Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Falling Down

Today was one of those days we all fear as parents. A day when one of our little ones gets hurt. It was a typical morning. We were running late because the girls were tired and dragging and wouldn't get in the car. We made it to school with a couple of minutes to spare, and were heading down with the masses toward String Bean's class, picking up speed, when Peanut fell down.

Peanut falls down a lot. She's a rough and tumble kid, unafraid of spills, and if she's moving, she's usually going full force. Well, she went full-force to the ground, face first. I picked her up, dusted her off, and saw blood. Lots and lots of blood, pouring out of her mouth. And a tooth, her top front tooth, at a very bad angle.

I scooped Peanut up, rushed toward String Bean's class, handed String Bean off to another mother, and raced back to the car with Peanut, shoving wadded towels into her bleeding mouth. We raced straight to the dentist. X-rays showed her tooth had broken off at the root, so it couldn't be saved. Luckily it was a baby tooth, and in being knocked out it hadn't damaged the adult tooth behind it. But Peanut just turned 5, and the adult tooth is nowhere near ready to come in. The dentist said it may take a year, possibly close to 2, before the adult tooth drops down to fill the hole. The teeth on either side were knocked loose, but not beyond hope. We have weeks ahead of a soft food diet and avoiding contact with those teeth, in the hopes that they will strengthen and stop wiggling, and wait firmly in place until the adult teeth behind them are ready to make an appearance.

Peanut was a champ the whole time. She cried pretty good when it first happened, but once we got to the dentist she was completely calm. She followed the dentist's instructions perfectly and even corrected him when he was trying to be silly with her. She was all business. When she was all cleaned up, they offered her a bounty of prizes for being so good. She insisted on taking two of each, so her big sister wouldn't feel left out.

We had a long day of trying to find something, anything, that she could eat without hurting. In the end a few sips of milkshake and some yogurt was all she could manage. She's got a scraped up face, a hugely swollen lip, cuts and bruises all around the inside of her mouth, and a cute gap where her tooth should be. But she's still my smiley girl who thinks it's super cool that she's one of the first kids in her kindergarten class to lose a tooth. And she's very excited about the tooth fairy coming.

In reality, all turned out fine. The scrapes and bruises will heal, the adult teeth will come in, and someday this will just be one of those family lore stories about what a tough kid she was. But for right now, this moment at the end of that long day, it's all I can do not to stand guard next to her bed and protect her from ever being hurt again. We're never ready to see our kids get hurt.

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