Tuesday, April 26, 2011


On March 31, 2011, Ginger lost her first tooth. Here's the story.

One day in May 2008 I took Hazel and Ginger to the park across the street from our apartment building in Brooklyn, NY. It was late in the afternoon, the Friday before Memorial Day. Ginger was 16 months old and a steady but still new walker. She needed help with a few things at the park, but liked to climb and explore independently, so I stayed to the side but kept an eye out.

At one point, she toddled over to a metal ladder and I moved towards her to help her climb up it. But before I could reach her, she tripped, fell forward, and hit her face on the bottom rung. The rest of the memory is held in tunnel vision.

There was a lot of blood in her mouth, which I frantically tried to swab and wipe with my shirt. Which is when I saw that her two front teeth were gone. Totally gone, no sign of them. She was screaming. I leaned over, scouring the ground for two pearly whites, but none were there. I hadn't brought wipes, water, diaper bag, stroller - nothing, since we were just across the street. Across the street and down a massive flight of stairs, which I was now running up at top speed thanks to adrenaline and a kind park dad who had grabbed Hazel for me.

We got home, sweating, freaking out. I cleaned her mouth and gave her a cold drink. I called the pediatrician on call (the office was closed), and he told me to go to the hospital, hoping we could get an x-ray and antibiotics at the very least. I could barely breathe. I called Ed and arranged to pick him up at a subway station near the hospital.

Skipping unnecessary details, the wait was long at the hospital, it being a holiday weekend, and by the time she was seen, anyone with dental experience had gone home, including the only person who could give us a dental x-ray. Which meant we had to wait a very long three days to find out Ginger's dental fate. Three days of maternal guilt and torment so horrific I never even mentioned it on the blog, much less took a picture of the injured orifice. But early the next week we got an x-ray and the good news: her teeth had just been pushed up - all the way up - but they would come back down in a week or two. Two warnings: her adult teeth might have small marks, and she might lose her baby teeth early.
Which is why it wasn't that surprising when she reported a loose tooth about two months ago. We monitored it closely, but it seemed stable at slightly-loose. Then it started to turn a little dark, and hang a little crooked. On March 30, when she brushed her teeth for bed, it started to bleed and truly seemed to be hanging by a thread. I would have pulled it out right then except that school pictures were the very next day, so instead I coached her on holding it in place with her tongue while posing the perfect smile. But, as with the first part of the story, Murphy's Law prevailed. It fell out as she brushed her morning teeth, and she had a big old gap to flash at the camera.

We put it in a baggie to take for show-and-tell. How many other 3-to-4 year-olds have a tooth to show? Here's me, Hazel and Poppy inspecting the tooth, as taken by Ginger.
I asked her what she thought the tooth fairy might bring, and took my cue from that - two quarters and a Hershey's Kiss. And. Just a few days earlier Hazel had received the book Silverlicious, about a girl losing her tooth and writing notes back and forth with the Tooth Fairy, trying to get the right reward. It has a surprisingly charming end.

Kinda like this post.

1 comment:

Shells said...

E is going to be so jealous. He keeps telling us he has a loose tooth, but that is purely his imagination. H lost her teeth early too, but that was because she got her teeth at 3 months old, freaky. Love the gapped tooth smile!

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