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The Tale of The Toothless Wonder

When I was 8 and my brother was 9 the two of us thought it would be a smart idea to wander across the street to go play in a newly constructed Safeway parking lot. He was riding my bike and I was running along side him and we were racing. I was showing off to him how fast I could run, and he was showing off how well he could pop a wheelie.

Being the observant children we were, we neglected to notice the newly planted trees in our private concrete jungle were being supported with invisible wire. I barely jumped over a wire holding a tree up and avoided doing a face plant but my brother, a nano second behind me, wasn't as lucky. The bike hit the wire, he flipped over the wire and landed face first into the pavement. The bike flew into the air and landed on his head, driving his face further into the concrete.

I ran home immediately, across the street, in a state of panic and shock, the only mental image I had was my brother looking up at me and his face covered in blood and strangely toothless. That's right. I abandoned my injured brother to go tell my father who was at home unaware his dental bills were about to become astronomical.

I had just barely blubbered out our tale of sorrow to my dad when my brother walked through the door, annoyed with me for ditching him and leaving him to walk the mangled bike home by himself, along with a fistful of two broken teeth.

My dad leaned in to examine my brother's broken smile and cursed loudly upon discovering the teeth he had lost were his two permanent front teeth.

I don't really know what happened after that, there was a cup full of milk and talk of saving roots and all of a sudden I was left alone as my dad shuffled my big brother out the door only to return hours later, grim faced and unhappy.

One tooth was saved, the other still missing.

Almost thirty years later and my brother has had plates and falsies and finally an implant and while his smile may be intact now, he'll always be the toothless wonder to me and the dental annoyance to my parents.

I will always be the girl who maintains her innocence in the debacle and for the record, I totally won that race and not by default either.

I've carried that incident with me all these years (but no guilt dammit, because I'm INNOCENT) and when my kids were born I made sure to safe guard their teeth so that no one would grow up with the scars of having gap toothed smiles as adults.

So far, 14 years into this parenting gig, I've been successful. Fric and Frac have all their pearly whites and it's my hopes all their adult teeth will remain in their heads until I'm no longer responsible for paying their dental bills.

But then came Jumby.

My sweet Jumbster. The boy with so many medical problems, dental care, while important, is the least of our concerns.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday was a holiday Monday here in Alberta and I spent the entire day kvetching about how my children were driving me insane. Fric spent the day singing as loudly as her lung capacity would allow in her bedroom, Frac spent the day yelling at her to shut up and Jumbster went from one hard surface to the next to find new and exciting surfaces to bash his head and feet into.

He never bangs his face hard, more like a gentle bump and I wasn't overly concerned about him hurting himself because he never has in the past.

That right there was FORESHADOWING. High school lit for the win.

At six I went into the kitchen to make supper. Jumbster was kicking the stove with his feet and I bent over to tickle him and moved him out of my way so I could start cooking. He was whole at this point, everything intact. He was a happy little head banger indeed.

45 minutes later, I was standing over him, freaking out because somehow, through the course of making dinner and feeding his older siblings my little man knocked out his front tooth. His single adult tooth on the bottom. He didn't just knock that sucker out, he ripped the whole thing out, root intact and everything.

The boy doesn't even know he has hands let alone fingers that work. It's like the tooth fairy shot out from no where, grabbed a pair of pliers and pried that tooth out herself. Mystery of all mysteries, I tell ya.

Commence my parental freak out.

My dog, the ever helpful mutt he is, was helpful in locating the tooth and was politely licking it clean when I pried it from his mouth. At least Jumby wasn't choking on it. Small favours and all.

Maybe I can make a necklace with it?

I spent the next hour on the phone with every medical and dental emergency clinic I could reach. Jumbster spent the next hour laughing his head off because look Mom! There's this wicked cool hole in my face and boy does it feel funny!

With one doctor after another, I spoke of Jumbster's complicated medical history, and it all boiled down to the same things: Jumby's health, the lack of anesthetic, holiday hours, location and it all culminated into the perfect storm of Jumby remaining toothless and my remaining powerless.

As frustrated as I was, each doctor I spoke with (and I spoke with more than I care to count) all confirmed what I knew was true; it wasn't just unlikely to reinsert his tooth, it would be unsafe. And when push comes to shove, Jumby's life is worth more than one single adult tooth and I'm not willing to risk his fragile health with complications due to wanting him to have a perfect smile.

I had about made peace with the situation and was cuddling my new toothless wonder on our couch when his father walked through our front door unannounced and unexpected.

The man's sense of timing is almost flawless.

"Oh good, you're here. We may have a small problem." I'm the Queen of Understatement.

Boo set his bags down and hung up his coat while raising an eyebrow and asked, "Really? What might that be?"

How does one explain to the father of her children that their youngest child just yanked a permanent tooth out on her watch?

"Um, I have no money, and the tooth fairy is going to be making a stop at our house tonight."

"Really? Awesome!" His face lit up like the innocent father he is and he scooped Jumby up to examine which baby tooth his youngest son just lost. "You lost a tooth buddy? Look at you growing up!" he cooed as he pried Jumbster's mouth open to sneak a peek.

I watched his face as he peered into his son's mouth and I knew the moment he realized the problem. I had a sudden urge to go fold some laundry so I stood up to walk into our laundry room. My fight or flight instincts had just kicked in. I chose to flee the scene of the crime like I did, almost 30 years ago with my brother. What can I say? Old habits die hard.

"What the hell Tanis???"

What could I say? Just, welcome home Boo. Welcome home.

I've now added a new goal to my parenting strategy for the Jumbster. One involving a hockey mask, and keeping all his teeth firmly in his head. Who says goals have to be lofty?

Everyone loves a toothless wonder, right?

« I Win At Losing | Main | Two Years with Jumby »

Reader Comments (27)

When you said he ripped a tooth out I didn't realise you meant the entire tooth root and all!!! Holy hell!!!
Any idea how he did it?

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecca_Masters

I may have gotten a bit woozy after seeing that photo. Fuck.

I think he just needs some gold teeth. Bling that shit up!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

Wow - tooth fairy with pliers is right! How the heck does one pull the whole thing out root and all like that? It's almost impressive!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterannie

That is... slightly terrifying. You make me want to swaddle my two year old in bubble wrap and force him to wear a helmet for the next 18 years or so. But I totally agree about the bling: give that kid some diamond studded teeth on the top and DARE someone to say something about the missing one on the bottom.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChelsie

Ditto Adam. I've been the toothless wonder myself, and that stuff still makes me squeamish.

Dang, that kiddo is cute.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie @ The Mom Slant

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tanis Miller, JennaFarelyn and momsblogging, Renee. Renee said: RT @redneckmommy: New post up. Teeth are totally over rated. At least, that's what I'm telling myself. http://bit.ly/gdKcxr [...]

oh my gosh, look at that!!!
i knocked out two teeth in a swimming pool as a kid- and swallowed one. burup.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermaggie may

Oh, God. The picture of the tooth WITH THE ROOT STILL ON IT gave me the heebs like you wouldn't believe. And I'm in nursing school, dammit!

There's some consolation though, that he wasn't in pain or freaked out by the whole thing. At least there's that.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

Tsnis, He is a beautiful child no matter what!!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

That. Was. Disturbing.
And yet, impressive.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermichellew_


February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermrsrobbied

Oh man,, hate it when that happens.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Queen

*Shudder*.. that tooth picture.. Oy.

Jumby on the other hand is just ADORABLE. I wish I could come and give him a squeeze!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTam

Ditto everything here. I didn't know it was humanly possible to yank out an entire tooth, root and all, BY ACCIDENT.

A gold tooth would go a long way to turning lemons into lemonade, though.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngela@beggingtheanswer

Don't beat yourself up. The main thing is, he isn't in pain.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGrandeMocha

fuckety fuck that sucker came right from his innards!
thats quite the root.
er....I mean...its ok?
if it makes you feel any better, one of my nieces lost her first baby tooth chewing on her stroller, and didnt have a front tooth til she was about 8 or so. my other niece lost her two front top teeth on her second birthday taking a nice face ride down her nice new lil'tykes slide.
they werent permanents, no...but its a nice illustration that it happens.
wishing you many sexy dentists.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVicki

Such a great tie in to history. Now Jumby is just like his Uncle and Grandpa and so glad he isn't in pain

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhabanerogal

Root and all? And yet the baby teeth are still in his head? I am baffled how that happened.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStacey


Okay, I'm done running around the room shaking my hands. That tooth freaks me out. And no blood? Strange.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNeeroc

I think I was 11 or 12 when I was standing behind the batter and got a tad to close when she swung the bat, I caught the bat with my mouth. I felt the warm blood oozing from about eight of my teeth. Back in the day, an incident like that didn't mean you were rushed to a dentist, my dad pried open my mouth ran his finger across my loose as a goose front teeth and exclaimed "she's all right, they'll tighten up!" And of course they did. Sorry that Jumby’s tooth didn’t get the opportunity to “tighten up” but he’ll do just fine minus one tooth.

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAZ

I had almost all my baby teeth pulled out, root and all, because they wouldn't come out on their own. I can not imagine having them ripped out without something for the pain. OUCH! How on earth did he do that and was still smiling?

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Poor Baby. Lucky you were there, I would have fainted and probably knocked one of my teeth out from the fall.

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Holy Shit!!!!! I need some air. I don't know how you do it, but you do it well, mama.

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkasi

This was hard for me to read.

I really do not understand how you keep your cool.

I would have been...I can't even begin to speculate how unraveled I would have been.

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan in the Boonies

My eldest daughter fell while chasing her brother along the footpath when she was about 12 and broke her adult front tooth in half down the length of it! I know the horror of realising omg its an adult tooth!! She has had it restored with resin I think and you cant notice it now...
Poor Jumby, at least he wasnt in pain, hope he doesnt pull the rest out when they grow in!

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbad_girl

I knocked out a front tooth when I was 17 while climbing a ladder. It slipped and I fell face-first onto the ladder on the garage floor. Then I got a bridge -- and one of the teeth supporting the bridge died -- and I had root canal -- and then I had gum surgery -- and the whole thing was unbelievably traumatic.

How come bones heal and teeth don't? What the heck?

At least it was a bottom one. It won't show all that much.

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

I am still sitting here wondering how in the heck he managed to get that tooth out like that! I bet you are too! Poor Jumby :( Look on the bright side, the hole can be a new toy for him for a little while :)

March 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMomma Chaos

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