The Things We Do For Kids

I pulled Flora’s loose tooth out the other night.

Even when Dan and I started having children, pulling out a tooth is not something I ever imagined myself doing.

It’s not something I particularly wanted to do, either. But she’s had this loose tooth for weeks now. It was her second. She wiggled it all the time.

Sunday night, we were watching The Princess and The Frog. Flora sat on one end of the couch, watching and wiggling.

And suddenly she was wailing.

At first, I couldn’t really tell what was wrong.

There was some blood. And the wailing. Some hand flapping too, but that may have been me.

Her tooth had gotten stuck, sticking straight out from her gum.

I did not want to touch it. I did not want to be dealing with this right at the end of my husband-free weekend. I honestly wondered if I could call my in-laws to come over and deal with it. Or anyone else, really.

But I got myself calmed down, got some tissues (yes, tissues. If you think I was going to put my bare hand into her mouth and pull that tooth, you are delusional), got a grip of the tooth. And pulled.

Flora cried out. I pulled again, and the tooth came out.

Flora was very unhappy. “That huuuuuuuurt!” she wailed. “Waaaaaahhhhh.”

Her gum was still bleeding, so I got her to rinse out her mouth and then gave her an ice cube.

Five minutes later, she was fine.

I was still a little queasy.

The things I have done and said since having children have floored me. And I’m only five and a half years into this active parenting thing. So far, pulling Flora’s tooth is far and away the most unexpected experience I have had. I can only assume I’m in for more.

What is the weirdest thing to date you’ve had to do or say to your kids? Did you ever picture yourself saying or doing it, or did it come as a total shock?


When I told my husband about pulling Flora’s tooth out with my hands, he snorted and shook his head.

“That’s not how you do it,” he said.

And then he told me this story:

“When I was 10 years old, my cousins and I took a bus trip to visit my Uncle T in Columbus. I had a loose tooth. Uncle T decided to pull it.

“He tied a string to my tooth. Then he ran the string down the stairs, wrapped it around the finial at the bottom of the staircase, and tied it to his dog. He picked up a squeaky toy, opened the door, and threw the toy out the door. The dog took off and pulled my tooth out.”

His point being: I should have used distraction (rather than my fingers) to pull Flora’s tooth.

My response: “We don’t have a dog.”

“You tie it to something else.”

“Like what? The mouse in our kitchen?” (Kidding. We don’t have any mice. Right now.)

“Oh!” I exclaimed, “I know! I could have tied it to Kate!”

8 thoughts on “The Things We Do For Kids

  1. My Uncle use to volunteer to pull our teeth out when we were little. I think there may be something wrong with him.

    I NEVER thought I would refer to myself in the third person. I always made fun of the sports figures who did. I.E.: “Chad is going out on Sunday and Chad is going to have a great game and Chad.” Now I can’t stop referring to myself in the third person. “let mommy help” or “mommy is going to get you dinner” It’s scary.

  2. Helpful hint from my childhood…
    Mom always had us rinse with saltwater after we lost a tooth… stopped the bleeding faster.

    I think mommies get a special dispensation from referring to themselves in 3rd person. Occupational hazard…

  3. I had to do the same thing with Aidan’s first tooth…it was sticking out just like you described, but at least we were in the bathroom brushing his teeth. I asked him if I could pull it out and he said yes…I fully expected him to completely freak out…and he was like, “whatever”…not literally, but he was so laid back, could have cared less, actually. I was way more excited than he was. The second tooth he lost at school and I have no idea if he swallowed it or what…
    btw, my dad used to threaten to tie my tooth to the doorknob and slam the door. I thought all those stories were MYTHS!

    • I think Flora freaked about me pulling her tooth because *I* was freaked by it. It took me a minute to get a hold of myself, and, you know, kids smell fear. And, yeah, I can’t wait until the next time I see Dan’s Uncle T? I’m just going to be like, WTH?

  4. GAH I cringed reading that. GAH

    One thing I’ve been surprised (pleasantly!) at my ability to handle as a mom is puke and snot. I am a sympathy puker/gagger, but when it’s my own kid’s stuff, it honestly is not a big deal. Yeah, it’s gross, but I don’t have the same violent reaction I do when it’s someone else’s. I was seriously worried about that while I was pregnant with Maggie! Turns out, it’s not a big deal.

    My uncle pulls his own (old, rotten!) teeth out with pliers. NO JOKE.

    • Ew. Just ew.

      I hear you on the puke and snot. I don’t even blink, and as another sympathy gagger, that has been a pleasant surprise. (Now, my husband is still on his own if he has to puke. Sorry, babe.)

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