This morning you woke up with two loose teeth practically falling out of your mouth. One has been loose for a few weeks and has an adult tooth coming up fast behind it. One only started wiggling a few days ago, but is already sticking out horizontally and hanging by a thread.
Today is the day.
When I saw that tooth flop over in your mouth, I got giddy. I may have squealed. I loved pulling my teeth when I was your age! It was disgusting and exciting and slightly destructive – awesome, right??
Every time your father or I attempted to even look closely at your mouth you clamped up and squirmed away. We had to pin you down to even look at the dang teeth. Attempts to touch them resulted in a tantrum befitting a 2 year-old; complete with thrashing, weeping, and wailing. Gross.
It became a test of wills.
The more you pushed us away, the harder we pushed back. If you had expressed any desire or ability to pull the tooth yourself or even work on it, we would have left you to it. But your feeble attempts to even wiggle the tooth combined with your unacceptable behavior, made us dig in.
It was coming down to that tooth or our sanity – both hanging by a thread.
My older sister was in a similar situation when she was your age. Our father was tired of her squeamishness with her loose tooth. He decided it was coming out. He went down to the basement and found his largest, rustiest pair of pliers. He lured my sister to him with the pliers behind his back, but when he asked her to open her mouth, she got wise and bolted. Our father chased her around the house (laughing maniacally, mind you) until she locked herself in a bathroom.
She emerged 30 minutes later holding the tooth in her hand. She was pale and shaky. There was a little blood in the sink and definitely some vomit in the toilet. But, she had done it herself. Victory!
I have shared that story with you numerous times since you first got a loose tooth. I’m hoping it will inspire you. Your aunt did something very difficult for her. She was scared, just like you, but she did it anyway. She was brave.
It’s not working.
Your brother watched you attempt (in vain) to wiggle your teeth this morning and immediately ran to the mirror and started poking at his own teeth. He’s not going to be a problem in this area. My worry is him pulling out teeth too soon.
He’s going to be like me in this regard and I only hope that he has a little more consideration for his sister than I did for mine. I used to sneak up on my squeamish sister and pull my teeth in front of her; pushing a tooth to one side and letting the roots audibly pop. She hated it. It was always satisfying.
Not wanting to pull your teeth is something I can’t identify with. It’s something I don’t know how to handle. I could just let it go, and I’m actually trying to. The tooth will come out eventually no matter what.
But it’s not really the tooth that bothers me so much. It’s the behavior surrounding the whole thing that needs to be addressed. The over-reaction, the tantrums, the fear, the regression. It’s disappointing to see you act this way when faced with a challenge, or something you’re afraid of, or even a little pain.
You are bigger than this. And, just like my sister, someday you will prove it to yourself. Just maybe not with this particular tooth…