Mister Man is seven, which means that he’s well into the process of losing his baby teeth. He’s currently without his two front teeth, which means that sadly he won’t be able to sing “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” and give it a special meaning this year. It hasn’t been an easy process for him, however.
When his first tooth was loose, he wiggled it but only a little. When I began to feel the adult tooth growing in behind it, we told him it had to come out. As I wasn’t anxious to pay the dentist for something Mister Man should be able to do himself, I explained that the tooth fairy doesn’t come if the dentist pulls a tooth. And my husband pulled the tooth out one Friday night as I was out to dinner with friends.
When his next tooth came loose, we had the same issue. And my husband again pulled it out. Mister Man was somewhat traumatized by it, and when his top tooth became loose, he wiggled it this time. Unfortunately, he couldn’t wiggle it enough, and once again it was time to remove the tooth manually. This time I was in charge, as Mister Man wisely wouldn’t let my husband near his mouth. I made a loop with dental floss and put it around his very loose tooth. I pulled both ends, and the tooth popped out with no fuss. We used the same strategy when his next tooth was also loose but wasn’t coming out.
I resigned myself to Mister Man’s inability to wiggle his teeth – knowing that his sensory issues as part of his autism plays a significant role. Periodically, I’ve asked him if he has a loose tooth, but it’s been pretty quiet on that front.
This week, Mister Man was in my parents’ basement helping my dad build his model train. He came thumping up the stairs at a rapid clip, shouting and sobbing, Mommy! Grandma! Mommy! Come quick! I need you! Mommy!
My mom and I looked at each other in dread and dropped what we were doing to head towards him, both wondering where my dad was and what he was doing. As he appeared around the corner, we could see that he was holding his mouth and tears were streaming down his face. Mommy, watch! My tooth is coming out of my mouth. My tooth is coming out right now!
He didn’t have a loose tooth. At least, he didn’t so far as I knew. Uh-oh. Did he fall in the basement? Did something happen? I could see blood beginning to trickle down his chin, but then his hand popped loose and he triumphantly showed us a tiny little tooth.
The sobbing intensified. His babbling was becoming near unintelligible, which worried me. I eventually began to work out what he was saying. I’m so proud. Mommy, I did it. I got my own tooth out all by myself. I’m so proud. I’m so proud of myself. Look what I did all by myself!
I hugged him and watched the tears fall as he smiled and sobbed at the same time, blood dripping down his face. I was pretty proud of him, too.