On his cheek. We had Brown Cow. Then, Rollie said his tooth was wiggly and he wanted me to pull it. We pretend to go get the pliers and pull his tooth. We threaten to tie a string around his tooth, tie the other to the doorknob, and then slam the door shut.
Then we do the delicate dance, the one that parents and children have done for thousands of years – Indeed, I am sure that some Kid in a cave had the same exact experience a millennia ago.
“Okay, Mom. Pull it.”
“You want me to pull it? Are you sure?”
“Yes. Just pull it.”
“Okay, tell me if it hurts, okay? Come over here into the light where I can see it.”
I wiggle the tooth with two fingers. I am scared to pull hard.
“Mom! I can do it. Stop! I don’t want you to pull it.”
“Okay, it’s bleeding a little, so take this paper towel. I don’t want you bleeding on my couch, you hear me?”
“I KNOW, Mama!”
I start unloading the dishwasher. Rollie comes back in.
“Mama, I think it is really loose. It is ready to come out. It is coming out now. Mama, pull it.”
“Okay, give me that paper towel.”
Todd and Uncle Wade come into the kitchen to watch with interest. We all stand under the light of the Kitchen. I fold over the paper towel and grip Rollie’s tooth between my two fingers, covered in paper towel to cut down on slippage. I tilt his head back so i can see his mouth in the light.
I wiggle the tooth, back and forth, front to back.
Rollie screams and bats my hands away.
He goes back into the den to watch Harry Potter. Todd and Wade follow him. I continue to do dishes.
I hear Todd say, “ugh.” Rollie comes back in. He just bares his teeth to me, then says, “See?” His tooth is bent forward perpendicular to his gums.
Then I think, that bitch is ready to come out.
I grab the paper towel again. I wiggle front and back. I wiggle side to side. Todd and Wade come in and are looking over my shoulder, and they are cringing as I wiggle, and grab again, and I ask Rollie if I’m hurting.
I think for a minute.
I twist the tooth.
A small bloody tooth between my two fingers, white and red in the bright light of the kitchen. I lay it in my other palm, so small. My baby’s tooth – much different than the two that came home from school in plastic bags. My baby’s tooth.
“I lost my tooth! My tooth. Tiller! My tooth came out! The Tooth Fairy’s coming tonight!”
Truth be told? I have an iron stomach, and blood doesn’t bother me. But that little crack of my baby boy’s tooth coming out of the socket? I felt that one in my bones.
Sure, he lost two bottom baby teeth already. He lost them both at school, though. Not here in my kitchen. So, this is kinda a first.
And my baby? Now he really looks like a little boy, with a gap-toothed smile and the inability to say his esses without sounding like Voldemort when he gets all snaky.