No, wait. It wasn't like pulling teeth.
It *was* pulling teeth.
Here's what happened. Three and a half weeks ago, we noticed the kid's teeth--lower front--were looking a little wonky. And because we are uber-observant parents, we assumed he was in the middle of another growth spurt, and his jaw was outpacing his teeth.
It could happen. Really.
But it didn't. Two weeks passed. His teeth got wonkier and wonkier. And then, eleven days ago, I noticed that one of the lower front teeth was no longer wonky. It was sideways.
"Open your mouth," I said, toothbrush in hand. And both of his teeth wiggled. A lot. And there, behind these wiggly teeth, were two brand-spanking-new teeth already popping up.
So we aren't terribly observant parents. We're good enough. I'm sure we'd notice if he was missing a limb or something. Reasonably sure, depending on the limb.
Anyway, that was Sunday night. Those teeth were loose, but still attached. I sent him to bed with the admonishment that if a tooth fell out while he was in bed, he could come down and get us and it would not impact his Handy Manny viewing time in the morning.
A week of this went by. My boy wavered between excitement that the Tooth Fairy would come and bring him a 'shiny dime' (because that's what Sister Bear gets in the Bearnstein Bears, although I later learned on Facebook that the going rate for teeth these days is $5!) and stark, sheer terror that his teeth were going to come out. Mostly the terror part.
We tried Wednesday night to pull the sideways one, and it didn't budge before my boy began to scream. He wouldn't let us near his mouth after that, but those new teeth had to have somewhere to go, and soon.
At this point, we broke out all of our experienced parenting skills and went for the big guns: bribes. Specifically, bribes in the form of broccoli.
No, I'm not kidding. See for yourself.
Note that if you hold this up to the light and look through the window, you can see the broccoli stalk inside the car:
Yes. This bribe was a one-time only, first tooth 'reward' for being brave enough to lose some teeth. It sat, unopened on the counter, for two days.
(Why does Lightning McQueen have broccoli on his head, you ask? Excellent question. Lightning McQueen is supposed to have a tumbleweed on his head--it's a scene from the movie.
See? In this pic I stole from PitStop ToyStop, you can clearly see the tumbleweed. But, somehow, broccoli was how they translated 'tumbleweed' in Chinese, apparently. This is exactly the reason I teach English as a Second Language. To avoid irresponsible vegetable abuse.)
By Sunday night, I was serious about this. That tooth had to come out. I drank a little wine and had the following conversation with my husband: "You turn on Handy Manny, I'll get the car. You grab the kid, I'll get his teeth. And Break!" A well-oiled machine, that's what we are.
And it still almost half an hour. Kids, if you don't know already, are slippery little suckers. Just try to hold onto a kid some time. For added fun, do it someplace important, like the all-glass-bottle wine section at your local grocery store or a funeral home. Good times, I promise.
Finally, my husband had my boy wrapped up on the floor. One (possibly more, but by this time, things were getting confused) dog was snuffling around, licking anything he could get his tongue on. My boy had the still-unopened, licensed-broccoli-wearing-animated character in his hand. Handy Manny was nearing the end of the show. I could not keep yanking on my poor boy's mouth without throwing up. So I did what I had to.
I tickled him.
He jerked back so hard that I wound up with not one, but TWO teeth in my wad of wet cotton.
He screamed. I nearly threw up again. My husband--my rock, the love of my life--laughed his fool head off.
And then we all ate some ice cream and played Cars until bedtime. We carefully placed the multiple teeth in the handmade-by-Mom-with-love tooth sleeping bag, seen here:
(Yeah, that's right. I made that. Out of an old sleeping bag. True, I was going for something more in the 'pillow' department, but once a sleeping bag, always a sleeping bag. Plus, even the broccoli-head Lightning McQueen can fit in it. It's a multi-purpose sleeping bag. So there.)
And he went to bed. I drank a lot more wine (I ripped out my baby's teeth!) and deposited two shiny quarters in said sleeping bag.
He's the big man in class right now. Most of the other kids are far to young to grasp that, in our house, the Tooth Fairy is a little stingy. Heck, most of those kids aren't going to start losing teeth for another year or so. Plus, they loved broccoli-boy on show-and-tell day.
Which just goes to show that you should never, ever underestimate the power of a leafy green vegetable.