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!
Honestly, I’m a little behind with this blog. It’s not that I don’t have enough to write about. It’s that there’s too much to write about and the stories are getting backed up. So – let’s re-start slowly…
Last week, GWE took Justin to Six Flags on an afternoon when there was an early dismissal from school. While I worked, they had fun riding roller-coasters, eating junk food, and then sending me selfies of themselves riding roller-coasters and eating junk food. (Did I mention that I was working??) When I got home that evening, I expected to find Justin passed out in bed. To my surprise, he was awake…and oddly excited about something.
“Daddy!! I bought you some jelly beans! I know how much you love jelly beans,” Justin exclaimed. I could see that he was trying to contain his laughter, so I assumed he was up to something.
“No thanks. I’ll pass,” I replied – knowing that it would drive him a little nuts.
“Daddy! These are the best jelly beans! I bought them just for you!!!!!!!!” The giddiness was causing him to vibrate.
With cautious optimism, I took one jelly bean from his hand and popped it into my mouth. I did not chew. I just waited for him to respond. After a few seconds, I gave up and decided to eat the jelly bean. At first, it tasted like popcorn. And then…….this disgusting flavor and odor of dead fish invaded my mouth and nose. It was awful! Justin rolled on the floor laughing about how he got me as I scrambled to get the taste out of my mouth! While I gulped half a container of milk, Justin explained that I had eaten something called “Bean Boozled.” They are purposely awful jelly beans.
Justin thought I was over-reacting to how bad the beans were, so he decided to show me that he could eat any of them and it wouldn’t affect him at all. I told him that I would chose the bean and he would have to eat which ever I chose.
I chose “Barf.”
Justin took the bean and ate it with the same bravado you see from a drunk college student who is dared to drink an entire bottle of hot sauce. He smiled as he took the first two bites. All of a sudden, his expression changed. He coughed twice…..and then threw up all over the kitchen sink. The bravado on his face vanished and was replaced with confusion, fear, and tears. He was not expecting that as an outcome. After a few more dry-heaves and a glass of water, I tucked him into bed.
While tucking Garrett into bed, I heard Justin run down the hallway…then some banging….and then the sound of him running back to his room. When I went back into his room I asked him what happened. He responded, “Daddy. I threw out the jelly beans. I don’t want you to trick me with those beans ever again!”
The first year we attended Justin’s school fundraiser, GWE noticed that one of the items up for bid was the opportunity for Justin to host the school’s morning news broadcast. Typically, this was a honor reserved for the 4th and 5th graders. However, thanks to GWE’s ability to outbid and (quite frankly) intimidate anyone who came within 5 feet of the bid sheet, Justin got an early start in the morning news business – Kindergarten! Each and every year since he began attending this school, Justin has appeared on the Woodcrest Morning News.
You may also notice that Garrett makes an appearance as well. He started out as a background prop and worked his way up to co-host of the show with his big brother. And now, thanks to the editing skills of GWE, you can fully enjoy “The Justin-Reads-The-News Montage Show!”
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.
Sometimes, it’s not what happens to us that compels us to make a change, but it’s the things that we witness happening to other people that make us reassess our own choices in life. Case in point: Garrett recently experienced something, but it had a bigger impact on Justin.
While on a routine dental visit, the dentist discovered that Garrett had a small cavity. Even though the cavity was tiny, we knew that the task of getting it fixed was going to be monumental. Garrett is not a good patient. He does not like having dental equipment in his mouth, does not like the sounds that the equipment makes, and he has zero patience for sitting in a dental chair. GWE and I knew that he certainly wasn’t going to tolerate getting a shot of Novocain AND having his tooth drilled. I spoke with the dentist and he agreed that Garrett was a “hostile patient.” We decided that the only course of action would be to use nitrous oxide to keep him calm.
As the day of his cavity removal approached, GWE and I kept telling him (excitedly) about the “Firefighter’s Mask” the dentist was going to put on him on his next visit. Garrett was intrigued by the prospect of wearing a mask meant for firefighters in a dental office. As soon as he arrived at the dentist’s office, he asked to see the mask. He looked at it quizzically. It wasn’t like the ones he had seen at the fire station Skeptically, he got into the chair and put the mask on. Slowly, the dentist began to administer the gas. After a few minutes, Garrett was supposed to begin feeling the effects, so the dentist administered a shot of Novocain. Garrett felt it, realized what was going on, and began to fight back. Clearly, the gas had no effect on him.
In the meantime, GWE and Justin were in the waiting area and they could clearly hear what was going on. Garrett was screaming, shoving the dentist and hygienist away, and trying to escape while the we tried to keep him calm. I looked over to the lobby and saw GWE cringing. Justin appeared calm, yet slightly panicked as the blood drained from his face. After 30 minutes, I told the dentist that this wasn’t working and that we’d have to try again at a later date.
Knowing that his defiance had been successful, Garrett angrily hopped out of the chair and was at the front door in less than a minute. When we got in the car, Garrett was back to normal. What we didn’t know was that Justin was the one who was affected the most!
Later that afternoon, we had a normal lunch. Afterwards, Justin excused himself from the table and went to brush his teeth.
After dinner, Justin excused himself from the table and went to brush his teeth.
After breakfast the following morning, Justin excused himself from the table and went to brush his teeth…again.
That night, after dinner, Justin excused himself from the table and went to brush his teeth…again.
The following morning, we ended up running 15 minutes late. Everyone was in the car, except for Justin….who was still brushing his teeth…again!
Thanks to Garrett’s “Cavity Calamity,” Justin has brushed his teeth more times over the past 6 weeks than he has in his entire life!