Emily Dickinson once wrote, “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant.” Those of us who write about our realities often fictionalize certain details (either to protect the not-so-innocent or to add an element of drama). However, I often find that I don’t have to make this stuff up. It’s not always like pulling teeth. Or maybe it is…
My older daughter has had a loose tooth for months. And though it was starting to yellow and stick out at an odd angle, she has not allowed any of us (me, dad, or stepdad) to touch it. Last night, however, I decided that the tooth was going to come out, and I talked her into letting her stepdad work his magic. (What she doesn’t know is that over the last several nights, he has been secretly trying to get the tooth out while she sleeps.)
My little trooper was very brave as her tooth was being fitted with dental floss. Then, with the other end of the floss tied to one of the man’s work shoes, we readied for it to drop. She did as she was instructed. She leaned forward slightly and looked down at the floor. Then, she grasped hands with us as we counted, “1 – 2 – 3 – drop!”
Success! The tooth was out. No sweat. But there was blood. And there were tears. And then, the truth became clear.
“THAT WAS THE WRONG TOOTH!”
I must note that the tooth we pulled was also loose, but it had not been so nearly as long and was not as ready to come out. So, we still had a tooth that needed to come out. And a girl who was not likely to let us anywhere near it.
Before all of this took place, my little girl had explained to me how she got her last tooth out. She had simply twisted it until it fell out in her hands. This had not been possible for the tooth in question because the one next to it was too close. However, this one was now gone, so it was possible to try this strategy anew. I offered an incentive (and peace-offering). We would go out for ice cream after she got the tooth out.
It was a stubborn tooth, though. She hesitantly let me try, and I couldn’t get the thing out. It was, after all, “like pulling teeth”. After many unsuccessful attempts and with ice cream on the line, I convinced the girl to let the other shoe drop.
This time, there was much fidgeting. We managed to get everything but her in place. When told to lean forward, she took a step forward instead. Then, she awkwardly stuck one leg out in front of her as she leaned backward into my grasp. As we tried to get her to steady her feet and get into position, she flinched.
The floss came out. And so did the tooth. No sweat this time and (thankfully) no blood or tears either. As promised, we went out for ice cream, or rather, ithe cream, as my daughter now says.
And there you have it — the tooth. The whole tooth.