Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Injustice and The Tooth Fairy's New Client

Poor Hannah, sometimes slow and steady doesn't win the race. Life can be so unjust.

Naomi lost six baby teeth several months after she turned five years old, but Hannah has had to wait...and wait. Last year Hannah detected the tiniest amount of wiggle in a tooth, but twelve months later, at the old and moldy age of six and a half, that tooth is still clinging to its stubborn root. For the last two weeks her family and friends, and sometimes strangers, have been hearing daily updates on the state of her loose tooth.

She wiggles her tooth for me when she wakes in the morning and asks for my best prediction of when it will finally fall out. She complains at lunch about how it hurts to chew or how impossible it is to eat a sandwich. She asks me to look in her mouth at night to see if I can see the adult tooth coming in underneath the loose one.

"I think it will fall out today," Hannah predicted at breakfast this morning. "It's soooo close. It has to fall out today. I'm going to wiggle and wiggle all day long, no matter how much it hurts."

"You might be right," I agreed with Hannah, taking my daily assessment of the wiggle-ability of her tooth. "It can't be long now."

Ah, but we were wrong. Hannah's mouth still contains twenty baby teeth, but even worse is the cruel twist of irony this evening.

I had just taken Elijah upstairs with the intention of putting him to bed tonight while Matt was brushing the kids' teeth, when Matt yelled up at me, "Kathy! Did Emma lose a tooth today?! Ha! It's missing! Emma what happened to your tooth?"

I flew back down the stairs, worried at first that my toddler daughter had been the victim of some horrible accident. But after assessing a completely healthy-looking hole in Emma's mouth, and reminding myself that Emma was five years old now, and that Naomi had lost six teeth at that age, I concluded that Emma had simply beaten Hannah to the prize, fair and square. And, in typical Emma fashion, had absolutely no idea at all what had happened.

She laughed, walked over to the mirror, inspected the bloody spot in her mouth, and concluded, "Ha...yep...it is missing."

I know Emma had all twenty teeth when I left to take Hannah to ballet class tonight and gave Matt instructions to serve the kids peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. All we can figure is that the tooth got stuck in the peanut butter and popped out, never to be seen again. Odd, ironic, and even a little cruel, but true.

The tooth fairy will be paying her first visit to Emma's bed tonight, and I have a feeling Hannah will be wiggling harder than ever tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Not So Amazing

When my alarm went off at 5:00am this morning I was ready: the lunch was made, the bags were packed, the outfits were laid out in piles on my living room floor. I felt pretty good as I headed out the door with five small children in the dark, brisk November air. We left at 6:00am for our semi-annual pilgrimage to the children's hospital for Naomi and Emma's check-ups on the liver disease they have (congenital hepatic fibrosis).

It was a pretty drive with the large barns on the Amish farms lit up for early morning chores and the misty air over the frost-covered fields as the sun brushed the sky in faint pinks and blues. We marched into the hospital, made a large bathroom break, brushed three messy heads of hair, and checked into the appointments right on time at 10:00am.

For the most part, my kids sat quietly and behaved themselves while the doctor reviewed Naomi and Emma's charts and poked on their bellies and noted the size of their livers and spleens. Toby laid on his back underneath the chairs and ate corn chex, spilling as many on the floor as he consumed, but I don't think the doctor noticed that. She remarked that everything seemed to be looking good, the disease was progressing very slowly, as always, and she would see us again in 6 months. And then the appointment was over: four hours of preparation behind us, and four hours of journeying home ahead of us for a ten minute appointment. But I tried to remind myself that that's exactly what we want, nothing notable found and permission not to think about liver disease again for another six months.

As she headed out of the room the doctor called back to me (as I was nursing Elijah and coaxing all the kids into line to leave), "You're an amazing woman." That brightened my long day. Yes sir-ee, I was amazing...until we were finishing the lunch I had packed in the hospital cafeteria, and I noticed a foul smell coming from my baby. I hurried the other kids to finish and pack-up, then scooped Elijah up in one arm to head to the bathroom.

"What just fell on the floor?!" Naomi called to me, loud enough for everyone else who had previously been enjoying their lunch to hear. "It looks like poop!" I tried to quickly (and casually--nothing to see here, people) swipe the enormous orange poop blob from the cafeteria floor with a wet-wipe and deposit it in the garbage as we left. Then I carried Elijah, hanging almost upside down, by one arm and one leg around the corner to the bathroom where I discovered his clothing was filled from neck to shoes with orange poop. I made a colossal mess attempting to strip, wash, and re-dress the poor fellow, and I'm sure that bathroom won't smell fresh again for a few days.

As I re-loaded the kids into the minivan with a lingering smell trailing us I felt a little less than amazing, and more like I barely survived. But then we were on the road again, the kids slept and the scenery soothed me, and eventually I laughed about the poop-cident. We are home, we are relatively healthy, and we are settling in for a cozy bedtime with Daddy tonight.

I drove five children 306 miles round-trip for a ten-minute doctor appointment, and we survived. Maybe I am amazing, poop-cident aside.