Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Chip off the ol' block
I must have been 7 or 8 when I chipped one of my front teeth at the Jasonville City Park. I remember it clearly. We were there watching my brothers play baseball. In those days, if they were lucky, girls either got the privilege of being a "bat boy" (yes, they were "bat boys" regardless of gender) for their brother's team, or just went out and played in or around the park until the game was over.
I was playing on the bleachers and somehow flipped myself from the top seat to bang my mouth on a steel pipe that served as part of the support structure. I must have cried a lot. I remember my mother shouting over the din to my dad that it's "one of her permanent teeth."
While it must have bothered them, the chunk of my DNA was left forever on the ground at the city park. It wasn't until I'd graduated from both high school and college that I got it fixed. Yes, that's me and my mangled smile my senior year. Just take a close look at that and wonder how I stayed a virgin so long... Between the thug brothers, the hair, the glasses and the chompers, I was lucky to have boys even talk to me face-to-face.
I've often wondered if my parents didn't get my teeth fixed as an experiment in character development. Maybe it was just one of those things everyone got used to and forgot about, like a leaky faucet in a bathroom you don't use.
Plus, my parent had seven children to feed, clothe and get through life. Cosmetic dentistry shops hadn't yet popped up like Starbucks. Heck, we didn't even have Starbucks yet. Let alone the money to afford a latte.
Anyway, I tell you this because Monday night while having her bath, Alison was busily coloring herself up with the new bath paint her Aunt Nancy gave her when I heard a wail. It was one of those serious ones. Not one where she'd taken the last scrap of color from the jar and wanted more knowing there was no more to be had.
She'd sneezed, and in so doing had knocked her teeth against the edge of the tub. The tub came with the house, which means it was probably manufactured around the time I was knocking my own tooth against an immovable object. That tub is probably steel wrapped in 25 coats of enamel.
Sure enough, a little chunk of one of her front teeth is literally down the drain. She was more worried about the pain than the loss of tooth, though, and so was I at first.
No blood, just a lost sliver of tooth. It's not as noticeable as mine was. Her tooth just looks a little jaggedy on the bottom. I'll get her in to see Dr. Marshall, but I imagine he'll tell me to wait until she's grown a bit more and then he'll file it down or something. If a big chunk was gone, I think I'd be more insistent.
Take a look at her next time you see her and tell me if I'm under-reacting. While I was sitting in the dentist's chair trying to explain why I'd waited so long to have my tooth fixed, I swore I'd never wait to fix my child's teeth if they happened to need repair.
I'm fairly certain I'll keep that promise, but feel free to prompt me if you think I'm delaying too long.