'you got the teeth of the hydra upon you'
Over the past two weeks, my boys have been losing teeth like mini-flyweights pitted against vicious warriors of dental destruction hellbent on leaving their smiles riddled with black holes. Nearly every other day, one of them comes home from school, grinning a scarecrow grin, and clutching a tiny plastic treasure chest containing a random molar or insular incisor they've plucked from their gums earlier in the day.
Last Sunday, my oldest came up to me and asked that I hold out my hand. One might think living in a house dominated by males, his request would be a yellow light warning cautioning me about what fate awaits, but I sometimes forget. It was in that realm of forgetfulness that I found a bloodied molar deposited in my palm, and a gap-toothed boy smiling in front of me. "Oh, my God! Was this tooth even loose? You haven't even said anything about having yet another loose tooth! Did you just pull this tooth out for pleasure?!" I cried. My dismay over this perceived dental mutilation was met with a nonchalant, "Yeah, it was loose. It was buggin' me, so I just pulled on it and there it is." He figured he'd get rid of the right upper molar to match the loss of the left one a few days earlier.
I still don't buy it. There's a part of me that thinks the kid simply has no fear and is going totally horror movie on me when I'm not watching. I also think he's trying to pull his younger brother into the act by goading him to go toe to toe - make that tooth for tooth - in the Tooth Fairy racket they apparently have brewing. This racket would be pretty ingenious if the Tooth Fairy wasn't such a slacker lately. It's high time for a performance review around here. You miss rewarding a kid for their missing baby tooth once, I'm going to look over the top of my glasses and maybe shake my head at you a little bit. Miss them a second day and I'm putting a write-up in your personnel file. Standards, Tooth Fairy. We have them for a reason.
Back to point, which is my oldest kid is an apparent dental desperado. Consider the following evidence that was presented here last Friday evening, then feel free to weigh in:
My youngest son is in the process of losing his top two teeth. At the bus stop last Wednesday, he stuck a finger in his mouth, flicked at the flapping shutters these two wiggly teeth had become, and announced he'd return home at least one tooth lighter. True to his word, I met him at his stop seven hours later and he produced his tiny plastic treasure chest laden with dental bounty. The other loose tooth remained intact, yet as loose as a two-bit whore (no offense to any actual two-bit whores out there), dangling precariously like a mountain climber slipping on the ragged ridge of his gum line. That night, and for the next two, my little jack o' lantern would work at dislodging it from the grip his mouth was keeping on it, but to no avail.
By Friday night, the tooth appeared to be on its last legs, and the two of us stood in front of the bathroom mirror and tried to finish the job, by now rather bloody, with as little drama as possible. Repeated offers to yank the tooth were met with sideways glances that made me feel nefarious. The debate and the angst had raged for quite some time when he nixed as "too owie" Tool Man's suggestion of a string, a doorknob, and one swift swipe.
That's when my oldest, Dr. Evil, D.D.S., jumped in to help.
"Lemme talk to the boy," he sneered. Getting down on his knees to be eye-to-eye with his younger brother, the loose tooth veteran of the house grabbed the other's shoulders and said, "Kid, you just gotta live through the pain. Just buck up and bite it back! That's just part of life, man."
Apparently, a questionable past with the Tooth Fairy has transformed my once docile boy into Mickey Goldmill from Rocky, a whiskey-riddled poet, or a jaded cynic to life's dark shadows. At 11 years old. I don't know what these two kids of mine are doing when they're playing in the basement, out from my watchful yet easily distracted eye, but for the briefest of moments, I wondered if perhaps they weren't re-enacting one of the dental torture scene from Marathon Man, but minus the Nazis.
(Oh, and I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Sheesh, Fadkog! Don't you have any topic relevant examples that aren't more than 30 years old, what with your 'Rocky' this and your 'Marathon Man' that." The answer is no. You should see my DVR. It's littered with movies and programs I recorded as far back as nine months ago, for heaven's sake. It's not like I'm sitting around watching TV and keeping current on all your new-fangled talk box programs!)
So what do you think? Does this 'buck up and deal' attititude explain the nonchalant way in which my oldest is always handing over bloodied bits of his once intact grill to me? Or! OR! Do you think it could be rooted in the habit my Tool Man has of depositing the boys' teeth in empty prescription bottles tucked in his sock drawer, making me feel like I'm sleeping with a serial killer each time a child loses a tooth?
(I know. It's gross. I've made note of it and stuck that tidbit in the Tooth Fairy's personnel file, too).
Whatever the case may be, the youngest still has his lone top tooth flapping in the breeze. Personally, I think it's cowering in fear, concerned my oldest will come around and kick it in. We'll just have to see how long it can hold on.