Teeth and Blood– the Weird, Wonderful Things We Save



Jack lost his second tooth this morning.

He notified me of this event, nonchalantly, when I went in to rouse him.

“Mama, I lost my loose tooth.”

“What?  When?”

“At 6:10 this morning.”

“Well, why didn’t you come up to tell me?”

“Oh, I was too sleepy.  So I just went back to sleep.”

“Where is the tooth?”

“It’s in my tooth pillow.”

“Wow, Jack.  Your second tooth!  That’s awesomesauce!  Did you bleed a lot?”

“No.  I don’t think so.  But I will need a fresh pillow case.”

After our matter-of-fact little conversation, I inspected his mouth to see he had indeed lost said tooth.  But instead of a Jack-o-Lantern grin, he has a weird, raw hole with a fully grown, crooked, adult tooth behind it.

When I took Jack to the pediatrician back in August for his yearly physical, she noticed he had not lost any tooth.  At the time, it was a contentious issue for Jack, whose friends had all lost teeth by then.  His doctor concluded that our son was a “late bloomer,” and another piece in the puzzle that is Jack was snugly put in place for me.  It wasn’t long after that visit that Jack noticed he had the tiny seed of an adult tooth growing in behind his lower, front baby tooth.

I remember looking at the peak of that tooth and catching my breath for a moment, remembering a very similar white speck in much the same spot about seven years earlier.  It seemed like he teethed forever with that damn tooth, and it didn’t pop through his gums until he was nine months old.  We were generous with the tylenol, and I swear one of Jack’s first words was “oragel.”

The adult tooth grew for a couple months behind the baby tooth, until at last it fell out while Jack was out and about with my mother in law.  He called and left a message on my cell phone.  “Hi, Mama.  I lost my tooth!  See ya in a little bit later.  OK.  Love ya.  Bye.”

That night, Jack wrote a letter to the tooth fairy, asking her if she would please leave his tooth for his mom to keep and also if she could leave him some money too.

IMG_6351It was funny he did this.  I would have kept the tooth, in a little plastic baggie, the same way I kept the bra I was wearing when I gave birth to him, with its blood stains, in a little plastic baggie.

I know, right?  Eeeeewwwww.

When I was in 8th grade, I went on a class trip to Washington DC.  We went to Grant’s Theater where Abraham Lincoln was shot, and then to the little house across the street where he died.  Lincoln has fascinated me since third grade, when I kind of had a crush on him and checked out all the books in my school library about him.

I know, right?  Eeeeewwwww.

Anyway, the house where he died was made into a museum.  In a glass case, they saved the pillow on which Lincoln expired.  They didn’t wash it, so you can see traces of the 16th President’s blood, dried and dark on the yellowed fabric.  I was fascinated by that pillow case, by the fact Lincoln’s DNA was there forever, the protein of his bodily fluid eating away the fibers of the fabric.  Unless they have some fancy archival trick for not allowing that to happen.

My point is, the things we save as moms have just as much significance to us as something archived in the Smithsonian, whether it is a tooth, or a good report card, or an umbilical stump.  I knew a mom who saved the clippings from her baby’s first finger nail trim.  It may seem extreme, but I got it.  I understood.

These sacred little offerings are as precious as the ashes of a saint because we made them.

I grew all of Jack’s teeth while he was still kicking around in my belly.  It is kind of mystical if you think of it.

So, the tooth fairy will come and leave a few bucks.  Then she will bring Jack’s tooth up to me, and I will place it in my jewelry box next to the other one.

What talismans or weird things have you saved from your children?  


2 responses »

  1. I save my cat’s whiskers when I find them lying around. I tell myself it’s so I can clone her after she dies.
    So far, I’ve just saved the tiny hospital bracelets they put on my son after he was born.

    • oh, your cat’s whiskers. That is precious. I actually kept some things from my doggie who passed nearly four years ago. I keep them in a plastic baggie so I can sniff the once in a while and smell her… pets, man. Pets. And the hospital bracelets will make a nice addition to a baby book, someday, if you ever get around to it. My kids are seven and three, and I am still trying to get round to it. xoxo.

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