turns out. They tell me if you stay in the middle, you’re less likely to be picked off by wolves. Make of that what you will.
And three cheers for my boy, who faced his fear. Let’s follow his lead.