Tuesday, May 18, 2010

When The Tooth Fairy Comes Too Early

It hasn't quite been 48 hours since some older, bigger kid at the playground bone-headedly leapt off the top of a play structure directly onto my daughter, resulting in one of my daughter's two front baby teeth being knocked clean out of her mouth.

My daughter is now fine.

I am still verklempt. 

I'm sad that the smile I found the most beautiful in the entire world has suddenly been altered.  I'm grateful, though, that it hasn't been altered permanently; a quick housecall to our amazing pediatric dentist confirmed there's nothing to worry about.  I'm upset that I couldn't stop the accident from happening.  And I'm angry at the other kid, even though I didn't see her, nor the accident itself.  I was maybe fifteen feet away, back turned, minding my other child and talking to another mom.

My husband, who was standing right there when it happened, could nevertheless do nothing to stop the stupid decision the kid made, nor reverse gravitty.  Like me, he was furious at the other kid in the moment, as well as her mom, whom he had to track down.   But now that our resilient child has had a visit from the tooth fairy and become a celebrity at preschool, showing off her gap-toothed smile and brandishing a note and cold, hard cash from the aforementioned tooth fairy, my husband is calmer.  Last night, he even made a joke about hiring an attorney to beat up the other kid.  Me, I'm not laughing yet.

But I am adjusting to the new reality.  And taking comfort that things could've been worse but aren't.  A rushed trip to the emergency room right after the incident confirmed my little girl had no concussion.  She doesn't even have a fat lip or a visible scratch outside her mouth.  It's really quite remarkable:  baby teeth are designed to pop out, and this one simply did.

It just happened a year-plus sooner than expected, and in a way that wasn't the natural course of things.  So instead of me cooing over my daughter's adorable new gaping grin, and cheerfully telling tooth fairy tales, I've had to manufacture my own smile and my good cheer.  But the day after the accident made one thing abundantly clear:  life goes on, and my little girl isn't missing her tooth; she's too busy having fun.

Her attitude is helping mine.  In this case, I freely admit my kid is acting like the adult, while I'm the one still a bit sullen and sad ("She'll go through kindergarten and maybe more missing a front tooth,"), and self-reproaching ("If only I hadn't suggested we go to the park Sunday afternoon ... if only I'd seen that other kid and said something before it happened.").  Other parents are helping too.  Tales of accidents and missing teeth and even broken limbs are showing up on Facebook and in my email box, as well as reassurance that a)this too will pass, and b)nothing can dim my daughter's cuteness.

Today, as my happy girl trotted off to school clutching that tooth fairy note to show any teacher or kid she didn't get to yesterday, I felt at least some of the icky emotions falling away ... and I started to embrace that this is, after all, part of the gig:  stuff happens you can't stop.  You can only be there to scoop them up and give them the love they need to heal.  Given my daughter's get-on-with-life attitude -- which kicked in pretty fast after the initial shock, trauma and bleeding were over -- I gotta think Late Blooming Mom and Dad are doing something right.  She's fine.  So we will be, too.


William V. Madison said...

Remind me to put you in contact with my mother, who enjoys nothing better than regaling young parents with horror stories of Stuff That Happens to Small Children (Mostly to Her Own).

After only a few minutes in her company, she will persuade you either
a) that children are ingeniously constructed to survive mishaps; or
b) that she was a terrible parent, while you are a very good one.

In any case, it would take more than a missing tooth to make your daughter anything less than adorable.

Bobby said...

The same incident happened to my daughter last year. However, she was so upset because of the accident. Unlike your daughter, she wasn't happy with the gap in her teeth. Thankfully, the best dentist in Maryville, TN fixed her teeth. The topnotch services he offered as our family dentist are a real assurance that his dependable dentistry (Maryville, TN) practice remains a huge help for our family.

Thanks for the interesting post, Late Blooming Mom!

Anonymous said...

As a veteran lunch mommy, I can say with authority that your baby girl is a rock star in her world. Losing one of your front teeth earlier than anyone else is gold, especially with a war story to tell! "There I was, on the playground..." Brilliant! Meanwhile, sorry for the angst. I would have killed the kid who decked her!