Of Teeth and Growth

1717 1717_ () 1717 1717 Weekly Column. I’ll admit that I’m feeling slightly bad about using the last little exchange in this column. At the time it struck me as hilarious, but now I wonder about putting it in the Diocesan newspaper! Live and learn.

One evening last week, I was cleaning up from dinner before the family headed out to a pool party in our neighborhood. The boys were in another part of the house gathering towels and goggles and I could hear them laughing and carrying on, the normal brotherly banter that is the aural fabric of my life.

A few minutes later, ten-year-old Elliott walked into the kitchen.

“Got something for you,” he said, before casually laying a tooth on the kitchen counter. “This came out.”

“You lost a tooth?” I asked. There was no squealing, no blood, no fanfare of any kind.

“Yup,” he said, “it just fell out.” He left the tooth for me to deal with before heading back to the front room with his brothers.

I took the baby canine and inspected it for a moment. I set it on the kitchen windowsill just as I remembered that this tooth’s partner, the one from the opposite side of Elliott’s mouth, was still on my bedroom dresser. It had been collecting dust since its arrival a few weeks before. Was the Tooth Fairy still expected? My boy had made no mention of her abject failure on the job.

Back in the kitchen, I wondered about this whole recent ten-second event with Elliott. He was so matter-of-fact in announcing the loss of his tooth that I recognized the moment as a new chapter in my life as a mother.

When Elliott lost his first tooth, there was the typical emotional rollercoaster of getting the thing out, of dealing with a tooth so wild and wiggly that I worried he would swallow it in his sleep. There were threats and bribes and finally, when that first baby tooth was plucked from the gum, there were tears and shrieks of joy, a call to Gramma and Papa and an entry in the baby book. That night, with tremendous pomp and much circumstance, we lovingly placed the tooth under Elliott’s pillow to see what the morning would bring.

And oh what it brought!

Fast-forward just a few years, and tooth-loss is such a normal part of life that it requires only a practical saunter into the kitchen. I suppose, on this recent evening, I could have cheered and hugged and jumped up and down. But the situation just didn’t seem to call for those histrionics – the laid-back manner in which Elliott (and I) approached this dental rite-of-passage was a striking departure from the teeth loss of not-so-long-ago.

Elliott now has two gaping holes on the sides of his smile. He is changing, growing up. With each incisor and molar that goes, another bigger one comes in, dragging my boy a little further from who he once was to who he will become. Boyhood is still very much here, of course, but while Manhood seems so far away, casual tooth-loss and a whole host of other changes admits the truth – that one day, my son will indeed be a man.

As with all of these changes with my boys, I have a few options. I can either stand on the brink and cry, or I can think about the way things were, appreciate that, and then rejoice in the here and now. For this boy, losing teeth is now a normal part of life. But life is still filled with plenty of grand adventure, and I am always amazed at the joy and fun that these boys of mine provide.

Of course, a big part of that joy comes from remembering to embrace each one of these creatures as they are – and to avoid driving myself crazy when life with boys is every bit as boyish as you might suspect.

The other day, Elliott came into the house after being outside in the heat. He and his brothers had been outside playing, working on some grand project in the backyard.

“Ugh,” he sighed, pushing open the back door, “Why does everything smell like dog breath?” I turned from my chair to see my boy soaked, his wet hair matted to his forehead, sweat beads dripping down his neck.

“Maybe it’s because you’re super sweaty,” I suggested.

“Good point,” he said, before heading back out to have more fun. 1717” .


Dude, Get A Hanky

1716 1716_ () 1716 1716 One of my favorite movie scenes of all time is the part in Sleepless in Seattle when Rita Wilson’s character explains why An Affair to Remember is so emotional (“and her little legs are just there shriveled and he looks at her and she looks at him. And they know. And then they hug.”).

The best part of the scene is when the two guys listening to Rita look at each other with utter confusion at her emotional state. Because this is my life EVERY DAY. The guys look at each other, and then the one guy starts to quote lines from The Dirty Dozen and they both pretend to cry and it’s hilarious.

I came across this list of Movies that Make Men Cry and I would love to get feedback from you, dude. Anything on this list ring true? There are a few that I can guarantee would NOT make Paul cry, but then a few that I’m pretty sure would even make the boys cry (and may have in the recent past, if you know what I mean…). 1716″


Conversation Starter

1715 1715_ () 1715 1715 Augie walks into my office. He is wearing his swim team speedo, a shiny red cape and an over sized black cowboy hat. He carries a handgun made entirely out of bristle blocks.

“If you’re on the dance floor in space,” he begins, “there’s only one thing that can go wrong.” 1715″>


The Future’s So Bright

1714 1714_ () 1714 1714

Me: Has anyone seen my sunglasses?

Charlie: Here. Wear these.

1714″> ?