I still remember the moment I noticed, when he was almost three months old, that Ky was sprouting his first tooth. My first thought (after googling and seeing that some babies don’t even start cutting biters in their first year) was ‘Yes, my kid is ahead of the game, suckers!’ Never did I even once think he would start losing his precious teeth before the other kids his age.
Bu karma is a… very good friend of the tooth fairy apparently. This time last week I was in the kitchen, Ky was playing on his toy truck in front of the TV, and I could feel from where I was standing that something hit the floor… hard. Instantly peeved, I rushed to see what precious thing was broken this time, only to see Ky lying face down on the floor, silent.
You know that first wail that kids do, where the longer they hold their breath before the sound comes out, then the more pain they are in? Yea? Well between the time his teeth hit the floor and the time I picked him up and started pacing, his mouth was just wide open. Then he changed gears, and started hollering. That’s when I saw blood coming from his mouth and lost it. I’m going to be completely honest with you. My first thought was ‘How long will I be in prison if I take him to the hospital and they think I’m abusing him?’ I almost started crying too, then I remembered that he was in actual pain and losing blood.
By the time I got cotton balls and cleaned up his mouth a little, Ky was calming down from the initial shock, and I got him to drink some Panadol that I didn’t have time to read dosage and measure (I would later in the day be happy I overdosed him so he could sleep). When the happy juice started kicking in, he let me rinse his mouth with some water, and I saw that the blood was coming from the gums above his top front teeth. The real shocker was seeing that one of his upper incisors was completely exposed, but hanging in there. I didn’t even touch it, for fear of it falling out. The two teeth next to it were also loose, and suddenly my biggest concern at that point shifted from prison time, to the horror of my son starting school in three months with missing teeth.
So I decided to risk the jail time and seek medical help. A pediatric dental office is walking distance from my house, so I literally just grabbed the kid, my purse, his health card, and ran out (I would later realize that I left my debit card and only had $1000 cash on me, when the health card can only cover 80% of any given expense, but that’s for another blog post about why me naav nuh sense).
So we got to the dentist out on the main road, only to realize they’re closed. I desperately started calling people in the area asking for dentist recommendations, and here is where the more experienced moms started telling me to go home and let nature run its course with the tooth, because there is nothing the dentist can do. What did my panic-stricken, frighten Friday ass do?
So I used maps and found a dentist in New Kingston who said they could see him without an appointment. Here I was in this very nice dental office in New Kingston (in my yard clothes) with a very nice dentist telling me, after she did an x-ray of his mouth, that the only thing I could do was wait and see it it would stabilize on its own (if I could prevent him from exacerbating it). By this time Ky was having the time of his life playing in the office, ready to knock the damn tooth out for good. Disappointed, broke and dejected, I did what any forward thinking mother would do. I went and took several passport-sized pictures of him.
So that was last Friday. The dentist said I had to give him soft foods for at least a week, so I came home and made soup, and gingerly fed to to him. I saw what looked like a little gum growth the next morning so I thought there was hope. By Sunday Ky had enough of the baby food crap and started shouting abusive words like “Chicken!” and “Dumpling!” at me, so I started chancing tiny bits of foods, and pre-chewing solids and feeding him. (It’s really not that gross if you watch Discovery Channel).
We were doing well, and I even starting planning how I was going to prove my superior motherhood instincts to the lesser moms, especially my boss who had traumatized me with a picture of her daughter at age three with no front teeth.
Then on Wednesday I’m working, and I see my son coming from my neighbour’s kitchen with a half-eaten bag of plantain chips. I knew, in that very moment, that it was over. As he excitedly announced “Mommy! chits!” I could see the tooth just billowing in the wind. By that night Ky was dancing around it with his tongue, and I figured it was just a choking hazard at that point. It had to go.
So here I am a week later, looking at my son and trying very hard to warm up to the new look. He knows his reflection looks different, too, but thanks to kiddies’ TV, I had to beg him to let me snap that pic before he put it under the pillow for the ‘two faiwy!’ to get it. (It’s now lost under the bed by the way, and he put his $20 reward right back in the saving tin that I stole it from).
In reflection, the entire week of events and anxiety was much ado about nothing. I don’t necessarily regret taking him to the dentist, even if it was more to calm me down that him, because he really enjoyed it, and it relieved my mom guilt big time. But several lessons were learned this week:
1. Shit happens. And the police who give you jail time for childhood accidents don’t work on Fridays.
2. Children’s Panadol is a magic potion. I even took some for my headache and it worked.
3. Paediatric dentistry is a scam. (My editor told me so, but I just had to learn the hard way).
4. Kids are pretty darn tough. Homeboy came through like a champ. I was just being that guy.
I also learned online that some kids have temporarily lisps when they lose their front teeth, so rigth now I’m thust gratheful that he doeth’nt thound lithe this.