As a dad blogger and son of a dentist, I’ve found myself writing a lot about tooth loss in children between the ages of 5 and 10. (I also find myself curled in the fetal position whenever I think of the dental drill in my father’s basement. True story.) Sometimes the kids’ tooth removal stories have been funny and sometimes it’s been painful….and sometimes, the tooth doesn’t want to let go. This is that story.
While sitting across from Garrett one night at dinner, I kept staring at him because he reminded me of someone. One of his two front teeth had become so loose, that it moved over and began to block the other tooth. Each time he opened his mouth, he looked like a shark with multiple layers of teeth. It wasn’t until I watched him laugh and snort that I realized who he looked like – Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery!! I quickly grabbed my phone and created a side-by-side picture to truly see the similarities.
This tooth would not let go….or, Garrett would not let go of this tooth. I’m still unclear as to which was which.
Over the past few days, the tooth had become horizontal. Not only was it partially blocking one tooth, but now it began to “peek” out from between his lips because it had nowhere else to go.
Each time we tried to remove the tooth, Garrett would put up a fight and then scamper away. We tried giving him corn on the cob to loosen the tooth. We tried giving him gum. We tried putting ice on it. Once, I (jokingly) tried to use a wrench.
Nothing worked. It wasn’t until GWE had him strapped into the car seat of his nanny’s car that she was able to finally separate tooth from child. All I can say at this point is, the tooth is out…..and now so is my wallet!
It started with an ant. To be more precise, it started with an Aunt.
Several months ago, I sent my sister (Auntie Shayna) an aquarium for her birthday because she was thinking of getting a goldfish for my niece. Once she received it, she had some difficulties managing the aquarium because she did not follow my explicit instructions on aquarium maintenance. Apparently, my sister was talked out of getting the goldfish (I told her to get) and she ended up with a Beta Fish – thanks to the pimply-faced, know-nothing clerk who worked at the pet store.
After a few weeks of torture and the eventual homicide of the Beta, it was determined that somehow I was to blame. The punishment was a Hanukah gift in the form of an Ant Farm from my sister to my sons. Nothing says “I love you” like a package of 25 ants that comes with a warning: “DO NOT TOUCH. ANTS WILL BITE.”
The gauntlet of war had been thrown. I could not let this act of hostility go unanswered. And, thanks to a fortunately timed visit to Costco, I knew I had found my revenge: Hugfun!
Hugfun is a 93″ teddy bear. Here is a video demonstrating the sheer size of Hugfun:
10 days before my niece’s second birthday, I placed the order. The only two people who knew what was about to happen were GWE and my mother. It was supposed to arrive without warning – that was the intended surprise. What actually happened was FAR funnier!
One morning, my sister called me in a panic. “Did you send me something?” (She had called our mother first, but mom denied sending anything….although she did elude to knowing what was coming.)
“Maybe, why?” I replied casually.
“A freight delivery service just called and notified me that I have to be home to sign for a delivery!! What did you send???” She demanded to know what was going on. There was a pause. “They said it’s 44 lbs. WHAT DID YOU SEND ME??” I erupted into laughter.
Shayna’s 10 day torture/meltdown had begun.
“Is it alive??? Did you send something that’s alive???” She was convinced that I was sending her a baby pig. For days, I kept texting her pictures of animals that could potentially be 44 lbs. Pigs, lambs, lobsters, etc.
Four days before delivery, Shayna called the freight company and asked what was being delivered. The man she spoke with gave answers that were better than I could have ever dreamed of. He responded, “Ma’am. If you don’t know what’s coming, I can’t tell you.” Shayna continued, “Do I need to have food ready for it?” He replied, “It couldn’t hurt.” Shayna’s tailspin of anxiety was now off the charts. (I don’t know who this man was, but I owe him a bottle of wine!)
And then, the delivery date arrived. What added to the anticipation of Hugfun’s arrival was that he did not arrive at the time specified. He was running late. But, when he did finally arrived, it was well-worth it!
Shayna called me from the garage while Hugfun was still in the box. “I’m going to kill you,” she said calmly.
“Well, you’ve got to get it in the house first? C’mon! He’s only 44lbs. Put your back into it!!” I said in between my hysterical fits of laughter. With FaceTime on, I stared at her ceiling all the while listening to the sounds of my sister’s grunting as she battled to get the bear into the house.
Once it was in the house, she propped it against the wall. It towered over her. As she struggled to put the bear into a manageable position, she kept telling me about all the ways she was going to kill me and then get revenge. As she swore like a sailor, the bear looked down at her sweetly.
I know she wanted to hate it, but she was playing with it after just a few minutes.
And then, our parents arrived. They also played with Hugfun!
And then, my Brother-In-Law (Sadie’s daddy) arrived home. He, too, played with it!
And finally, the birthday girl got a change to see it the following morning – after all the adults had played with it!!
I think the lesson here is – don’t mess with GenXDaddy! You may end up with a 93-inch, 44 lbs, cuddly, soft Teddy Bear as revenge!!
While running errands with Garrett, we decided to stop at our local Starbucks for a snack. Garrett chose an apple juice with a fruit box and I ordered a Purple Drink. (Look it up! It’s pretty good!) As we waited for my drink, Garrett asked if he could go and find a seat. I told him that would be fine. But, he needed to make sure that he chose a table that no one was sitting at AND it had to be within view of where I was standing. Garrett took his snacks, wandered the restaurant, and then chose an empty table for two….right next to a cute college-age girl. I saw her look up, acknowledge him, smile, and then go back to what she was working on.
I sat down across from Garrett and we began to have our snacks and chat about our day. I knew I didn’t have Garrett’s full attention because he kept looking over at the woman sitting next to me – the same one he chatted with when he sat down. Garrett leaned over and whispered, “What’s she doing?” I looked at him and said, “Why don’t you ask her?”
“Excuse me. What are you doing?” Garrett inquired.
The young woman sitting next two me stopped what she was doing, looked up, smiled (again) and replied, “I’m painting a birthday card for a friend.” She opened the plastic case of water colored paints and showed him.
“Can I try?” he asked.
“Of course,” she responded. She handed him the paints, the paint brushes in a cup of clear water, and a piece of paper. Carefully, she explained how the paints worked.
For the next 10 minutes, Garrett and his new friend were on an “Art Date.” I quietly sat there (like a third wheel) as they painted together and talked about their friends and common interests. He told her a joke that he got wrong, but she laughed anyway. She told him about a bigger art piece she was working on! I sat there in amazement watching my 5 year old son pick up a 20-something year old woman without him even realizing it. When he was done with his painting, he put everything back together and then offered her his finished art piece. She told him she loved it. If he was 13 years older, he would have gotten her number right then and there. At 5, Garrett is more of a ladies’ man than I am at 41!
Ultimately, he decided to bring the art piece home to GWE instead. Right now, Mommy is still the only woman he cares about.
To compensate for my inability to decorate our house for Christmas (since I’m Jewish,) I found another way to satisfy my urge for holiday ornamentation. I decorate for Halloween! I’m not fulfilled unless the front of our house is covered in fake webbing, skeleton and spider lights, carved pumpkins, and all sorts of creepy critters. Each Halloween, I venture to the Halloween shop to pick up a few new odds and ends. Last year, Zombie Kitty and 2 Zombie rats were added to the mix.
Last Saturday, Garrett and I decided to pull out all the Halloween decorations while Justin and GWE were away. As we made our way through the bag, I re-discovered Zombie Kitty. Garrett and I chased each other around the yard scaring each other with him. And then, we had an idea! We decided to place Zombie Kitty in Justin’s bed….and not tell him.
When Justin came home, he commented on how much he liked the decorations. But, he quickly asked, “Where’s Zombie Kitty?” With a blank expression on my face, I replied, “I don’t know. I didn’t see him in the bag.”
Garrett was less vague. “JUSTIN!!!!! You need to go to sleep right now!” he screamed. (It was 1:30 in the afternoon.) Ten seconds later, he decided to take a different approach. “You’re in trouble. Go to your room!!” It would have been a little more convincing if he wasn’t laughing and vibrating with anticipation.
Justin marched to his room and found Zombie Kitty waiting for him. He yanked it out of bed and for the rest of the day, it became a game of “Where’s Zombie Kitty?”
Justin hid him in my home office. Then, Garrett hid him on the chair GWE uses to do her make-up in the bathroom. Then, it ended up in Garrett’s bed. Somehow, just as the kids were going to bed, it ended up under the covers on GWE’s side of the bed.
While I appreciated Justin and Garrett’s attempts to scare me with Zombie Kitty, I don’t think they appreciated my true talent of scaring the shit out of children under the age of 10.
After Justin went to bed, I snuck into his room and placed Zombie Kitty under the front of his bed. The following morning, he screamed as he returned from the bathroom and found Zombie Kitty waiting for him in the dark.
Zombie Kitty reappeared again last night under the dinner table in Justin’s seat. It had been hours since anyone thought about Zombie Kitty. Once he turned the corner and looked down, he jumped again at the sight of Zombie Kitty.
Once the boys went to sleep last night, I placed Zombie Kitty in Justin’s school backpack and zipped it up. He woke up this morning demanding to know where Zombie Kitty was because he didn’t want to be surprised anymore. I told him I didn’t know and ignored the topic while I rushed around getting the kids ready for school. As he was running out of the door, I asked him to put his lunch into his lunchbox. Once he unzipped his bag, he screamed again at the sight of Zombie Kitty staring back at him from inside his bag.
And finally, this evening, I placed Zombie Kitty in the dresser drawer he uses for school clothes. It’s been in there for hours and I don’t expect him to open the drawer until tomorrow morning. I can’t wait to hear his reaction!!
Justin is at an amazing age where he wants to joyfully believe in things that require great imagination like spooky ghosts, super heroes, and time-traveling DeLoreans. But, he’s starting to question whether or not he believes in those things. He knows there is no Santa Claus and he knows there is no Easter Bunny. However, he’s still uncertain if The Tooth Fairy exists.
Since he was a little boy, The Tooth Fairy had been sneaking into his room at night to collect his loose teeth in exchange for money and a personalized note. The amount of money that was owed fluctuated due to unexpected demand on The Tooth Fairy Reserves without any given notice. (Basically, I gave him whatever few dollars I had left in my wallet at the end of the night.)
In the beginning, he was excited to get these notes! “Read it to me, daddy!! Read it!” he would squeal. Pretending like I had never seen the note before, I would read him what The Tooth Fairy said. Each note was different, but it was generally a gracious note thanking him for the tooth and leaving him a “gift” in exchange.
Several “teeth” ago, I crept into his room in the middle of the night only to discover that Justin had booby-trapped his room in an attempt to catch The Tooth Fairy in the act. I was able to quietly make my way to his pillow without falling onto the bed or twisting an ankle on the obstacle course of Legos, Skylanders, and random shoes Justin left on the floor. I think he continued to believe in The Tooth Fairy beyond that point because….who else could have navigated those obstructions without waking him up???
One tooth ago, I made the tooth-to-note-and-cash transfer without any difficulty. What I didn’t know was that Justin was prepared for The Tooth Fairy and left a note that The Tooth Fairy didn’t see. The following morning he showed GWE the note he left and wondered why The Tooth Fairy didn’t take the note or follow its instructions. (Cash was nice, but Yo-Kai Medals were better!) The note is below:
Last night, another tooth was lost and (once again) The Tooth Fairy did his/her job. Based on what happened the last time, I thought there might be another note. I was right. Here is note #2:
The following morning, Justin pulled GWE aside and asked if The Tooth Fairy was real. She inquired, “Why do you ask?” He responded that his friends at school were telling him that The Tooth Fairy wasn’t real. Without directly answering the question, GWE was able to “answer” the question in a way that allowed him to continue to believe and look forward to watching his younger brother get visited by The Tooth Fairy someday as well.
And, for the record, The Tooth Fairy is a traditionalist. He/she is prepared to pay for teeth with cash, not plastic!
Ever since Justin saw “Back to the Future,” he’d become obsessed with Huey Lewis and the News. He’s been listening to the “Sports” and “Greatest Hits” albums non-stop for months. It’s funny to hear him doing his homework with his headphones on while humming along to “Hip to Be Square” and (his favorite) “Workin for a Livin.” Because he’s wearing headphones (that cost the same as my car – thank you Grandpa Bob!) he doesn’t know that we all can hear him singing. It’s pretty funny to hear a 9 year old sing, “…at least until I die, dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t, I’m supposed to get a raise week, you know damn well I won’t.”
One evening, GWE ‘bounced’ into the bedroom and shook me excitedly while announcing that Huey Lewis and the News would be performing at Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay in San Diego. GWE decided that I would be taking Justin to see his favorite band perform live. Before I could ask “If this is It,” GWE had ordered the tickets, booked the hotel room, and we planned on taking a “Couple Days Off.”
This is one of the few bands I’ve loved consistently over the years. While I was very happy to be seeing the show, I was more honored to know that I would be accompanying Justin to his first real concert! That made it that much better!
GWE and I had seen Huey Lewis and the News play about 15 years ago at the Universal Amphitheater and it was a great show. By pure coincidence, a few years ago, I was having drinks with a client at the Four Season Hotel in Beverly Hills on the front patio when some rowdy guys behind us got a little too loud. I brushed it off thinking: “DRUNKS!” But, when they began to harmonize and start singing, I turned around to discover that it was Huey Lewis and the News! I was shocked! It was the best private show anyone could have asked for!
It wasn’t until the week before the show that we finally told Justin what our plans were. He could not believe it! (As excited as Justin was to see the show, I think he was more excited knowing that we would have to pull him out of school early in order to get to the show!) For Justin, the next few days were just a blur of counting down the days to the concert and asking which songs they’d be playing at the show.
When the day finally came, we jumped in the car, picked up the kids from school and we were “Cruisin’.” We all listened to (and sang along with) “Alive at 25” as we headed down to San Diego. Justin and I had just enough time to drop off our bags at the hotel and race over to the venue. To tell you that we had fun wouldn’t accurately describe it. It was a blast!